Stranger Things was Rejected by 15 to 20 Different Networks before Netflix Picked It Up

Stranger Things has been one of Netflix’s biggest hits, winning over critics and viewers alike with its brilliant supernatural storyline, excellent child acting, and of course, charming ’80s nostalgia. With all the buzz surrounding it, it’s hard to believe the show almost never saw the light of day.

In an interview with Rolling Stone, the creators of the show, twins Matt and Ross Duffer, revealed that many network executives they pitched the series to thought it was a dud. In fact, they estimate 15 to 20 networks rejected their idea, and it almost resulted in the duo abandoning the series.

“There was a week where we were like, ‘This isn’t going to work because people don’t get it,” Matt told the magazine.

The main issue execs had with the show was that it featured four children as lead actors while being a show that was made for adults. Matt recalls one executive advising them, “You either gotta make it into a kids show or make it about this Hopper [detective] character investigating paranormal activity around town.”

But then the brothers connected with Netflix, and everything changed. The streaming service, which is now investing billions every year in developing its original series, was able to see what over a dozen other networks couldn’t — the show had all the ingredients to be a massive success and strike a chord with a big audience.

Netflix is now releasing hundreds of hours of its original content in 2016, and you can expect the streaming giant to continue to increase its investment in its originals going forward. If they’re able to continue producing hits that spur subscriber growth, there might be nothing that can stop them.

Eric Anthony

Eric Anthony

Eric Anthony follows the streaming video industry closely and has reported on it for years. He's also the managing editor for Streaming Observer. Email him at ericanthony@streamingobserver.com.
Eric Anthony

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