When Queer Eye debuted on Netflix at first of the yr, bringing the present again to the small display screen for the primary time in over a decade, a logical query adopted:
How can we watch the unique?
It wasn’t that we did not love the brand new Fab 5. Somewhat, it was our love for them and people first eight episodes of the revival that was chargeable for reigniting our obsession with a actuality TV franchise we as soon as thought had strictly change into a factor of the previous. And it appeared solely pure that somebody would wish to capitalize on our revived affection and make the 5 seasons of the unique iteration, which aired on Bravo from 2003 to 2007, out there, if for nothing else than to carry us over till new episodes of the revival arrived.
And but, nothing.
With the 15th anniversary of the present’s debut on July 15, 2003 quick approaching, the truth that these unique episodes of Queer Eye aren’t out there to stream wherever on demand feels all of the extra egregious. (Curiously, seasons 4 and 5 can be found to buy on Amazon Prime Video, however that is it.) Bravo’s introduced no plans to spend the day celebrating with a marathon of OG reruns (although, as of press time, their line-up for the day stays TBD). And Netflix appears to be in no hurry to safe the rights to the unique run. On condition that creator David Collins and his Scout Productions are connected to each iterations, it isn’t as if there is a third-party manufacturing firm jamming up the works with their claims to possession or streaming rights. So what offers?
It seems that the reply to this seemingly straightforward query is somewhat troublesome to return by, and a variety of it may really feel a bit like inside baseball to the typical TV fan, however we will break it down as finest we will for you right here.
There are a pair components at play with Queer Eye particularly, however earlier than we get to these, let’s speak about Netflix generally as a result of this situation of beloved TV turning into much less and fewer out there on the streaming service is just rising. And it might appear counter-intuitive streaming web site that after lured you in with the promise of each season of most of your favourite older TV reveals is shedding them like a snake sheds its pores and skin—you realize, on common, two to 4 occasions a yr—however there are a handful of explanation why this makes excellent sense.
To start out, securing the streaming rights to TV reveals you do not personal outright is an costly enterprise. It is a bit like leasing a automotive in that you simply pay for the rights to the collection for a window of time. When that window is up, you could have the choice to re-negotiate phrases for an additional time frame otherwise you flip the automotive in and transfer on to one thing new. When Netflix was first getting itself off the bottom, it wanted these reveals you have been accustomed to however could not watch wherever else precisely if you wished to entice you to change into a member. However as the corporate has shifted its enterprise mannequin and rapidly cornered the unique content material market, it is discovered itself out of each the necessity to depend on leased content material and the will to allocate the funds to lease them.
It is protected to say that unique content material is sort of all that issues to Netflix at this level within the recreation. Not solely does the possession change into cheaper in the long term—no must proceed to lease from another person when the unique content material can simply dwell in your web site in perpetuity, freed from further cost—however it’s crucial to brand-building. It is what has given Netflix its identification past “third-party provider of stuff you as soon as watched elsewhere.”
On high of that, with the tv trade going via as a lot disruption and upheaval because it at present is—one thing owed, principally, to Netflix—most studios and networks are wanting into streaming companies of their very own. Once more, this all goes again to possession. Somewhat than lease out your content material to locations like Netflix or Amazon Prime Video or Hulu and permit them to, partly, revenue off your content material, the thought is to supply your individual subscription service the place you home your whole content material completely and make all the cash there’s to be made off it. It is why CBS launched CBS All Entry, it is why DC Comics and Warner Bros. can be launching DC Universe in beta this August, and it is why Disney has slowly begun snatching their highly-prized content material (suppose Disney Channel, Freeform, and ABC, in addition to all of the Disney, Pixar, and Marvel movie libraries) again for a service of their very own, due subsequent yr.
As cord-cutting turns into increasingly more frequent, studios and networks can be much less prone to farm out their content material to different companies. This goes double for cable networks who understandably not too eager on lining the pockets of those that pose the best risk to their major enterprise mannequin any additional. However that is to not say that everybody is on the point of deny Netflix the rights to stream their content material. The CW, for instance, has a really profitable pact with Netflix that sees the community ship full seasons nearly instantly after they end airing on conventional linear tv, solely to observe their viewership double subsequent season due to those that’ve found the content material over the summer season. It is what made Riverdale such a scores sensation for the community throughout season two.
So we have defined prioritizing unique content material and diminishing availability of “leased” content material, however neither of these can account for Queer Eye‘s absence. Not less than, not absolutely. You may discover that none of Bravo’s content material is offered to stream on Netflix. Nonetheless, a few of it may be discovered over at rival Hulu. (Although, frustratingly, not practically sufficient of it.) And that is as a result of Hulu is a three way partnership between the Walt Disney Firm, 21st Century Fox, AT&T, and NBCUniversal. And who’s part of the NBCUniversal household? That might be Bravo.
A lot of the NBCUniversal household’s content material (which additionally consists of E!) has, logically, discovered its strategy to Hulu nearly completely. And our greatest guess as to why OG Queer Eye is not out there there at present is as a result of it is perhaps seen as promotion for the brand new class over at Netflix.
Will we ever see Thom Filicia, Carson Kressley, Jai Rodriguez, Kyan Douglas, and Ted Allen on a streaming web site? Solely time will inform, however odds are, if we ever do, it will not be Netflix.
(E! and Bravo are each a part of the NBCUniversal household.)