By Nathan Kamal | 55 mins ago
It looks like Netflix has finally and fully canceled fan-favorite show Julie and the Phantoms. The Kenny Ortega-produced show lasted for only one season on the streaming platform, but in that time period managed to cultivate a devoted fan base. When Netflix unexpectedly announced that it was canceling the musical comedy series in December of 2021, those fans took it hard. Although the show had only had nine episodes, musical theater fans are not the type to let something go once they latched on to it. Inspired by the fan campaigns that have saved shows like NBC’s spy comedy Chuck and the Showtime drama Ray Donovan from early cancellation, Julie and the Phantom fans organized a campaign they called “The Orpheum Tour.” In addition to the now-standard social media pleas, the fans hired billboards, marquees, and posters around the world to ask for Netflix to renew the show.
Unfortunately for fans of Julie and the Phantoms, Kenny Ortega, and musical comedy in general, Netflix did not go along with it. Ortega himself confirmed to Deadline that the show was well and truly dead and there were no plans to shop it to another platform or network (as had worked out for the Netflix comedy One Day at Time, which moved to Pop after its cancellation). It is unclear whether that would have been possible, to begin with, given that Ortega signed a multi-year overall deal with Netflix in 2019. In general, overall deals mean the signee gives full ownership of a show idea or concept to the studio, whether or not the studio decided to produce it. Given that Julie and the Phantoms was based on a Brazilian show called Julie e os Fantasmas, there might have been some wiggle room. But alas, it appears that the Phantoms are truly dead this time.
The abrupt cancellation of Julie and the Phantoms by Netflix came as a surprise to many, given that it was a critically beloved show. It currently holds a Rotten Tomatoes score of 93% Critic/98% Audience, which is impressive by anyone’s standards. However, Netflix has long been notorious for canceling shows at the second season mark, regardless of critical applause, presumably based on their viewership numbers. While this may have nothing to do with Netflix’s recent troubles in competition with other streaming platforms like Amazon Prime Video and Disney+, it is hard to imagine there is not some tightening of belts behind the scenes.
Still, Kenny Ortega profusely thanked the fans of his show for their support and Netflix for producing the show as long as they did. Doubtlessly, he has some new plans at the streaming giant for new shoes. As the director of musicals like Newsies and High School Musical, as well as a legendary career as a choreographer in movies like Dirty Dancing and Ferris Bueller’s Day Off, fans of Julie and the Phantoms probably will not have to wait long before he has some new masterpiece of musical comedy to present. Hopefully, Netflix will just keep it around a bit longer next time.
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