Unbelievable, from showrunner Susannah Grant, CBS TV Studios and Timberman/Beverly Productions, was one of Netflix’s top ratings performers of the third quarter — and all of 2019. The limited series was viewed by 32 million households in its first four weeks on the platform, Netflix disclosed with its Q3 earnings report today.
That is a big number for a crime drama that tackles a difficult subject, rape, and is based on a case that is not widely known.
Turning Unbelievable into a true-crime anthology franchise had been on the back of the producers’ minds from the get-go. And while there are no deals in place and there have been no conversations with Netflix about that — Unbelievable was sold to the streamer as a one-off limited series — the idea of a follow-up is likely to be revisited in light of its ratings success and awards attention, centered largely on the performances of Toni Collette and Merritt Wever.
There is no premise for a potential second installment being considered, but it would likely tackle a different case in a different true-crime arena. The title, Unbelievable, easily lands itself to telling different stories, much more so than Bravo/USA’s popular true-crime anthology Dirty John, for instance.
Co-written by Grant, Michael Chabon & Ayelet Waldman, Unbelievable was based on “An Unbelievable Story of Rape,” a Pulitzer Prize-winning December 2015 article from the Marshall Project and ProPublica written by T. Christian Miller and Ken Armstrong, and the This American Life radio episode about the same case, “Anatomy of Doubt.”
At Netflix, CBS TV Studios also has Insatiable, whose second season debuted Friday and also is believed to be among the streamer’s stronger ratings performers, along with breakout dark comedy Dead to Me, starring Christina Applegate and Linda Cardellini, which was renewed for a second season weeks after its May 3 debut. The studio previously produced comedy American Vandal for Netflix, which ran for two seasons.