The Season 5 pickup comes on the heels of star Jason Bateman announcing on Twitter that he had closed a deal to return to the Imagine TV/20th TV-produced series. The entire series regular cast of the Emmy-winning series including Bateman, Michael Cera, Jeffrey Tambor, Jessica Walter, Will Arnett, Tony Hale, Portia de Rossi, David Cross and Alia Shawkat — as well as creator/executive producer Mitch Hurwitz who has a deal at Netflix — have signed on for a fifth season, which will premiere on Netflix in 2018.
“In talks with Netflix we all felt that that stories about a narcissistic, erratically behaving family in the building business — and their desperate abuses of power — are really underrepresented on TV these days,” said Hurwitz. “I am so grateful to them and to 20th TV for making this dream of mine come true in bringing the Bluths, George Sr., Lucille and the kids; Michael, Ivanka, Don Jr., Eric, George-Michael, and who am I forgetting, oh Tiffany. Did I say Tiffany? — back to the glorious stream of life.”
In Season 4 of Arrested Development, the Bluth clan set out to build a wall between the U.S. and Mexico to “keep Mexicans out,” and Lindsay Bluth’s “Put up the wall” speech landed her so much public support that she decided to run for office on the Republican ticket. A few years later, that plotline does not sound as over the top as it might have before Donald Trump launched his successful Presidential bid with the poll-friendly promise to build a wall on the U.S.-Mexican border.
This has provided a surreal backdrop for Hurwitz as he’s been working on Season 5. He had the season outlined more than a year ago, but complex negotiations with the cast over scheduling delayed production. And because there has been so much art imitating life, he’s had to rewrite storylines.
The Season 4 finale ended with Buster arrested for the murder of Lucille Austero. That set up Season 5, which, at least at one point was going to be a serialized murder mystery.
“Arrested Development brings us structures, outerwear and choreography like no other comedy in history,” said Netflix chief content officer Ted Sarandos. “Season Four marked the first foray by Netflix into original comedy programming and this time, the Bluths will collectively be spending more quality time with their millions of fans around the world.”
Netflix went aggressively after the Arrested Development revival and landed it when it was not an original programming player yet. Arrested Development was the second homegrown original scripted series to debut on Netflix in 2013 after House Of Cards and the first comedy.
“Get ready, America. The Bluths are coming back,” said Fox Television Group chairmen and CEOs Dana Walden and Gary Newman.
The green light follows months of intense speculation and a slew of statements by the key players involved in the series that a deal is near.
“Whew! I can finally answer the question… Hell yes! Warming up my uncredited narrator vocal chords. Now the only thing I will have to be coy about is all the craziness the Bluths are going to face this season,” said executive producer Ron Howard, who also narrates the series. Added executive producer Brian Grazer: “I love working with Mitch. He is a genius and the rarest of original thinkers.”
The Emmy-winning Arrested Development centers around Michael Bluth (Bateman) and his eccentric family comprised of his son George Michael (Cera), his father George Bluth Sr. (Tambor), his mother Lucille (Walter), his brothers George Oscar Bluth II (Arnett), Buster Bluth (Hale) and sister Lindsay Funke (de Rossi), and Lindsay’s husband Tobias (Cross) and their daughter Maeby (Shawkat).
Hurwitz, Grazer, Howard, Jim Vallely and Richie Rosenstock are executive producers on Arrested Development, which is produced by Imagine TV and 20th Century Fox TV for Netflix.