Netflix last week announced that they had made the decision to cancel its show Santa Clarita Diet after just three seasons – it now appears a reason why might have been revealed.
The news of the cancellation came after the final 10 episodes of the Drew Barrymore and Timothy Olyphant-led zombie comedy dropped on the streaming service March 29.
“The world had never known a ‘zom-com’ until Santa Clarita Diet,and we’re indebted to creator Victor Fresco for bringing this idea to Netflix,” said Netflix in a statement. “To their endless credit, the incredible Drew Barrymore and Timothy Olyphant were totally game, with an uncanny knack for comedy that brought Sheila and Joel Hammond to vibrant life, even though one of them was undead. We’re grateful to Victor, Drew, and Timothy, along with fellow executive producers Tracy Katsky, Aaron Kaplan, Chris Miller and Ember Truesdell and the terrific cast, including Liv Hewson and Skyler Gisondo, and crew for three hilarious seasons for Netflix members to discover for years to come.”
Commenting on the cancellation, Showrunner Victor Fresco and Executive Producer Tracy Katsky said in joint statement: “Like our audience, we were all-in on Sheila and Joel. Their relationship, in the face of incredible adversity, was inspiring to write and to watch. Mostly, they were funny, which in a comedy is important. Working with Drew and Tim, along with the immensely talented Liv and Skyler, was a joy and a once in a lifetime experience.”
Continuing, they added: “Netflix took at chance on this odd show and for that we will always be grateful. They were supportive, ever positive, and appreciative of our work. Until about noon today. Still, they were just one phone call away from being a perfect studio. Not bad. Everything ends. This was a thing. And so it ended. We’ll miss it but are proud of the work we did and will always appreciate the love and enthusiasm we felt from our audience. It if was up to them, Sheila and Joel would continue for another 10,000 years.”
Understandably angry and wanting answers, fans have not yet been given a direct reason by Netflix as to why Santa Clarita Diet was cancelled. However, Deadline reported last month a number of reasons why Netflix shows can be cut short.
At an INTV conference in Israel back in March, Cindy Holland, Netflix’s head of original content, explained why some shows are cancelled. “It’s a combination of things,” she admitted. “When we’re investing, we decide how much to invest based on the audience that will show up. If the audience doesn’t show up, we think about the reason to continue to invest in something that doesn’t do as well as we had hoped.”
So in the case of Santa Clarita Diet, it’s likely that Holland and Netflix felt that there was no viable reason to keep investing money into the show.
“Obviously, critical acclaim is important too,” she added. “But we’re really about trying to stretch our investment dollars as far as we can and make good on our investors’ money – it’s theirs, not ours.”
Netflix is built on a “cost-plus” model. Meaning that if the streaming platform wants to commission your show, they will cover all production costs, as well as offering around an extra 30% to own the majority of the licensing rights.
To put it into perspective, the majority of TV networks only cover about 60% to 70% of the production costs, with the production company owning most of the rights, according to CNBC. The approach Netflix takes means that future revenue opportunities for its most successful shows, such as Stranger Things, benefit them.
Fans of the show expressed their disappointment and devastation at the cancellation of the show, with one fan even writing: “Y’all cannot leave me hanging like that, and then CANCEL the show before I see what happens next! Mr. Ball Legs deserves better! Fuck. You. Netflix.”
— Cede Sparks (@kcsparks26) April 27, 2019
See more of the responses below:
— MK (@grug45) April 27, 2019
— JES (@Jeesseessee) April 27, 2019
— Adrian Torres (@YoAdrianTorres) April 27, 2019
— sean garcia (@reloadedneo03) April 27, 2019
— 𝒿𝑜𝓇𝒹𝒶𝓃 🍀 (@cliionadh) April 27, 2019
— All My Friends Are Ghosts (@LadyAllieLeigh) April 27, 2019
I think what really upsets me about @netflix cancelling #SantaClaritaDiet is that it makes NO SENSE. They’re willing to shell out millions to keep old shows like friends and The Office, but not to renew SUCCESSFUL SHOWS THEY ACTUALLY MADE???
— QUINN HOPP Ⓥ (@qhopp) April 27, 2019
— Danielle Huss (@daniellehuss) April 27, 2019
— 🍊is the new me (@whotheheckishe) April 27, 2019
— samanthah23🦄 (@Halverson21S) April 27, 2019
— spooky lukey (@spo0kylukey) April 27, 2019
FRIENDS ended in 2004. If you haven’t watched it by now, there’s other places to find it. The Office ended in 2015.
— QUINN HOPP Ⓥ (@qhopp) April 27, 2019
Really upset @netflix for cancelling #SantaClaritaDiet. Left us hanging too when it was just getting good with Joel who btw was my favorite character next to Sheila. Y'all raise your prices and get rid of all the good shows. 🤬 pic.twitter.com/6Plwt5zlog
— 𝑚𝑜 𝑑𝑢𝑖𝑛𝑛𝑒🦃🧡 (@KarenKpunk4) April 27, 2019
Meanwhile, this news came after reports surfaced earlier that week that Netflix would be getting rid of The Office from its streaming library.
With NBC set to launch its own streaming service, the Wall Street Journal reported executives had discussed removing the show from Netflix to make it exclusive to the network’s own platform.
Responding to the report, Netflix have promised that The Office isn’t going anywhere – for now at least.