Word is spreading around the media that a couple of networks are interested in possibly taking over Arrested Development from Fox. Honestly, I cannot imagine why ABC would want this show. Showtime makes a bit more sense, though, since what Showtime’s business model calls for is not shows with huge ratings, but shows with strong addicts. If a million people are willing to pay that monthly subscriber fee to keep seeing Arrested D., then even the high price of making that show would be justified.
Still, this sort of talk happens around many cult-favorite series, and it’s rare that a show will actually get picked up like that. Since the year that ABC showed off by dumping three semi-successful series for other networks to pick up (Wonder Woman, Bionic Woman, and The Tony Randall Show), how many actual network-to-network transitions have there been? Taxi, The Paper Chase, JAG, Buffy, and that’s about it that comes to mind. (I’m not counting network-to-syndication transititions like Charles in Charge and 21 Jump Street.) The Paper Chase is the only one of those that went to cable.
Me, I’m still not convinced that Fox wants to let go; they may want to switch to a short-run season every year, as a prestige piece (and DVD driver). We shall see.