Netflix Is Getting Rid of This for Subscribers for the First Time, as of Next Month
Viewers have already expressed their disappointment over this surprising removal.
From newcomers like Paramount Plus to long-standing top dogs like Netflix, there are more streaming services than ever to choose from nowadays. But as certain platforms evolve and make major changes, subscribers have been forced to quickly adapt—and to decide whether to keep paying the monthly fees. Now, some Netflix users are facing a surprising decision by the streaming service, which goes into effect next month. Read on to find out what the media company is getting rid of for the first time in its history.
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Netflix has been praised for its original content.
You can binge your favorite TV shows and movies on any number of streaming platforms. But with hits like Squid Game and Stranger Things, Netflix has been well regarded for its original content. A recent Morgan Stanley survey found that most U.S. consumers think this service offers the best original programming out of any platform, per Variety.
According to the Wall Street analyst firm's 2021 streaming survey, 38 percent of all respondents believe that Netflix has the best originals, and 51 percent of Netflix customers say they subscribe to the platform specifically for its "good original programming."
But subscribers who turn to Netflix for original programming will have to reckon with an upcoming loss.
The streaming service is getting rid of an original series for the first time.
On Oct. 25, IndieWire reported that Netflix has confirmed it will be dropping its very first original series from the platform next month. In November, subscribers will lose access to Lilyhammer, a mob drama show starring Steven Van Zandt. Lilyhammer debuted on Netflix in Feb. 2012 and is considered to be the service's first original series, according to IndieWire.
"When you think about Netflix's first original series, what do you think of? The White House? The Litchfield Correctional Institute?" Netflix Co-CEO and Chief Content Officer Ted Sarandos wrote in a Feb. 2022 blog post honoring the 10-year anniversary of the show's premiere. "Nope, not those. Our actual first original series was Lilyhammer."
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Netflix's contract to stream Lilyhammer is expiring in November.
Despite being considered Netflix's first original series, Lilyhammer is actually a Norwegian show that was licensed from the Norwegian broad channel TV NRK, according to IndieWire. The first season premiered on NRK and then was subsequently picked up by Netflix for two more seasons before it was canceled in 2015. In Feb. 2012, the platform debuted all eight episodes of Lilyhammer to subscribers in the U.S., Canada, and Latin America before bringing the series to the U.K., Ireland, and the Nordic countries later that year.
"A seminal moment in Netflix history began in a recording studio by the North Sea. Bergen is where Norwegian creators Eilif Skodvin and Anne Bjørnstad approached Stevie Van Zandt about a show they wrote for him set in a small Norwegian town called Lillehammer. A few months later, having heard that Netflix was looking for original content, I got a call directly from Stevie, who wanted to send us the series," Sarandos wrote.
"Looking back, Lilyhammer was perhaps an unorthodox choice for our first show. But it worked because it was a deeply local story that we could share with the world," he added in his blog post. "The jokes and references worked locally and the more universal themes of the shows traveled perfectly."
But as IndieWire first reported, the U.S. streaming service's 10-year license to stream the show expires in Nov. 2022. An unnamed person with knowledge of Netflix's plan told the news outlet that the deal is not being extended after that.
Viewers have expressed disappointment over the decision.
Subscribers have already taken to social media to talk about Lilyhammer's upcoming departure. "I was disappointed when it was over and even more disappointed that @netflix is talking about pulling it," one person tweeted on Oct. 26.
Film critic and TV host Ben Mankiewicz also expressed his thoughts on Twitter: "Lilyhammer is The Godfather of all these great streaming shows," he wrote. "It's a complete joy to watch, a blend of dark comedy and menace that should be savored. So savor it, people. And leave it up, Netflix. It's your first kid. Why are you throwing your first child out of the house?"
Even lead actor Van Zandt has expressed disappointment over the decision. "I haven't had it confirmed, but it looks like Lilyhammer is about to be disappearing from Netflix, for which it was the very first show, on Nov. 20," he wrote Oct. 24 on Twitter. (Netflix has not yet confirmed the exact date.) "Big drag. It's only 24 episodes. So if you haven't seen it, or want to rewatch it, you'd better do it now."