'Orange Is the New Black': Next 'House of Cards' Netflix Success Story?

Image: 'Orange Is the New Black': Next 'House of Cards' Netflix Success Story? Taylor Schilling, left, Cindy Holland and Piper Kerman.

Monday, 22 Jul 2013 11:51 AM

By Alexandra Ward

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With an Emmy nomination for "House of Cards" and the recent release of its newest original series, "Orange Is the New Black," Netflix is revolutionizing the way audiences watch television. 

"Orange Is the New Black" is Netflix's fifth foray into original programming. The streaming-subscription service has already found success with Kevin Spacey's "House of Cards" and the fourth season of "Arrested Development," and now the TV version of a novel by Piper Kerman is garnering similar buzz after its premiere earlier this month.

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Starring newcomer Taylor Schilling, Jason Biggs ("American Pie"), and Laura Prepon ("That '70s Show"), "Orange" is about a woman who is sentenced to 15 months in prison because of a 10-year relationship with a drug dealer. The show chronicles her struggles to adjust to jailhouse life.

"Orange" stands to become the next "House of Cards" because of Netflix's unique programming model, according to Mashable.

"A problem with the 'traditional' way we watch television is that shows like this one — irreverent, intelligent, and controversial — frequently perish, starved by subpar ratings," Grenfell writes. "If released on network or cable television, 'Orange' would have gone underappreciated and been forced to shut down before finishing its story. But, thanks to Netflix, that isn’t a problem for this show."

Netflix's goal is to challenge what it calls the "linear" viewer experience.

"We believe we have a strong advantage over our linear competitors when it comes to launching a show. They have to attract an audience for Sunday at 8 p.m., say. We can be much more flexible," read a statement on the service's website. "Because we are not allocating scarce prime-time slots like linear TV does, a show that is taking a long time to find its audience is one we can keep nurturing. This allows us to prudently commit to a whole season, rather than just a pilot episode. In addition, we are able to provide a platform for more creative storytelling (varying run times per episode based on storyline, no need for week to week recaps, no fixed notion of what constitutes a 'season'). We believe this makes it easier to attract talent."

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