(Updates with Showtime, IFC interested in airing new season.)
There is going to be an "Arrested Development" movie, and, better yet, it's going to be preceded by a short season of new "AD" episodes.
IFC and Showtime are among the networks interested in the new season, sources told TheWrap Monday. The series was canceled by Fox in 2006 after three seasons.
The short season and movie were confirmed Sunday by series co-creator and executive producer Mitch Hurwitz and the "Arrested Development" cast, who gathered in New York City Sunday for the "Bluth Family Reunion," a New Yorker Festival cast panel and Q&A session.
And before fans even had the chance to ask the one question every Bluth lover wants to know, Hurwitz spilled the goods about the movie, which will follow a string of nine or 10 new episodes of the show, with each episode planned to catch viewers up on what individual characters have been up to.
Hook-handed Buster Bluth (Tony Hale), for instance, might be working with people in a lab. Or rather, people in a lab might be working on him, as the subject of many experiments.
Fox declined to comment Sunday. In addition to Showtime and IFC's interest, it has been widely reported that Netflix might want to host the show's revival. Showtime entertainment president David Nevins is a former executive producer of the show, and IFC airs repeats of it.
Hurwitz, who told the audience he has about half of the "AD" movie script written, says the limited-run TV series would serve to "build the peril in (the characters') lives until they come together in the first scene of the movie."
Hurwitz, surrounded by Jason Bateman, Michael Cera, Will Arnett, Portia de Rossi, Tony Hale, David Cross, Jessica Walter, Jeffrey Tambor and Alia Shawkat, as well as special call-in guest, "AD" narrator Ron Howard, also 'fessed up to planting false rumors to throw fans off the trail of the long-awaited "AD" flick.
In the long saga of the TV show's journey to the big screen, one reported hold up was that Cera, one of the show's big breakout stars, wanted more money to return for a movie.
Hurwitz: Nah. We made that up.
"We're all game (for the movie)," Hurwitz said. "We've hated being coy, but we were working on this ambitious idea."
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Aside from the basic framework of the new episodes leading to the movie, and that tidbit about Buster, Hurwitz offered one more hint about the "AD" movie.
"I will give you this spoiler alert (about the Bluths): They fuck everything up."
Running on Fox for three seasons from 2003 – 2006, "Arrested Development" received six Emmy Awards and plenty of critical acclaim, but it could never establish a broad audience — it topped out at about 6 million viewers in its third season.
Neither Fox's TV studio or broadcast network arm have confirmed the movie and TV series projects, though Imagine Entertainment did have a representative at the event: Ron Howard is the Imagine co-founder, and was on the phone and listened in while Hurwitz made the day of every "AD" fan with his TV and movie announcement.
There is no network yet attached for the TV episodes, and no definite time frame yet for the new episodes or movie, though Bateman tweeted after the event that early in 2013 is a possible release date for both.
The reunion, which cast members said was the first time they've all been together in one place since the 2006 series wrap party, ended as any Bluth-related celebration should: With the cast leaving their chairs to do a little chicken dance.