‘Suits’ Sets Season 9 Netflix Release and Announces New Podcast at ATX TV Festival Reunion Panel

“What took you so long?”

That was the general vibe of the “Suits” reunion panel Sunday afternoon, where stars Patrick J. Adams, Sarah Rafferty, Dulé Hill, Amanda Schull, and executive Jeff Wachtel gathered to discuss the legal drama that aired for nine seasons on USA Network but gained an expanded following when it hit Netflix in June 2023.

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“The people in this room know it’s hard to make TV, and it’s really hard to make good TV, let alone great TV,” Wachtel said. “But on some level, when people ask me if I was surprised [by the resurgence on Netflix], I’m like, what took you so long?”

Wachtel, who was the head of programming at USA Network when “Suits” premiered, praised the cast as well as the casting director who put them together, Bonnie Zane, who was watching from the audience.

“We knew how great this show was, and it was very successful at USA Network,” he said. “It didn’t end up in the cultural conversation in the way we thought it deserved to, and now that it’s kind of come back, it’s for a host of reasons, but mostly due to its quality.”

Wachtel also credited the sheer number of episodes “Suits” was able to produce (134 over nine seasons), as well as its extended original rollout as a weekly cable show.

“Maybe we fall in love with characters over time,” he said. “That’s one of the secret parts to its success. It’s great binging shows — especially the ones [that are only] six episodes, those can be great — but there’s just something to a show that you get to appreciate over time.”

Rafferty then asked if he thought Hollywood would “get back to that in any way” and start releasing longer seasons, over weeks and months, instead of shorter seasons that drop all at once.

“It feels like it’s going that way, just a little bit,” he said. “It’s wonderful when a new thing pops. You’re like, ‘Oh my gosh. I have to watch that new miniseries with Nicole Kidman.’ But how many miniseries can Nicole Kidman do? […] One of the strengths that TV offers that no other medium does is falling in love with something over time — experiencing characters over time. […] It would be nice to see some of that come back.”

Aside from its journey from cable to streaming, “Suits” has a long history at the ATX TV Festival. During her introduction, co-founder Caitlin McFarland said the series was the festival’s first opening night screening (back in 2012). It returned two years later and again for its final season, when there was a script reading and discussion, before its five-year reunion on Sunday.

Perhaps that helps to explain why, when asked how many audience members discovered “Suits” on USA Network or Netflix, a majority of the crowd applauded for the former, signifying they’d been watching from the start.

No matter where most audiences found it, “Suits” has been an undeniable success story for the streamer. Before the last panel of the 2024 ATX TV Festival began, Netflix announced that the final season of “Suits,” Season 9, would debut on the streaming service July 1.

Outside of Netflix, “Suits” is gearing up for its second spinoff series, “Suits: L.A.” (The first spinoff, “Pearson,” premiered in 2019 and was canceled after one season.) NBC ordered a pilot in February 2024, but no news of the series — which comes from “Suits” creator Aaron Korsh and features a new cast — was shared at the Netflix-sponsored reunion panel. (Meghan Markle, who was a series regular for the first seven seasons, also did not come up in the moderated conversation.)

In other news, Adams and Rafferty announced they’re developing a “Suits” rewatch podcast, titled “Sidebar.”

“But we’re calling it a ‘watch podcast,’ because we’ve never actually watched the series before,” Adams said.

There’s no release date yet, but Adams said, “We’re super excited, and it’ll be coming to you soon.”

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