YouTube swept the leg, but Cobra Kai isn’t down for the count just yet.
The streaming video site’s most acclaimed original scripted series won’t premiere its new season on that platform. Instead, Cobra Kai, the streamer’s TV continuation of the Karate Kid film franchise, is on the hunt for another home at a different streaming service, with Netflix and Hulu reportedly “leading the short list of contenders” who showed interest in picking up the show.
YouTube tried to enter the streaming wars a few years ago with YouTube Premium, and the early success of Cobra Kai put them on the map and made them at least a small contender in that multi-company battle. But the site failed to generate more shows that earned the same level of buzz, so YouTube essentially announced that they were tapping out on making original scripted programming altogether. Cobra Kai season 3 received a greenlight months ago, and we learned at last year’s Comic-Con that Ralph Macchio‘s Daniel LaRusso character would be heading back to Japan, but aside from that update, it’s been pretty quiet.
Now Deadline reports that Cobra Kai season 3 won’t be debuting on YouTube at all. Instead, season 3 is being released to its producing studio, Sony Pictures Television, who has taken it out to find a potential new home. Apparently all of the major streamers were interested, but it looks like Netflix and Hulu are currently leading the pack right now. Whoever ends up securing the rights to the third season, they’ll also have non-exclusive rights to the first and second season so fans will be able to catch up without being forced to change platforms to do so. Seems like even though YouTube doesn’t want to make more of the show, they don’t want to fully let it go, either. Maybe if I were the YouTube executive who initially greenlit Cobra Kai, I wouldn’t want to just sell it all off, either.
Here’s how it went down: YouTube said they would air the third season of the show, but they told Sony TV that they would not be commissioning a fourth season. That news led Sony to ask if they could shop it around to a place that would give it a fourth season (should the third season prove successful enough), and negotiations branched out from there.
From the outside looking in, it seems as if Hulu might “need” Cobra Kai a bit more than Netflix right now. We already know that the coronavirus pandemic won’t affect any of Netflix’s planned releases for the rest of this year, but we’re not sure if the same is true for Hulu. And since Netflix already has a ton of stuff lined up, it probably wouldn’t hurt for Hulu to not only gain exclusive access to a new season of a well-liked show, but to harness those first two seasons to lure in potential new subscribers…or at least encourage its existing subscribers to spend more time on the service binging the entire series.
No official release date is in place yet, but we’ll let you know where Cobra Kai season 3 ends up landing. To see all of /Film’s Cobra Kai-related content (and there’s a lot, including interviews, editorials, and more), click here.
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