September 17, 2014 / 1:38 PM / 4 years ago

As it moves into Europe, Netflix orders Judd Apatow comedy series 'Love'

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - Netflix on Tuesday said it has ordered two seasons of a romance comedy by Hollywood hitmaker Judd Apatow as the online streaming service ramps up its original programming while it expands into France and Germany.

Distinguished Collaborator Service Honoree Judd Apatow arrives for the 16th Costume Designers Guild Awards in Beverly Hills, California February 22, 2014. REUTERS/Kevork Djansezian

“Love,” which will star American actors Paul Rust and Gillian Jacobs, is scheduled to debut in 2016 and will be licensed globally, the network said. It will have 10 episodes per season.

Netflix Inc has made a major push into original programming to compete with cable TV for viewers, launching political thriller “House of Cards” and jailhouse tale “Orange Is the New Black” in the past two years .

“Love” is billed as an “unflinching” send-up of modern relationships as it follows Gus (Rust) and Mickey (Jacobs).

Apatow, the filmmaker and producer behind gross-out romantic comedies such as “Knocked Up” and “This Is 40,” will produce the series as well as Lesley Arfin and Rust.

“Judd Apatow has a unique comedic voice that manages to be delightful, insightful, and shockingly frank - often at the same time,” Netflix Chief Content Officer Ted Sarandos said in a statement.

“Together with Paul and Lesley, he’s bringing a whole new level of agony and ecstasy to this modern day comedy of manners,” Sarandos added.

Netflix, which started as a movie rental and online streaming platform, has been able to attract top Hollywood talent like Oscar-winner Kevin Spacey and capitalize on binge-viewing habits by releasing an entire TV season at once.

The company has expanded into Europe’s biggest markets, with France on Monday and Germany on Tuesday. It will launch in Austria, Switzerland and Belgium by the end of the week.

Netflix, which is also available in much of North and South America as well as Great Britain, Ireland and Nordic countries, will expand its potential market to 180 million homes.

Reporting by Eric Kelsey; Editing by Piya Sinha-Roy and Cynthia Osterman

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