2023 has been a turbulent year for all of Hollywood and Netflix is no different. One trend that’s back in full force is licensing with some huge shows from yesteryear and more recently joining Netflix that don’t sport the Netflix Original logo.
For years, Netflix was home to some of the biggest shows in the world from other providers. We’re talking about the majority of output from ABC, NBC, AMC, Showtime, and others. Of course, that all changed as we progressed through the 2010s as companies began deciding that giving away their big shows wasn’t worth the cost of admission. Or, as Bob Iger famously put it: “We’re basically selling nuclear weapons technology to a Third World country.”
Of course, those mantras of keeping everything for yourself have begun to reverse over the past year or so. Whether that’s from pressures to reach profitability on their own streaming services that are struggling for growth or difficult balance sheets, there’s an incentive for companies to begin the process of licensing again. It’s not quite at the level it was years ago, but it doesn’t need to be.
From Netflix’s point of view, it needs the eyeballs, and throughout much of this year, there’s been a major strike, and come next year, it’ll begin running out of its own US-produced series.
Will this trend continue post-strike? We’ll have to see.
This list is specifically for those in the United States, as Netflix licenses TV shows per region. With that said, international licensing has stepped up, too. Some regions saw the return of Hannibal, more regions have licensed Young Sheldon, and some are even getting Preacher in the coming weeks.
Enough with the context – here are our picks of the best-licensed series added (or re-added) to Netflix over the past nine months.
The Mindy Project
Owner of the Show: Universal Television
Added to Netflix: January 1st, 2023
Seasons/Episodes: 6 seasons / 117 episodes
Running between 2012 and 2017, this Mindy Kaling comedy series kicked off the year of licensing on Netflix. The romantic comedy saw Kaling play a obstetrician/gynecologist juggling her personal and stressful professional life in New
What makes this license to Netflix even more funny is the fact the final season of the show was revived at Hulu and was dubbed a Hulu Original. Who would’ve thought that a Hulu show would drop on Netflix US just a few years ago!?
Owner of the Show: Universal Content Productions
Added to Netflix: June 17th, 2023
Seasons / Episodes: 8 seasons / 124 episodes
The licensed show you probably heard most about over the summer was no doubt Suits. It made waves after completely dominating Nielsen charts for weeks (and still features even at the time of publishing), pulling in billions of minutes watched in the US alone each week.
The show, originally running on USA Network, depicted a law firm and the new wunderkind joining the firm with a photographic memory but notably missing his law degree.
There are numerous reasons why Netflix knew it’d do well on the service; after all, it already has carried the global rights for the show outside the US for years now. Add the royal factor (it stars Meghan Markle) and the fact there are a lot of addictive episodes to dig through, and you’ve got a winner.
Netflix notably didn’t manage to pick up the ninth season, however, with that season still exclusive to Amazon. The entire season also continues to stream on Peacock.
Band of Brothers
Owner of the Show: HBO / Warner Bros. Television
Added to Netflix: September 15th, 2023
One network we didn’t mention above in the list of companies that used to license to Netflix was HBO, and there’s a good reason for that. Beyond a short deal with Prime Video, HBO stuck to its guns and never licensed to anyone. That’s why the addition of a slew of HBO shows over the summer (and more to come) in the US and abroad was so gobsmacking.
We’re picking out Band of Brothers not only because it’s one of the best pieces of art depicting the events of World War II but also because it demonstrates why HBO wanted to keep its content to itself. It’s premium. It’s not TV. It’s HBO.
Owner of the Show: Universal Television
Added to Netflix: January 1st, February 1st, September 20th
Seasons/Episodes: 5 seasons, 89 episodes
When it comes to medical dramas, for whatever reason Netflix has never moved into the genre. Sure, it’s got some excellent documentaries on hospitals and those in the profession, but it doesn’t have any scripted medical dramas and, for the most part, has been reliant on annual drops of Grey’s Anatomy that it still carries from an old legacy deal with ABC.
That’s changed in 2023 with three drops of seasons of the NBC medical drama on the platform throughout the year with the final season arriving on September 20th.
The medical drama follows the life and work of Dr. Max Goodwin as he becomes the medical director of one of the oldest public hospitals in the United States.
Owner of the Show: Sony Pictures Television (airs on CBS)
Added to Netflix: May 17th, September 1st
Seasons/Episodes: 6 seasons, 128 episodes
Set in the shared universe of FX’s The Shield and based on the 2003 movie, this excellent police procedural has also performed well in the various Nielsen charts since its initial arrival.
In the month the show got added to Netflix, the seventh season got canceled and then uncanceled within the space of a week. It’s unclear whether that seventh season will come to the service.
Netflix has a connection to S.W.A.T. in the form of the creator of the show, Shawn Ryan, who developed The Night Agent exclusively for Netflix.
Owner of the Show: Cartoon Network
Added to Netflix: April 4th
Seasons: 2 seasons
For the first time in years, several Cartoon Network shows returned to Netflix. Others included Justice League, Scooby Doo, Ben 10, and The Batman.
Created by Craig McCracken, who in recent years developed Kid Cosmic for Netflix, followed three kindergarten girls with superpowers fighting against Mojo Jojo and other villains.
Owner of the Show: 20th Century Fox Television / Fox
Added to Netflix: June 1st
Seasons / Episodes: 2 seasons and 37 episodes
20th Century Television, following their acquisition by Disney, mostly shut off the licensing taps (and even stopped producing Original content) but that’s slowly been changing in recent years, with The Mick being one of their lesser-known titles that dropped on Netflix.
Sadly canceled after two seasons that ran in 2017 and 2018, The Mick was about a a tough, foul-mouthed woman, finding herself out of her depth when looking after his more affluent sister’s spoiled kids.
Owner of the Show: ABC Studios
Added to Netflix: August 1st
Seasons / Episodes: 4 seasons / 85 episodes
Our final pick is the most recent addition to the Netflix library of the big new licensed titles. We’re referring to the US version of Yo soy Betty, la fea about a young woman who, despite not conforming to traditional beauty standards, finds success in the world of high fashion and media while navigating the challenges of her unconventional appearance.
In this instance, Netflix had streamed Ugly Betty many years prior (it departed eight years ago in 2015) and its re-addition didn’t really make any impact in the top 10s but it’s still a good series worthy of a rewatch of a spin for the first time.
What licensed show have you been watching on Netflix this year? Let us know in the comments down below.