Netflix’s co-CEO Reed Hastings stepped down from the company a few days ago, but as we noted when the news broke, that shouldn’t impact regular people too much because the company’s other co-CEO, Ted Sarandos, is the one who usually goes in front of the public and says wild stuff. And, well, he’s done it again!
As part of a Bloomberg piece introducing new co-CEO Greg Peters, Sarandos was asked if “the evolution of the business” has impacted his “relationship with the creative community,” with Bloomberg noting that “there are constantly people outraged about shows getting canceled” on social media. In response, Sarandos dropped this very bold reveal:
We have never canceled a successful show. A lot of these shows were well-intended but talk to a very small audience on a very big budget. The key to it is you have to be able to talk to a small audience on a small budget and a large audience at a large budget. If you do that well, you can do that forever.
There you have it! None of the shows that Netflix has ever canceled were actually successful. That may be particularly surprising to fans of Daredevil, which was always supposedly one of the bigger shows on the platform (though it had the misfortune of coming out before Netflix was willing to be more open about its top 10 rankings and all that).
The assumption among some fans was always that Daredevil had been canceled at least partially to stick it to Disney—which owns the rights to the character and was preparing to launch Disney+, a Netflix competitor, at the time. It no longer made sense for either company to continue making Daredevil, which is understandable (if frustrating), but according to Sarandos, the show was also not “successful” on top of that!
We’d guess that, if he were pressed on this, he’d argue that there is a difference between a show being canceled and a show simply not being renewed, but that’s just academic. Either way, his comment makes every shocking Netflix cancellation seem much more cold and calculated in retrospect, indicating that every single decision like that was made with the simple math of: “Big budget needs big audience, small budget needs small audience.” That… really is probably how most things work, but you’re not supposed to just say it.