Following this month’s debut of Lilyhammer, Netflix’s first scripted series, word is that the company is now preparing to launch a second original show. The company has ordered 13 episodes of Orange is the New Black, a comedy from Jenji Kohan, the creator of Showtimes’s Weeds. The show is based on the memoir of a communications exec who served time for drug charges in a women’s prison.
The deal is being confirmed by Bloomberg (via SFGate, AdAge), who spoke to someone “with knowledge of the situation,” but rumors surrounding the negotiations for this show have reached as far back as November. According to an earlier report from Deadline, Netflix was finalizing a deal for Kohan’s series through Lionsgate TV, where Kohan has a development deal. Netflix is already partnered with Lionsgate, as it had agreed in April 2011 to stream up to seven seasons of the studio’s popular AMC show Mad Men.
Bloomberg’s report states that Netflix will have first rights to the new show from Weeds‘ creator HBO, but Weeds is actually a Showtime series. That’s the only aspect to the report that raises a red flag. Everything else seems to be confirmation of the previous rumors.
The new series may be exec produced by Liz Friedman, the co-exec producer of House, according to Deadline’s previous report. As for the show itself, it tells the tale of Piper Kerman, a communications executive at a nonprofit, who spent a year in the minimum security correctional facility in Danbury, Conn. after being convicted for her part in a drug smuggling and money laundering scheme she was involved in back in college.
Orange is the New Black is the second show whose production will be financed by Netflix. The company also has the exclusive distribution rights to Lilyhammer as well as new episodes of Arrested Development (planned for 2013), but is producing the Kevin Spacey vehicle House of Cards, announced back in March. That show, an adaptation of a popular British miniseries (which Netflix outbid HBO and AMC for), is expected to debut later this year.
According to Bloomberg’s report, announcements related to Orange is the New Black as well as another deal with Gaumont International Television for a 13-episode horror series Hemlock Grove may arrive as soon as next week. No word yet on when those programs will be available for viewing, but Netflix’s Chief Content Officer Ted Sarandos told the outlet there would be five original shows available for streaming by mid-2013.