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Why Wednesday Almost Never Made It To Netflix

The Addams Family may display an affinity for dead things, but the creators of "Wednesday" nearly suffered the miserable misfortune of watching the show they pitched die on the vine in development purgatory. While the series may have become a huge hit for Netflix in 2022, eventually becoming its second most-watched English-language series ever, the streamer nearly missed out on the party after a licensing snafu resulted in two different parties arguing over the rights to the product.

"Wednesday" series creators Alfred Gough and Miles Millar explained on "Inside of You With Michael Rosenbaum" in May 2023 that MGM — which owns the rights to the Addams Family characters — and Netflix initially failed to reach a proper production deal. MGM producer Steve Stark stepped in to finance the show's writer's room for 10 weeks, allowing them to sketch out a rough outline of what the first season would look like. The gesture was a surprising one to Gough. "We thought was crazy, we were like, "What streamer is going to buy a show that they didn't have a hand in developing?" But we're like, "If this keeps it alive, we'll do it, he admitted. This allowed Gough and Millar enough room to martial their strength for another pitching go-round, and enough room to run a virtual writer's room over Zoom to get the series done.

It took a lot of work to get Wednesday off the ground

With initial writing for "Wednesday" completed via Zoom, they tried to think of a big-name director to approach for the production and landed on Tim Burton. The only problem? Burton had never done a television series before. But the director read and loved their scripts and agreed to attach himself to the project.

With Burton putting his muscle behind the show, Netflix once again picked the series up. That led to it being greenlit in 2021, and production quickly ensued.  Unfortunately for Alfred Gough and Miles Millar, the actual process of shooting "Wednesday" wasn't smooth sailing either.

Mounting the project at the height of the COVID-19 pandemic, they had to film the show in Romania due to budget constraints. Much of the series focused on Jenna Ortega as Wednesday Addams, and when the actor came down with COVID-19 mid-production, they had to figure out shooting workarounds. Her famous dance sequence was conducted while she was ill and waiting for the results of an on-set test.

With the first season in the books and a hit, Gough said that Season 2 of "Wednesday" will ease some of the burden on Ortega and use some of the many supporting characters introduced during the show's debut season. "The goal is to widen the world," he explained. And the show's upcoming season will see how they manage to accomplish those goals.