First came the news that Netflix would be competing against the likes of Showtime for the privilege of airing the new episodes of Arrested Development – and now word is the company will seek to bring the Comedy Central favorite Reno 911! back as well. If this keeps up, the former by-mail rental house (and current overlord of streaming content) is going to be accused of necromancy.
At present, the extent of the interest stems from meetings Reno 911! producers Michael Shamberg and Stacy Sher (Contagion, Pulp Fiction) have had with Netflix – specifically Netflix chief creative officer Ted Sarandos – regarding the company’s desire to begin the somewhat complicated process of bringing this idea to fruition.
For starters, Thomas Lennon, Kerri Kenney-Silver and Robert Ben Garant – leads and co-creators of Reno 911! – have yet to sign a deal that would mark their return to the characters, or any involvement creating new episodes. According to their manager, Peter Principato, the talks are preliminary, at best. Secondly, though it cancelled the program two years ago, Comedy Central still retains the rights to the program, so for anything to move on Reno’s resurrection, the cable channel would have to sign off and allow Netflix rights to air the new content solely – with subsequent airings likely making their way back to Comedy Central in time.
While Netflix has caught major attention for its interest in snagging new episodes from the high-profile rebirth of Arrested Development, talks between Shamberg, Sher and Sarandos, regarding Reno, reportedly began long before the Bluths had been a possibility for Netflix – or anyone, for that matter.
The producing partners were intrigued by Netflix’s deal to bring the David Fincher and Kevin Spacey adaptation of the BBC drama House of Cards to the service – eschewing the typical network or cable deal – and expressed a desire to work with Sarandos and his company on a future project.
After Sarandos discovered how popular Reno 911! was amongst his customers, the notion of bringing the series back was born.
One of the key reasons Shamberg and Sher have been so keen on delivering new Reno 911! content to Netflix is the prospect of a future syndication deal – something the show missed out on during its initial run on Comedy Central. In the six-year lifespan of the show, Reno amassed 88 episodes, which, as it turns out, is enough to garner a syndication deal, but not enough to please those interested in syndicating a show like Reno 911!
So, more content could mean a far more lucrative syndication deal down the line, in addition to the one Netflix is pushing for.
Ultimately, though, the entirety of Reno’s future is in the hands of Lennon and Garant, who have been quite busy on other projects – most notably as screenwriters for both Night at the Museum films and the upcoming Vin Diesel project, The Machine. Meanwhile, Lennon continues to act in projects like this summer’s Bad Teacher and the soon-to-be holiday classic A Very Harold & Kumar 3D Christmas.
Garant’s love for the show may be enough to overcome the tremendous obstacles Reno 911! faces, however. “If they hadn't fired us, we honestly never woulda quit. I love doing Reno. It was fun. It was good. People loved it. I woulda kept doing it for years," Garant said.
Screen Rant will be sure to keep you posted as more news on Reno 911! breaks.