Netflix adds Lilyhammer to lineup

Finding itself a victim of its own success in the online streaming business, Netflix will continue to do battle with stingy content providers by funding original productions. In fact, Ted Sarandos, Chief Content Officer of Netflix sat down with Mike Lang at MIPCOM in Cannes this week to announce that Netflix will be adding the Norway-produced TV show Lilyhammer to its original programming line-up.

Lilyhammer, which will make its debut on Netflix in early 2012, stars Stevie Van Zandt as a former mafioso who gives up his former mob boss in exchange for relocation to Lillehammer, Norway under the disguise of the witness protection program. Sopranos fans will remember Van Zandt as the Bada Bong strip club manager and mobster Silvio Dante in HBO's The Sopranos. You can watch a brief, albeit very funny and entertaining, trailer of the show below. By the way, this looks very promising with healthy amounts of dark mob danger mixed with bits of that loved Silvio sardonic humor. Count us in on anything with "Silvio," especially if it involves the death of an untrained ski jumper from the 80 meter Olympic ski jump platform.

Citing that a growing number of Netflix members are turning their viewing habits away from movies and more towards television, Sarandos says Netflix will acquire all eight episodes of Lilyhammer's first and second seasons. Of course, this announcement follows a similar agreement from earlier this year that Netflix will have the exclusive broadcast rights to House of Cards, a David Fincher produced political thriller that will star Kevin Spacey and Robin Wright.

Also, though not officially announced, it is being reported that Netflix and Hulu are in a bidding war for exclusive distribution rights of a new season (10 episodes) of Arrested Development that will lead in to a feature film that continues the misadventures of the dysfunctional Bluth family.

This announcement comes at a good time for Netflix as the company has been battling a public relations nightmare it brought upon itself related to the handling of word that it would soon separate the DVD-by-mail portion of its business from the online digital streaming segment. About a million customers angered by the move are expected to drop the service, but Sarandos says it's still the right move, "as we become a global brand, and a streaming global brand, the DVD-by-mail business is strictly U.S. and domestic."