Will That ‘70s Show Come Back To Netflix With That ‘90s Show?
Since That ‘70s Show’s spinoff series That ‘90s Show will be created by Netflix, speculation has risen about whether or not the original series will also return to the streaming service. Netflix’s That ‘90s Show is one of the latest in a considerable lineup of TV show reboots, revivals, and spinoffs, with series like How I Met Your Father, Bel-Air, Fuller House, and Cobra Kai bringing iconic characters into the modern lens. As Netflix readies the sequel series to That ‘70s Show, which ran from 1998-2006, the matter of where the original series will land for streaming becomes more complex.
Taking place 15 years after the end of That ‘70s Show, Netflix’s That ‘90s Show follows Leia Forman, the teenage daughter of Eric and Donna, as she spends the summer in Point Place with her grandparents Red and Kitty Forman. Alongside Kurtwood Smith and Debra Jo Rupp reprising their roles as Red and Kitty in the main cast, the majority of That ‘70s Show’s original actors are returning for guest appearances in That ‘90s Show, which includes Topher Grace (Eric), Laura Prepon (Donna), Ashton Kutcher (Kelso), Mila Kunis (Jackie), Wilmer Valderrama (Fez), and Tommy Chong (Leo). Following That ‘70s Show’s finale cutting to black at midnight on New Year’s Eve 1979, the original characters, their children, and a whole new generation of Point Place teens will be depicted in the culture of 1995 in That ‘90s Show.
The upcoming sitcom has been ordered with 10 episodes by Netflix, with excitement growing for the returns of iconic characters and the introduction of new figures. In the meantime, as Netflix prepares to debut the sequel series That ’90s Show, there has been no confirmation about whether That ‘70s Show will also come back to the streaming service. That ‘70s Show enjoyed a long tenure on Netflix as its streaming home before being removed in 2020, leaving many to wonder if the platform will reclaim the licensing rights to the ‘90s sitcom in order to have both series in the same location. However, due to licensing rights and financial considerations, That ‘70s Show may not come back to Netflix with That ‘90s Show.
Why That ‘70s Show Left Netflix In 2020
That ‘70s Show was available to stream on Netflix for several years in the US before leaving the platform in September 2020. That ‘70s Show left Netflix due to the streaming service failing to renew its licensing rights to air the sitcom, leaving the series open for other platforms to grab. At the time, Netflix was looking to prioritize investing in its own original content over other studios’ shows, which seems to explain why so many iconic sitcoms left Netflix around 2020.
Before That ‘70s Show exited Netflix, the classic ‘90s TV series Friends left in 2019, with NBC’s Parks and Recreation leaving in October 2020 and The Office in January 2021. Netflix is better known for its influx of original series than any other streaming service, with the loss of other studios’ sitcoms likely being partially responsible for the bloated funds of its massive originals like Stranger Things. However, even if Netflix doesn’t have these original sitcoms available in its library, the service still benefits from their popularity when choosing to purchase the rights to make spinoffs like That ‘90s Show.
How To Watch That ‘70s Show Online
While That ‘70s Show has been off of Netflix for nearly two years, the rights to stream the sitcom have yet to be claimed by another service. As such, That ‘70s Show is particularly difficult to watch online. Although it isn’t available on any streaming services like Hulu, HBO Max, or Peacock, That ‘70s Show can be watched online through purchases of the individual episodes on Amazon Prime for $1.99 each in SD, $2.99 in HD, or a discounted rate for buying each season in bulk. Surprisingly, Amazon Prime is the only online location to purchase the series, as it’s unavailable on alternative platforms like Apple TV, Google Play, or Vudu. Another option for watching That ‘70s Show’s nostalgic sitcom online is through Sling TV, which doesn’t carry the entire series on demand, but has episodes from seasons 1, 2, and 8 ready to stream.
Why That ‘70s Show Might Not Come Back To Netflix, Despite That ‘90s Show
Considering That ‘70s Show was a high performer before leaving the series, it seems counterproductive for Netflix to not renew the rights for streaming when That ‘90s Show arrives, as interest in the latter will naturally drive interest towards the former, and Netflix itself may as well capitalize on that. However, purchasing the rights to a TV series owned by another network no longer seems to be a priority for Netflix, especially since it’s apt to shuffle the majority of those funds into making That ‘90s Show successful. Once Stranger Things comes to an end, Netflix will be missing its most consistently popular original content, so the platform is more apt to invest in making That ‘90s Show last more than one season than trying to bargain for the streaming rights to That ‘70s Show. While Carsey-Warner TV Distribution still holds the rights to That ‘70s Show, deals to acquire for the sitcom have largely been to license it for cable airing since leaving Netflix.
With That ‘90s Show expected to hit Netflix before the end of 2022, it seems highly unlikely for That ‘70s Show to return, given there has been no public announcement of conversations between Carsey-Werner and Netflix. That ‘70s Show’s absence from Netflix is also supported by Netflix’s previous ‘90s sitcom sequel series Fuller House. While Fuller House brought back the majority of Full House’s characters for the Netflix Original Series, Netflix never acquired the streaming rights for the ABC sitcom. Rather, while Fuller House enjoyed five seasons on Netflix, Full House always remained on other streaming services like Hulu and HBO Max. Fuller House was still a massive hit when it debuted in 2016, so Netflix may see that licensing the original series doesn’t necessarily add value to the streaming success of its reboots.
Netflix has also been widely critiqued for frequently canceling its original programming, so the platform likely wants to wait to see whether That ‘90s Show is a hit on its own before investing in the rights for That ‘70s Show again. However, should That ’90s Show become successful, That ’70s Show is apt to be a hot commodity for other streaming services. With Netflix already in a crisis of losing subscribers, licensing the high performing That ’70s Show alongside its new original sequel series That ’90s Show could be a significant asset as it tries to bring back consumers.