Why Is ‘The Office’ Leaving Netflix?

Everyone loves the crew at Dunder Mifflin. Though The Office came to a touching end more than six years ago, fans have been able to rewatch (and introduce new viewers to) the beloved sitcom over and over and over again thanks to Netflix, which currently has all nine seasons available to stream internationally. But that’s not going to be the case for long.

Here’s why The Office is leaving

Streaming is where entertainment is headed these days. It’s getting harder and harder to fill theaters (save for big-budget franchise flicks), and most TV consumers are willing to sacrifice watching a show when it airs for the convenience of next-day viewing or binge-watching later on. So the networks, in order to not be left behind, are getting on the streaming train.

Among them is NBCUniversal, which owns the rights to The Office. On June 25, 2019, the company released a statement that they will not be renewing their deal with Netflix, instead bringing the “rare gem” to their platform beginning in 2021. According to the Hollywood Reporter, this will not affect international viewers for the time being.

This (sort of, almost) happened before

Remember in 2018 when everyone was talking about how Friends, another extremely popular NBC comedy, was leaving Netflix? The internet went into a state of panic. But shortly thereafter, Netflix and Warner Bros. came to an agreement — the streaming service paid $100 million to keep Friends for just one year

This sort of thing becoming more and more common as new streaming services are created. Netflix has already suffered a big loss when it comes to Marvel properties, the Star Wars franchise, and anything else owned by Disney, as the giant has taken back various titles for its upcoming launch of Disney+ while redistributing others to Hulu (which it has majority ownership of). 

These other shows could be next

The good news is that you still have time to rewatch all nine seasons The Office (approximately 4,422 minutes of fun) 178 times if you get started soon (and take very few breaks). The bad news? This probably isn’t the only show that NBCU and other upcoming streaming services will take back from Netflix in the coming years.

The Office -- Pilot: (L-R) John Krasinski as Jim Halpert, Rainn Wilson as Dwight Schrute, Jenna Fischer as Pam Beesly, and Steve Carell as Michael Scott
The Office — Pilot: (L-R) John Krasinski as Jim Halpert, Rainn Wilson as Dwight Schrute, Jenna Fischer as Pam Beesly, and Steve Carell as Michael Scott | Chris Haston/NBCU Photo Bank

So what other shows are at risk? In the case of NBCU, there’s fellow documentary-style sitcom Parks and Recreation, and subsequent Mike Schur-helmed comedies The Good Place (which will end after its upcoming fourth season) and Brooklyn Nine-Nine. Good Girls, an hour-long dramedy which has been doing well on Netflix, could also be part of the deal. And we definitely haven’t seen the last of the streaming services to be announced.

At this point, any show that isn’t a Netflix Original might make the transition to a new “home.” There’s also the option to share certain titles, but those decisions will be made on a case by case basis. For now, you’re really going to want to enjoy paying for just Netflix, Hulu, and Amazon Prime while you can — because the future involves shelling out cash for many more services or missing out on new and old series and films. 

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