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Netflix unarrests 'Arrested' development

Streaming service's hunger for new content leads to deal for all-new episodes of cult sitcom "Arrested Development," which last aired on broadcast TV five years ago.

Emmy-winning cult sitcom "Arrested Development" is being revived with all-new episodes, thanks in part to Netflix's continuing push toward becoming an HBO-like purveyor of original content.

Netflix announced yesterday that Twentieth Century Fox Television and Imagine Television will produce an unspecified number of brand-new episodes that will start streaming exclusively for Netflix subscribers in the U.S. beginning in 2013.

Earlier this year, Netflix signed a deal with "Social Network" and "Fight Club" director David Fincher for an original series called "House of Cards," starring Kevin Spacey.

The moves are in part efforts to ensure the continued health of Netflix's streaming business as content grows harder to come by. In September, premium movie channel Starz said it would pull its content from Netflix streams when the current deal between the two companies expires, in February.

The "Arrested" news no doubt also reflects the fact that TV shows account for more than half of Netflix streams.

The "Arrested" development could also herald a new era for TV shows that garner a critical and cult following but fall victim to the ratings ax (though that, of course, remains to be seen).

"Arrested Development" last aired five years ago, when it got nixed by Nielsen. Its three-season run earned it a spot on Time magazine's list of the 100 best TV shows ever and inspired the sort of cult devotion that led to props being auctioned on eBay.