Netflix has renewed its original series Orange is the New Black for an impressive three more seasons, bringing the show up to at least seven seasons in all.
The streaming service has repeatedly said OITNB is its most popular original series, and the announcement comes after the second consecutive Screen Actors Guild Awards win for best comedy ensemble for the show, along with the comedy actress award for star Uzo Aduba for the second year in a row.
“Audiences around the world have come to love the ladies and men of Orange is the New Black, and we are eager to see where three more seasons will take them,” said Cindy Holland, VP of original content at Netflix.
Netflix also announced series show runner Jenji Kohan has signed on for another three seasons. Kohan quipped that while it’s not as long as a term in political office, it’s “still plenty of time to do some interesting things.”
Acting like a traditional network
While OITNB isn’t Netflix’s first original series – that honor falls to its other critically acclaimed show, House of Cards – it will mark the longest renewal for the streaming service, or any streaming service, yet.
It locks in a series that has year after year been on top of its game, and shows just how much of an investment Netflix is willing to make in originals that prove popular among audiences and critics.
The move also tells us Netflix is willing to act more like a traditional television network: the last popular series to get a three-season renewal was The Big Bang Theory on CBS. The popular comedy has signed back-to-back three-year renewals, first in 2011 and then in 2014.
Not only does the lengthy extension give cast, crew and audiences reassurance the show won’t be subject to the sometimes fleeting whims of the streaming world, it could also mean stronger creative direction for a program that can plan three years ahead versus one.
And perhaps, more interestingly, Netflix is showcasing that taking risks in subject matter and style (Orange is the New Black has been lauded for its portrayal of race, gender, sexuality and body types) is one of its greatest strengths.