Arrested Development is leaving Netflix for one of its big streaming rivals

Two characters in Arrested Development look shocked in season 5 of the Netflix show
Why is Netflix getting rid of Arrested Development? (Image credit: Fox/Netflix)

Update: Don't fret, UK-based fans of Arrested Development, for the acclaimed sitcom has found a new streaming home.

Revealed in a Disney Plus press release, the fan-favorite series will be available to stream on Disney Plus UK from Wednesday, March 15. However, users will only have access to Arrested Development's first three seasons. Clearly, Netflix doesn't want to sell the rights to the show's final two seasons, which it developed in-house. The first three seasons on Arrested Development are already available on Hulu for US audiences to enjoy. 

Still, while it'll come as a relief to viewers – on both sides of the Atlantic ocean – that Arrested Development will be streamable somewhere other than Netflix, it's disappointing that seasons 4 and 5 won't make their way onto Netflix's big rivals anytime soon.

Original story follows.

A promotional image showing the main cast of Arrested Development

Arrested Development has found itself a new home in the US and UK. (Image credit: 20th Century Fox)

Netflix is preparing to remove Arrested Development from its library – and it's happening soon.

In a surprise move, the world's best streaming service is getting rid of the cult classic comedy series, including the two later seasons that were Netflix Originals – developed by streaming giant.

Per Variety, Arrested Development's five instalments will depart the platform on Wednesday, March 15. TechRadar has verified Variety's report, with Arrested Development's landing page confirming it'll only be available until Tuesday, March 14. If you were planning on streaming the comedy TV show, then, you don't have long left to do so.

A screenshot showing Arrested Development will leave Netflix on March 14

Netflix has confirmed Arrested Development will leave its platform soon. (Image credit: Netflix)

The news will come as a blow to fans of the celebrated cringe-inducing sitcom, particularly in light of Netflix saving it over a decade ago.

After the series' cancellation by Fox Entertainment Group in 2006, it seemed Arrested Development's time in the spotlight had come to an end. However, six years later, Netflix acquired the rights to Arrested Development's first three seasons. 

Despite Netflix's original programming division being in its infancy at the time, too, the streamer also confirmed it was reviving the series. Two more seasons were subsequently developed by Netflix, with season 4 arriving in May 2013, and season 5 (released in two parts) airing in May 2018 and March 2019. 

The fact that Arrested Development has been part of Netflix's back catalog for over 11 years, as well as its permanent place on our best Netflix shows list, makes its impending departure even less palatable. So, why is the streaming company removing it from its suite of content?

Analysis: license to fulfill

Michael, George, and Lucille Bluth stare at each other quizzically in Arrested Development

Where could Arrested Development end up next? (Image credit: Netflix)

The short answer is that Netflix's licensing agreement, which has allowed it to show Arrested Development for over 10 years, is running out very soon.

That multi-year deal officially runs out on March 15, meaning Netflix has to remove the series from its platform whether it wants to or not as things stand. The streaming giant had to do likewise with its line-up of Marvel TV shows, including Daredevil, The Punisher, and Jessica Jones, when its licensing deal with the comic book giant ended in March 1, 2022. Those superhero shows, plus Netflix's other Marvel live-action series, have since moved to Disney Plus.

Netflix doesn't appear to be putting up a fight to keep Arrested Development, either. A Netflix spokesperson told The Hollywood Reporter that the expiration of its licensing deal is the primary reason behind Arrested Development's forthcoming departure, but didn't state whether Netflix was in talks to extend the agreement.

That could change, of course. In November 2022, Netflix was set to lose Norwegian-American crime drama series Lilyhammer. However, a last-minute change of heart led to the streaming behemoth renewing its licensing arrangement, which will now keep Lilyhammer on Netflix until 2029. 

Batman interrogates Joker in The Dark Knight

The Dark Knight trilogy's licensing deal was recently renewed for HBO Max. (Image credit: Warner Bros.)

Meanwhile, earlier this month, TechRadar exclusively confirmed that Christopher Nolan's Batman movies wouldn't be leaving HBO Max after all. The Dark Knight trilogy was set to leave Warner Bros Discovery's primary streamer on Saturday, February 11, but a renewal of that licensing deal meant the three films would remain on HBO Max.

There is previous form, then, for streamers (including Netflix) to keep TV shows and movies on their service. Unless Netflix performs a U-turn, though, Arrested Development won't join Lilyhammer in sticking around on the platform.

For more Netflix coverage, check out every Netflix cancelled show. Additionally, find out what the best Netflix movies and best Netflix documentaries are.

Senior Entertainment Reporter

As TechRadar's senior entertainment reporter, Tom covers all of the latest movies, TV shows, and streaming service news that you need to know about. You'll regularly find him writing about the Marvel Cinematic Universe, Star Wars, Netflix, Prime Video, Disney Plus, and many other topics of interest.

An NCTJ-accredited journalist, Tom also writes reviews, analytical articles, opinion pieces, and interview-led features on the biggest franchises, actors, directors and other industry leaders. You may see his quotes pop up in the odd official Marvel Studios video, too, such as this Moon Knight TV spot.

Away from work, Tom can be found checking out the latest video games, immersing himself in his favorite sporting pastime of football, reading the many unread books on his shelf, staying fit at the gym, and petting every dog he comes across.

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