Can Netflix Find the Right Talk Show Formula?

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Netflix's  (NFLX) - Get Report stock is up nearly 50% year-to-date. Jim Cramer is bullish on the streaming site. But the company can't do everything -- and some say, based on a pattern of cancelations, that Netflix is falling behind in the talk show genre. 

Netflix typically does not release information about its viewership, but one way to tell what's working or not is to scrutinize what's been cut from streaming.

The ‘Patriot Act with Hasan Minhaj’ was recently canceled after 6 seasons and just 40 episodes. Another in-house show to get canceled was ‘Norm Macdonald Has a Show’, canned after just 10 episodes.

Netflix’s graveyard of talk shows includes: ‘Chelsea’, which ran for only 2 seasons, some episodes even being removed from Netflix all together, as well as ‘The Break with Michelle Wolf’, ‘The Joel McHale Show with Joel McHale’, and ‘The Fix.'

‘Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee’ is one of the few talk shows on Netflix that seems to be working, with 11 seasons and counting. With its unconventional out of studio take, it has both adventure as well as more conversational interviews. In 2017, Netflix bought it from Crackle, along with 2 Jerry Seinfeld standup specials for $100 million.

Netflix's ‘My Next Guest Needs No Introduction with David Letterman’ is currently at three seasons and is rated 81% on Rotten Tomatoes. David Letterman came to Netflix with an already-established large audience, in early 2018. The Netflix series highlights one notable person or celebrity each episode, opposed to the traditional news-related and multi-guest line up. When Netflix renewed Season 2 at the end of 2018, it ordered six more seasons.

Netflix is still trying to master the talk show genre, and viewers mostly will have to go elsewhere to find talk and topical programming for now.

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