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The news comes after Netflix attempted to creatively reboot the pricey comedy in its second season, moving the production from Los Angeles to Vancouver in a bid to reduce its budget. A co-showrunner was also added alongside Daniels with the hope of growing the series creatively as Carell and Daniels’ The Office did during its run.
But that was not the case, and reviews for season two remained tepid.
Inspired by former President Trump’s order to establish the Space Force as the sixth military branch, Space Force was co-created by Carell and his former The Office showrunner Daniels. Picked up straight to series in January 2019, Space Force at the time set a record for talent pay as Carell’s deal for the series topped $1 million per episode when factoring in fees for co-creating, exec producing and acting.
With The Office formerly ranking as one of Netflix’s most watched acquired series — sources note that it often collected more viewers than some of its originals — the streamer, after hearing Carell was ready to return to series-regular television, aggressively pursued Space Force. The show was not shopped elsewhere. The Office left Netflix for Peacock last year.
The 10-episode comedy launched May 29 to high expectations considering it reunited Carell and Daniels for the first time since mega-hit The Office. Critics were not kind and the series, per aggregation site Rotten Tomatoes, had a 38 percent rating in season one. THR chief TV critic Daniel Fienberg called the series “a bumpy launch” in his review. Viewers, however, were more kind. THR TV critic Angie Han called season two “better than the first season, but still not very good.”
Netflix, which earlier this week also canceled scripted originals Raising Dion and Pretty Smart, remains in business with Daniels with the animated comedies Bad Crimes and Exploding Kittens. Both those series hail from the animation company Daniels and King of the Hill’s Mike Judge formed recently.
Netflix scripted originals rarely make it to three or four seasons as the streamer, which does not release traditional viewership data, reviews shows based on their budgets and overall internal metrics. Space Force was a pricey show that, despite its creative pedigree and big star, failed to find much traction.
The streamer is re-evaluating its spending after losing 200,000 subscribers in the first quarter of the year. it was Netflix’s first subscriber loss in a decade. Layoffs at the company’s marketing division took place earlier this week. More cutbacks, both in terms of programming and staff, are expected as the company looks to refine its focus to better appease Wall Street investors
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