It’s a bad ending for NBC’s Good Girls.
The beloved but little-watched-on-linear drama series has been canceled after four seasons on NBC. Efforts to move the series to Netflix, which serves as its streaming home after a global rights deal for the series — have imploded, and the series will not make the move to the streaming giant as an original series for season five.
The five remaining episodes of the drama from creator Jenna Bans and Universal Television will continue to air on NBC. Sources note that NBC and its in-house studio, Universal Television, wanted to bring the show back for a fifth — and final — season but could not come to a financial agreement that would have allowed the show to continue on.
Netflix boarded Good Girls before the drama — starring Christina Hendricks, Mae Whitman and Retta as friends who become entwined in a criminal enterprise — launched on NBC as part of a new business model created by the streamer’s then-vp content Bela Bajaria. The move helped offset the costs of the series but also limited the ways in which producers Universal Television could further profit given Netflix had already secured both global and SVOD rights.
At the time, the model made sense for shows like Good Girls, The CW’s Dynasty and Syfy’s since-canceled Nightflyers as the early sales to Netflix reduced the financial burden of pricey original scripted series. But now, in an era where every major media conglomerate has its own streaming platform, such a structure prohibits the ability to move a show like Good Girls to NBCUniversal’s own platform, Peacock.
Historically, Good Girls has been a linear dud. The fourth season of the drama averaged a mere 0.7 in the all-important advertiser-coveted adults 18-49 demographic, down more than 22 percent year-over-year, and 2.74 million total viewers (off nearly 20 percent) when factoring in seven days of delayed viewing. Season three topped Nielsen’s streaming rankings after it arrived on Netflix. Season three, it’s worth noting, more than doubled its linear audience thanks to in-season streaming on Disney-owned Hulu and NBC’s digital platforms.
The failed effort to move the series to Netflix comes after former NBC co-president of scripted Tracey Pakosta — who renewed the show multiple times during her run at the network — exited to become head of comedy at Netflix, reporting to Bajaria, who now serves as vp global television. One factor that could have been an issue with the show moving would have been Universal TV asking Netflix to take on more production costs for the series.
Bajaria, also former president at Good Girls studio Universal TV, has continued to be more selective when it comes to reviving canceled broadcast series. Netflix recently passed on reviving NBC’s Warner Bros. TV-produced Manifest after the show’s second season recently landed on the streamer. The series currently ranks among Netflix’s top 10 titles in the U.S., though that metric is based only on two minutes of viewing.
Netflix, during Cindy Holland’s regime, frequently picked up broadcast castoffs including ABC’s Designated Survivor, Fox’s Lucifer and Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt, the latter of which was picked up straight to series at NBC before it moved to Netflix as an original. Netflix has also saved other cable shows, including Lifetime’s You, AMC’s The Killing and A&E’s Longmire, among others. The streamer has also become a home for studios to take pilots that have been passed over at broadcast networks, picking up Insatiable after The CW passed on it. The streaming giant is kicking the tires of a couple of busted broadcast pilots from this past season as well.
Good Girls was the last of the broadcast bubble shows awaiting word on their futures. Options on the cast were due to expire at the end of the month, prompting NBC and Universal TV to announce the cancellation before the season completed airing.
NBC, under a new exec structure overseen by Susan Rovner and Frances Berwick (who also oversee entertainment content for the group’s cable networks and streamer Peacock), canceled all of its bubble shows. Good Girls joins Manifest, Zoey’s Extraordinary Playlist and Debris in the castoff category. For the 2021-22 season, NBC has new dramas La Brea, Ordinary Joe and limited series The Thing About Pam in the works, with other pilots still in contention as the network, like other broadcasters, shifts to a year-round development model. Additional series orders are expected to come as Rovner and Berwick plot NBC’s midseason schedule. The bulk of NBC’s scripted originals will return, including The Blacklist, Brooklyn Nine-Nine (for a final season), Chicago Fire, Chicago Med, Chicago PD, Law & Order: SVU, New Amsterdam, This Is Us (also its final run), Kenan, Law & Order: Organized Crime, Mr. Mayor and Young Rock, with Law & Order: For the Defense scheduled for the 2022-23 season.