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Rewatching Old Shows Could Lead To Fewer New Ones, Judd Apatow Worries

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Rewatching Old Shows Could Lead To Fewer New Ones, Judd Apatow Worries

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We’re sorry to interrupt your 19th rewatch of The Office to share a major worry from The 40-Year-Old Virgin and Knocked Up director Judd Apatow. He’s concerned that people may become too comfortable checking out old shows–like Suits on Netflix–causing streaming companies to just spend their money on licensing stuff instead of investing in new series.

This hypothetical was the basis of a joke Apatow made while hosting the Directors Guild of America Awards last month, according to Vulture. When asked about old shows becoming super popular on streaming services like Netflix, Apatow shared his real concerns.

“I’m of two minds. There’s a part of me that’s an audience member: I’ll go back and rewatch Deadwood or NYPD Blue or any of the David Milch shows. I understand why people like the comfort food of television,” said Apatow, who’s previously worked on shows like Freaks and Geeks, The Ben Stiller Show, and HBO’s Girls.

“But it’s a scary thing as a creator of television, because of all the streamers going, ‘Wait a second. We don’t need to spend $200 million on a new show. We can just bring back Barnaby Jones.’ They’re going to do it, then you’ll get fewer new shows.”

Apatow believes there could be a future where Netflix and HBO, for instance, just sell their old shows back and forth to each other instead of investing in new stories for TV. Last year, WB Discovery started bringing HBO shows to Netflix, though some big franchises like Game of Thrones and The Last of Us aren’t included. Meanwhile, Netflix hasn’t licensed out any of its in-house productions to other streaming companies at this time.

That said, Netflix has paid jaw-dropping sums for iconic old shows like Seinfeld in the past. In 2019, the streaming company shelled out $500 million for rights to the comedy series. This came after NBC grabbed streaming rights to The Office for Peacock, which was one of the most-streamed shows on Netflix beforehand.

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