'Arrested Development' recycled on the Net

"Arrested Development," the quirky TV series that was cancelled after three seasons, now has a home online.

On Wednesday, the show's owner Fox Entertainment Group licensed its 53 episodes to Microsoft's MSN, which plans to stream the programs on-demand via MSN Video this fall. Viewers can watch for free.

The deal shows the Internet's rising sway as a market for promoting new and after-market TV shows, especially for niche programming like "Arrested Development." Despite its critical acclaim and devoted following, the show delivered lackluster audience ratings by network standards. But on MSN, which draws about 11 million monthly viewers to MSN Video, according to the company, the show could easily be resuscitated.

As part of the deal, MSN will have exclusive rights to syndicate the show online for three years. It plans to sell commercial advertising to air with the programs.

Fox also announced licensing deals for "Arrested Development" with HDNet's high-definition TV and G4, a basic cable provider.

"It's a win for both the loyal and passionate fans who adored the show during its network run and the millions more who will now have a chance to discover its genius," according to Fox Television President Gary Newman.

 

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