Netflix Just Saved One Of Its Original Series From Disappearing

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Netflix was set to lose Lilyhammer 10 years after its release.

By Phillip Moyer
| Published

Netflix’s crime comedy-drama Lilyhammer will remain on Netflix, Indiewire reports. The original series was set to be canceled after Netflix’s ten-year deal with the Norwegian Broadcasting Corporation NRK expired. The series was the first original series that Netflix ever produced. 

Netflix premiered Lilyhammer in 2012, working alongside NRK to tell the story of an American crime lord trying to start a new life in a secluded Norwegian town. The star, Steven Van Zandt, was the only American cast member. Vandt, who is best-known for playing in the E Street Band, gained attention as an actor after playing mafia soldier Silvo Dante in The SopranosLilyhammer ran for 24 episodes across three seasons. 

The deal between the government-owned NRK and Netflix over Lilyhammer proved to be of the reason for the show’s ultimate demise. According to an interview with Ted Sarandos, Netflix’s chief content officer, it was a difficult deal to work around. The deal gave NRK the first broadcasting rights for the series, which would appear on Netflix the next week. Future Netflix exclusives would avoid tying themselves up with such agreements.

According to reports, Netflix saved Lilyhammer after closing a last-minute deal with NRK, letting the streaming company continue to feature the show’s 24 episodes. Star Steven Van Zandt praised Netflix after hearing the announcement, stating that he’s proud of how the product helped cement Netflix as an international entertainment company.

Steven Van Zandt in Lilyhammer

On Netflix, Lilyhammer itself wasn’t a huge hit with fans. It received mediocre reviews, decent streaming numbers, and doesn’t have much of a presence in the public consciousness. It wasn’t until 2013’s House of Cards that Netflix had a real hit, though the later revelations about Kevin Spacey gave the series a major blow, even after the company killed off Spacey’s character in response. 

However, Lilyhammer paved the way for everything Netflix would do from there on out. After Netflix released Lilyhammer, the streaming company began creating hundred of original series. Their repertoire has included such hits as Orange is the New Black and Stranger Things. They have also had their fair share of misses, such as Richie Rich and the poorly-received live action remake of Cowboy Bebop.

These days, as many companies enter the streaming race, Netflix is extremely reliant on its original content. Long after the Netflix audience forgot Lilyhammersources say that the streaming service’s library is made up of 50% original content. This year alone, the streaming giant has released Archive 81After LifeInventing AnnaLove is BlindThe WatcherVikings: Valhalla, and The Woman in The House Across The Street from the Girl in the Window. These series are on top of new seasons of long-running favorites, including Ozark: Season 4 and Stranger Things 4.

Netflix has run into some trouble this years — reports of its post-pandemic failures have resulted in plummeting stock. However, the company still brings in over $7 billion in revenue every quarter, despite its troubles. It seems that long after Netflix released Lilyhammer, it continues to dominate the global streaming market.