Strike first, strike hard, no mercy!
Netflix is wasting no time in welcoming YouTube import Cobra Kai to the family, handing out an early season four renewal to the Karate Kid sequel.
The third season of the former YouTube original from Sony TV will launch as a Netflix original on Jan. 8. The first two seasons of the series starring Ralph Macchio and William Zabka arrived Aug. 28 after the show moved to the streaming giant in June after YouTube officially bailed on scripted originals.
Cobra Kai landed at Netflix after YouTube informed studio Sony TV that it had no plans to pursue a fourth season amid its shift to unscripted fare. When the indie studio then shopped the series, it again drew interest from Disney-owned Hulu. Other outlets were said to have kicked the tires on the series as such “gently used” programming has become a go-to for broadcast, cable and streaming outlets alike given the uncertainty stemming from the novel coronavirus pandemic. (Sony also sold the first two seasons of Spectrum’s L.A.’s Finest to Fox, which slotted the Gabrielle Union and Jessica Alba drama on its fall schedule, for example.)
Since arriving on Netflix, Cobra Kai — like Lifetime import You, among others — has become a breakout hit for the streamer. While the company does not release traditional viewership data, a Nielsen report this week ranked the Karate Kid offshoot at the top of its streaming ranks for the show’s first full week of measurement (Aug. 31-Sept. 6) with more than 2 billion minutes watched.
Cobra Kai launched strong out of the gate on YouTube. The streamer said the pilot had already surpassed 20 million views less than a week since its launch, prompting a speedy season-two renewal. It’s also worth noting that when Cobra Kai was originally taken out with both Macchio and Zabka attached, Netflix and Hulu, among others, were among the bidders.
The show ultimately landed at YouTube Red as part of Susanne Daniels’ efforts to age up the platform’s demographic from 18-34 to the more advertiser-coveted 18-49 set. Cobra Kai was the latest series to get new life at Netflix, joining Lucifer, Longmire, Designated Survivor and The Killing, among others.
Cobra Kai, which sees Macchio and Zabka reprise their beloved roles as Daniel and Johnny, respectively, is created by exec producers Josh Heald, Jon Hurwitz and Hayden Schlossberg.
Here’s the season three trailer: