Having already pursued the notion of resurrecting the recently canceled sci-fi series Terra Nova, and entering into talks with 20th Century Fox Television, Netflix is now hoping to do the same with the found-footage horror series The River from ABC.
After airing its eighth (and possibly final) episode earlier this week, The River managed 3.99 million viewers, which given the series' already low numbers, does not bode well for a second season – at least not with ABC, at any rate. In what is being described as "exploratory talks," Netflix has looked into the feasibility of bringing The River to its customers - essentially beating ABC to the punch in announcing the series' cancellation.
Despite the low ratings, Netflix remains interested in The River and the aforementioned Terra Nova partially because the programs are more serialized in nature - an aspect the company surmises will work well with the kind of service they provide. Furthermore, the numbers on first-run airings isn't necessarily a concern for subscription-based services like Netflix or HBO (the network Netflix is aiming to emulate), rather it is the cumulative viewings that pile up over a certain amount of time which are of interest to the company.
Given that Netflix doesn't (yet) adhere to a set schedule of when new programming will air, instead releasing content to be consumed at the discretion of the viewer (as in the case of Lilyhammer), the potential audience for a show like The River, Terra Nova or even the highly anticipated Arrested Development could be any of the service's 23 million subscribers, over a certain amount of time (i.e. weeks, months, years).
Though not officially canceled by ABC, the termination of The River would not be considered a surprise by anyone. And while it may seem slightly uncivilized of Netflix to determine the viability of the property through its service before such a decision has been handed down, the early move may be to keep the cast from jumping ship. Recently, despite the possibility that his program could be given new life on Netflix, Terra Nova star Jason O'Mara opted to leave the sci-fi program and take a supporting role in the upcoming CBS period drama Ralph Lamb, alongside Dennis Quaid, Carrie-Anne Moss and Michael Chiklis.
What that means for the viability of more seasons of Terra Nova, or Netflix's interest in the series has yet to be determined. But perhaps the sudden move served as a call for Netflix to expedite such acquisition transactions prior to the announcement of cancellation.
Screen Rant will keep you posted on the status of The River, and any news of its future on Netflix, as information is made available.