‘Dexter’ Departing Netflix23 Mar, 2011 By: Erik Gruenwedel
Showtime Networks reportedly will pull popular series such as “Dexter” and “Californication” from Netflix when its streaming agreement with the online disc rental pioneer expires this summer.
The CBS Corp.-owned pay-TV channel will instead offer repurposed episodes of the current series on its upstart Showtime Anytime platform, which enables authenticated subscribers to access content on myriad devices on-demand.
Showtime would, for the first time, offer Netflix discontinued programming such as “The Tudors” and “Sleeper Cell,” according to media reports.
CBS and Netflix in February signed a two-year license agreement for catalog episodes of “Medium” and “Flashpoint,” as well as full seasons of “Frasier,” “Family Ties” and “Cheers,” among others.
Netflix spokesperson Steve Swasey said titles come and go through the ebb and flow of licensing. Yet, he appeared unsure about the latest development, while some pundits suggested it could just be a negotiating ploy by Showtime.
“We’re really not sure what they’re saying because Netflix and CBS announced a licensing deal, which included 'The Tudors' and 'Sleepercell,'” Swasey told MediaMemo.com. “'Californication' and 'Dexter' are currently available to watch instantly streaming from Netflix as they are part of a separate licensing deal with Showtime. Netflix has a good relationship with CBS and we are in the process of renewing and adding shows from their many programming channels, including Showtime.”
Swasey told Home Media Magazine no programming currently licensed from Showtime was being taken down from Netflix at the moment. That said, the spokesperson remained vague about the future of the agreement.
“Netflix may or not renew with Showtime,” Swasey said.
CBS Corp. CEO Les Moonves had made no secret of his desire to approach emerging digital distribution channels with caution, including not interrupting the lucrative syndication market.
As a result, CBS primetime hits — such as “Two and a Half Men,” the “CSI” franchise, “NCIS,” “The Mentalist” and “The Big Bang Theory” — only are available on disc.
“There is no great need to rush into something that we don’t know a lot about,” Moonves told investors in December.