Will Netflix Save TV?

It'll be a while before Netflix's first original TV series, House of Cards, is ready to stream, but in the meantime, the company may find a new niche by saving TV shows from cancellation.

Following the news that NBC is cancelling The Event, Deadline reported that Netflix considered picking up the serial drama. It wouldn't be unheard of; in an interview with All Things Digital last week, Netflix CEO Reed Hastings said he could see the company paying networks to keep shows alive, provided they were popular with Netflix streaming subscribers.

The idea is great. Throughout television's history, plenty of shows have been cancelled too soon, and working with Netflix would allow a network to make money without handing a show over to a direct competitor. Everybody wins.

The question is, what does Netflix gain by saving TV shows from cancellation? Next-day streaming? A cut of the ad revenues? This is all hypothetical, so nobody knows.

In any case, Peter Kafka of All Things Digital thinks The Event is unlikely to be saved. The show barely made it through a single season, and Netflix doesn't stream it, so there's no built-up fan base among Instant Watch subscribers.

Netflix could be a great savior of TV shows. It just needs the right victim. Is it too late to bring back Arrested Development?

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