Netflix Picks Up Controversial Ricky Gervais Program; Gervais Forecasts the Future of Television NY Times
Ricky Gervais' controversial new comedy series has been acquired by Netflix, prompting Gervais to comment on the future of television, reports The New York Times' ArtsBeat.
The pickup of the series, “Derek,” follows the program's run on Channel 4 in Britain, the story notes. In the series, Gervais plays a simple man who works in a nursing home. His portrayal has raised criticisms that the character mocked disabled people, the story says. Gervais has denied the claim, saying that his character isn't disabled.
The show earned a full series order in Britain after drawing about 2 million viewers. Netflix plans to air the program next year.
In selling to Netflix, Gervais -- whose shows have appeared on HBO on the U.S. -- said in a statement that the service is “the future." He added, "TV habits have already changed drastically over the last 10 years and this is the next phase. People want their favorite shows on demand whether they are homegrown or not.”
Gervais adds in the statement: “As an artist you want the fruits of your labor to be seen by the largest number of people possible without having to compromise the product. This deal gave me the freedom and the huge potential viewers of the Internet but the production values of film and TV. They also made me an offer I couldn’t refuse. Come on, an artist gotta eat man.”