In a surprise move for a popular, currently airing network series, Nickelodeon is pulling The Legend Of Korra from it’s regular network slot, and finishing out Book Three of the series on the Internet. The Terror Within, which aired Friday, will be the last of the series that will air on Nickelodeon. Beginning with The Stakeout, the series will be available on various Internet streaming sources including Amazon, Google Play, Xbox Video and Hulu as well as the Nickelodeon site and apps.
Thus far, The Legend Of Korra has run 34 episodes in three “books”, with the remaining five episodes delegated to digital release. There is a fourth season- or “Book” currently in production. The series as a whole is a sequel to Avatar: The Last Airbender which aired on Nickelodeon from 2005 to 2008.
The Legend Of Korra has seen a tremendous fall-off in viewers since it’s first season. Book One: Air typically saw 4 million viewers per episode. Book Two: Spirits saw that number fall off to between 2 and 2 and a half million viewers per episode. The current season is barely hitting one million viewers per show. While not explicitly expressed by Nickelodeon, the shift to digital distribution is probably due to the fall-off in viewership.
This rather unprecedented programming move surprised even the show’s creators. Korra co-creator Michael Dante DiMartino commented on his Facebook page: “This was a disappointing development for sure but as long as you all are able to see the show in some capacity, I’m grateful.”
Co-creators Bryan Konietzko and Michael DiMartino began a panel at Comic Con yesterday by attacking the news head on. Konietzko said
It’s no secret that Avatar, especially Korra, is not typical Nickelodeon fare. And so they’ve had kind of a hard time fitting it into their programming. But basically the Book 2 finale, the numbers were insane when they streamed it, when it went on Nick.com. It was the biggest event they had that year. And that show, digital downloads for that season was amazing. And, as you’ve seen, not so much on the channel. So it’s just part of this shift over.
It definitely caught us by surprise and it wasn’t necessarily done in the smoothest way and that was upsetting to many of you and us as well.
So, we’re moving over to digital. It’s actually a plan that was in place earlier and it changed course and then went back in a bit of a messy way. But thanks for sticking with us.