Well, it looks like the long-suffering Bluth family and their TV series, Arrested Development has finally been put to rest. Or has it?
The show originally debuted in 2003 to almost immediate critical acclaim — and disappointing ratings. Despite winning an Emmy for Best Comedy Series and for writing, the ratings did not improve during the second season (18 episodes) nor the third (13 episodes).
Still, the FOX network executives stuck by the show until finally canceling it. Well, almost. They didn’t announce that it was cancelled, they just confirmed that no new episodes would be produced after the third season (the last episodes aired on one night in February).
Since the time of the “non-renewal” from Fox, fans and critics alike have been waiting on pins and needles to find out if the award-winning series would return, perhaps on another network or cable-only channel.
What occurred was one of the strangest behind-the-scenes bidding wars Hollywood’s ever seen. Showtime was interested in picking up the series for its own pay cable network. Then, ABC was said to have been interested in picking up the series, reportedly because it would have been a good match for its own quirky Sons and Daughters series. Once that happened, FOX is said to have become nervous about looking bad and losing a series to a rival network. (In part, this was why FOX never formally announced the show’s cancellation — just in case they wanted it back.)
The ABC interest fell through and a deal from Showtime was offered to fund the series for two new seasons of shows (albeit made up of 12 episodes each) with the entire cast intact. Methodical series creator Mitch Hurwitz talked to cast members and tried to decide whether to undertake the production of new episodes. But ultimately, Hurwitz decided to pass. Though he still loves the series, Hurwitz felt, “Arrested Development reached its end, creatively, as a series.” He has said that he sensed many of the actors were ready to move on and that previously “each episode has been a battle creatively and logistically, so it would have been a much bigger decision to continue…my instinct was that it was over when Fox pulled the plug. I considered continuing the show because I felt I owed that to the fans. ”
So, that’s the end? Perhaps not. Aside from the series DVD sets (season one and season two have been released and season three is on the way), there are hints that the Bluth family could return in another form. Hurwitz has said, in typical tongue and cheek fashion, “I’m okay with any kind of future for Arrested, whether it be a movie or a special now and then — even a Saturday-morning animated series, like Arrested Development Babies. I have a feeling the merchandising on Buster alone would be just enormous.” Stay tuned!