Netflix, the nation’s largest video subscription service, is reportedly bolstering its original content offerings by securing the rights to produce a new, 13-episode dark comedy series from Jenji Kohan, creator of Showtime’s hit show “Weeds,” Bloomberg News reported on Tuesday.
Netflix declined to comment on the veracity of the report to TPM.
The new series is reportedly called “Orange is the New Black,” apparently based off the 2010 memoir of the same name by Piper Kerman, a communications executive who spent 13 months in federal prison on 10-year-old drug smuggling charges.
Netflix will also produce a horror series called “Hemlock Grove,” from Eli Roth, the director of the movie “Hostel,” according to the new Bloomberg report.
By the middle of 2013, Netflix wil have five original content offerings, the company’s chief content officer Ted Sarantos said at a conference in January.
Netflix has already debuted the first of its original content acquisitions, the gangster comedy “Lilyhammer,” and has announced that it will premiere a 26-episode political thriller series, “House of Cards ,” later in 2012. Prematurely canceled cult comedy “Arrested Development,” will also be revived on Netflix in 2013, the company announced in November 2011.
If Bloomberg’s and Deadline’s reports are correct, the two new series could round out those five original content offerings that Sarantos alluded to.
But it’s not just competitors that Netflix has to worry about. Or rather, there are some related concerns: The company suffered a precipitous drop in its stock throughout 2011 as it made a series of business blunders, from raising its price 60 percent abruptly on customers, to announcing, then canceling plans to spin-off its DVD rental plan. Add to that the fact that Netflix continues to have to pay royalties to stream content from the top providers — namely the big Hollywood studios and their distributors — and the company’s future is a tough one at best.