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Hulu saves 'The Mindy Project'

Mindy Kaling, creator and star of “The Mindy Project.”
Mindy Kaling, creator and star of “The Mindy Project.”Evan Agostini/Invision/AP

After a week of speculation among diehard fans of ‘‘The Mindy Project,’’ the cult-favorite Fox sitcom created by actress/writer Mindy Kaling, the news is official: The show has been picked up by Hulu for a fourth season.

The online streaming behemoth confirmed that 26 episodes will air, with the option to order subsequent seasons at a later time. The move makes complete sense: The show had such low ratings that Fox couldn’t realistically continue it on broadcast TV. At the same time, many young viewers regularly watch the show online anyway, and Hulu (owned by NBC Universal, which produces ‘‘The Mindy Project") already had a deal in place to air its previous seasons.


Now, viewers will get answers to the cliffhangers about central couple Mindy and Danny, the dysfunctional doctors who found true love but also plenty of drama, including Mindy’s unexpected pregnancy last season.

Anyway, this is starting to feel like a familiar pattern: A cult favorite show is saved by a streaming service, and there’s celebration all around. But how does it actually affect a show? Let’s look back at what history teaches us about similar situations — it’s not all good news.

- Show: ‘‘Arrested Development’’

Original network: Fox

Seasons on TV: 3

Who picked it up: Netflix

Was there hype? You could say that — the Internet exploded with the news in 2011 that the beloved and weird Bluth family was coming back. There was even more anticipation leading up to to the May 26, 2013 premiere of all 13 new episodes.

Did it live up to the hype? Probably not exactly how Netflix hoped. Many fans were thrilled and devoured the episodes as soon as it was released. But at the same time, reviews weren’t great. Lots of critics were disappointed, and headlines filled the Internet including ‘‘Why ‘Arrested Development's’ fourth season is a bust’’ and ‘‘How to deal with ‘Arrested’ disappointment.’’ Forbes reported that Netflix stock dropped after the negative reviews.


The aftermath: Jason Bateman got nominations for lead actor in the comedy at the Emmy Awards, Golden Globes and SAG Awards; the show also landed a nod for best ensemble comedy at the SAG Awards. Otherwise, it was fairly quiet on the awards front.

Will it return again? Producer Brian Grazer claimed last month that 17 more episodes were planned, but was scarce on the details of how or where. No word since.

- Show: ‘‘Community’’

Original network: NBC

Seasons on TV: 5

Who picked it up: Yahoo!

Was there hype? Yes, mostly the shock of how the show can never die: The low-rated, critical favorite quirky community college ensemble (originally led by Joel McHale, Chevy Chase, Donald Glover and more) escaped cancellation every year since it premiered.

Did it live up to the hype? Not quite: It’s been very quiet ever since its March 17 premiere. In fact, for a show so loved by online culture, it’s surprising how little chatter there is. In a story called ‘‘Why No One On the Internet Is Talking About the Internet’s Favorite Show Anymore,’’ Uproxx theorized that binge-watchers view the show on their own timetable, so the whole ‘‘shared experience’’ aspect is gone: The Internet can’t be abuzz the day after an episode airs about the crazy things that happened.

The aftermath: Surprisingly little drama especially considering showrunner Dan Harmon couldn’t fight with NBC anymore, and Chevy Chase was gone.


Will it return again? No news yet, though Harmon says he’s not assuming Season 6 is the end.

- Show: ‘‘The Killing’’

Original network: AMC

Seasons on TV: 3

Who picked it up: Netflix

Was there hype? It did make a decent amount of headlines. But by the time Netflix announced a fourth and final season of six episodes, people seemed a little tired of ‘‘The Killing’’ drama — first after the much-hated first season finale, and then the back-and-forth of whether AMC would even pick it up for a third season.

Was it worth the hype? It was a nice way to tie up the series for extremely loyal viewers, though some weren’t too pleased with how it ended.

The aftermath: It may have given Netflix the fuel it needed to also rescue ‘‘Longmire,’’ a canceled A&E show with a passionate fanbase.