Netflix (NFLX 3.51%) has long resisted the traditional broadcast formula of the weekly release schedule, sticking to its roots of releasing an entire seasons' worth of episodes all at once and encouraging viewers to binge-watch the whole series.
The streaming pioneer now appears willing to at least experiment with other options. In a blog post on Tuesday, the company announced the pending release of new seasons of "two of our biggest unscripted competition series." Brandon Riegg, Netflix's VP of unscripted and documentary series, went on to reveal that company was "experimenting with the release format," forcing viewers to wait for additional episodes to be released.
The Circle challenged players to "quarantine in their individual apartments and only communicate with each other via social media," while Too Hot to Handle, offered a twist on the dating competition. In order to win, players had to keep "their hands off each other." Riegg said the distribution schedule would give viewers "time to dissect and dish on every step of the competition as it unfolds."
The two programs will premiere their new seasons on Wednesdays in April and June, respectively. The Circle will release four episodes at a time for three successive weeks, beginning April 14, before the finale on May 5. Too Hot to Handle will debut new episodes every Wednesday in June.
This isn't the first such experiment with a weekly release schedule. Netflix released episodes of The Great British Baking Show each week in the U.S. after the episodes originally aired in the U.K. It also tested a modified release schedule with Rhythm + Flow.
Walt Disney has been wildly successful using a weekly release schedule with The Mandalorian and WandaVision, which have had longer runs in the Top 10 according to data compiled by Nielsen. This likely contributed to Netflix's willingness to try a new format.