Mitch Hurwitz recently spoke about the original run of Arrested Development, and how specifically FOX wanted him to handle the show to get ratings up. He spoke about it at the Banff World Media Festival.
“After the second season the note was dumb it down. They (Fox) would not bring me back for a third season unless I signed a contract to make it 25 per cent less — that was the phrase they used,” Hurwitz said. “I’m somebody who probably cares a little too much about other people’s experience and I really wanted Fox to be happy. But I just had to say I can’t do it and they did say you can make it, but we’ll basically just make your life miserable.”
That’s exactly what happened, and FOX cancelled the show midway through the third season, and gave Hurwitz a handful of episodes to wrap up the entire series.
It’s interesting to note that the major plotline of season three was the introduction of Charlize Theron as Rita, a quirky Brit who turned out to actually be mentally handicapped with the cognitive abilities of a six-year-old. Perhaps that was Hurwitz’s shot at FOX for tell him to “dumb down” the show, but the joke and storyline was still handled in a sophisticated way.
“It’s a priority for everybody,” Hurwitz says of a possible Arrested Development season five, but as was the case last time, the problem is working with the ensembles schedules. It’s what led to a rather disjointed revival in season four where it was impossible to get most of the Bluths in the same room together via scheduling conflicts. Hopefully that can be resolved for next time around.
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