We've been told not to believe everything we read on the internet, so it especially stings when rumors, like the one that surfaced this past week claiming that 30 Rock was leaving Netflix, turn out to be true.
"Yes, 30 Rock among others will be rolling off the service in October," Netflix confirmed in a statement to Refinery29. "The license for a TV series or movie is for a set period of time, which means every title eventually comes up for renewal. At that point we take a variety of factors into account to determine if we will renew the title. As we expand our content portfolio, our goal is to continue offering great movies and TV series for our members, while also providing content that is available exclusively on Netflix."
While Netflix removes shows every month – believe me, I write about all of them – something about this one feels particularly significant. I'm not alone in thinking 30 Rock was somewhat embedded into Netflix's canon, alongside other greats like The Office, Friends, and Parks & Recreation, to name a few. I suddenly realized with a cartoon gulp: If 30 Rock can leave, why not those?
The decision to remove fan favorites isn't arbitrary. Upon confirmation of 30 Rock's exit, I reached out to Netflix once more to find out more about how they decide what stays and what goes. What, exactly, are those "factors" they have to take into consideration?
"At the point of renewal, we evaluate how much the title is getting viewed, member feedback and the amount of similar titles already available, among other factors, to determine if we are willing to potentially renew a title," a spokesperson for the streaming service explained. But before you get mad at Netflix, sometimes it's not even their decision.
"There are also times when it isn’t up to Netflix to renew," they added. "For instance, when a licensing period ends and a show or movie goes to another TV channel or service or when we work with studio partners on a rotating selection of content. In that case we do not or can not renew, we put the money toward other content we think will bring members joy."
Seriously, Netflix, if The Office is next, there's nothing in this life or the next one that could console me.