Hey girl, where you going? Netflix gets 'New Girl'

The Internet's No. 1 streaming site signs exclusive deal for past seasons of Fox hit "New Girl," while the home of current episodes -- competitor Hulu -- faces an uncertain future.

Screenshot of New Girl on Netflix
Screenshot by Joan E. Solsman/CNET

As Netflix snags old "New Girl," the fate of new "New Girl" is less certain.

The Internet's top video-streaming site signed a deal with Twentieth Century Fox Television to bring old seasons of Fox's hit comedy "New Girl" to the site exclusively for on-demand streaming. It starts with the first season Monday, and subsequent seasons of the show will be available on Netflix after the broadcast seasons.

Terms weren't disclosed.

The show, which rejuvenated Fox's Tuesday night lineup, draws in the network's highest ratings on the night and particularly resonates with hard-to-reach demographics like young women. That helps it command some of the highest ad rates on television, though its audience ratings petered in the most recent, second season.

"New Girl" is a popular item on streaming-site Hulu, a competitor to Netflix. That Fox found more value farming out old episodes of one of Hulu's biggest shows to a Hulu competitor underscores how viewers turn to the site for new or nearly new TV content rather than a past catalogs.

Gina Brogi, a Twentieth Century Fox executive, called Netflix a "leader in digital distribution" and "an important partner for us" in a statement about the "New Girl" deal.

Hulu is also partly owned by the program's parent company. Rupert Murdoch's New York-based 21st Century Fox runs the Fox network and shares ownership of Hulu with ABC-parent Walt Disney Co. and NBC-parent Comcast Corp.

Those owners are trying to sell Hulu at the moment, with a deadline for binding bids coming up. Right now, Hulu posts the latest handful of "New Girl" episodes right after they air for paying subscribers and on a week delay for those who don't.

But the possible sale clouds the future of content on Hulu. While programming from its parents' networks long has been the tentpole of the site, sale negotiations include content rights for shows. With pay-TV operators, private equity firms, a media mogul , a telecom giant , and an Internet company all said to have made bids, the possible outcomes for Hulu -- and viewers' access to new episodes of shows like "New Girl" -- are dizzying.

 

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