When Liz Meriwether launched “New Girl” on Fox in 2011, she didn’t think anyone would still be talking about the show a decade later. But 10 years after “New Girl” premiered and only three years after it concluded its run, it is seeing a lucrative second life thanks to streaming deals. The renewed interest in the show, coupled with its special anniversary, resulted in a reunion panel during Variety’s Virtual TV Fest.
“The central friendship and central love stories do hold up, at least for now, and I think that’s what people are responding to,” Meriwether says of the audience that has found the show via streaming.
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“New Girl” premiered to big ratings (almost 10.3 million total live viewers) but then dropped week to week, which meant Meriwether “never felt satisfaction with the numbers,” she admits now. “Every week we would get our ratings for the week and hear feedback and, especially early on in the show, there was a lot of expectations from the network to try to adjust the show to get our ratings up. So, it wasn’t one of those shows where you were like, ‘This is going to be this big thing for a really long time.’ It always felt like we were fighting for people’s attention.”
She was also relatively new to television at the time (“New Girl” was the first show she created that went to series, although she had written for “Childrens Hospital” and had a previous pilot under her belt) and making a show in a time when the primary markers of success were multiple seasons and a syndication deal. When “New Girl” came to an end in 2018, it had its diehard fans, but Meriwether still worried “it would be forgotten,” in part due to glut of new television that was popping up every day.
To her delight, though, the opposite has proven to be true. “There is something special in that cast that I just think will always be special,” she says.
“The comedic chemistry between them is amazing and they just make me laugh. Those people together, there’s something that just works about it, and it’s a joy to be around no matter what.”
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