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Media Entertainment

At Netflix, Speed is Key

TV shows have been produced the same way for decades. But in its quest to revolutionize how people watch TV, Netflix is revolutionizing how TV shows are made.

Take the popular show “Dear White People,” which debuted last year. After creator Justin Simien made his pitch about the show—based on the movie of the same name—Netflix executives ordered 10 episodes. A typical TV network would have asked Mr. Simien to first write and film a test episode, a process that usually can take as long as nine months. Instead, Mr. Simien and a team of writers were at work within a few weeks, according to multiple producers and writers who worked on the show.

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“We were told that the show had found a ‘rabid’ fan base, and that was driving the impetus to bring it back quickly.”