Netflix just premiered Arrested Development Season 5B. Unfortunately, the show’s future is currently unclear. The series has not yet been renewed for Season 6.
Netflix often chooses not to renew a show immediately when a new season is released. It might take weeks or months to get news that a series is renewed. But with Arrested Development, things are a little more complicated than that.
Harassment Allegations Put Season 6 in Jeopardy
In July 2018, Cindy Holland, Netflix’s Vice President of Original Content, told TV Line that she wasn’t sure if Season 6 was happening or not. “We haven’t discussed it all,” she said.
A few things have probably contributed to this uncertainty, Comicbook.com shared at the time. Fans were less than enthusiastic about the first half of Season 5. Part of this is because Jessica Walter had shared that Jeffrey Tambor had verbally harassed her in the past. At first, Jason Bateman, Tony Hale, and David Cross defended Tambor, but then they later apologized. Bateman had said heated arguments were common, but Walter said she’d never seen anything like that in her nearly 60 years of working.
Walter said she had chosen to let go of her anger at Tambor. “He never crossed the line on our show, with any, you know, sexual whatever,” she said. “Verbally, yes, he harassed me, but he did apologize. I have to let it go.”
And then, it took nearly a year for Netflix to release the second half of Season 5. It’s unclear why this was the case.
Some Actors Wanted More Payment for the Remixed Season 4
In October, ScreenCrush shared that the show’s future was still not known. Season 4 was criticized heavily because the cast appeared in individual episodes rather than together, due to their crazy schedules. Later, Netflix released a remix that cut the season in a more traditional order, and the cast was not happy because they weren’t paid for this. They demanded extra compensation, ScreenCrush shared. They had been paid $100,000 for standalone episodes, $50,000 for minor screentime episodes, and $25,000 for episodes in which they “barely appeared.” Recutting the season into 22 rather than 15 episodes disrupted that pay scale.
But Syndication Hopes Might Keep Season 6 Alive
Season 4’s remix brought the total number of episodes to 75, ScreenCrush noted. Season 5 now has a total of 16 episodes, including the second half. That brings the total number of episodes to 91, which is just nine short of syndication. ScreenCrush seemed to indicate in an article that syndication hopes might help the show.
But today, that magic 100 episodes needed for syndication isn’t as big of a deal. Residuals from syndicated shows can be profitable, but 100 episodes isn’t quite as important of a “magic number” for syndication as it used to be. In fact, in July 2018 Netflix cut its first TV syndication deal with Syfy for Bojack Horseman. For this deal, Netflix didn’t need 100 episodes. Bojack just had 61.
Still, Arrested Development is so close to 100 episodes that it’s tough to imagine Netflix would cancel the series at this point. But anything can happen.
David Cross Thinks a Renewal Is Unlikely
Series star David Cross told the Late Night with Seth Meyers Podcast in October that he thought a Season 6 renewal was unlikely. “I’ve learned to say ‘never say never,’ but I can’t see it happening again, I think for a number of reasons,” he said.
News about a renewal or cancelation could be announced at any point in time.