‘White Collar’ Is Riding the ‘Suits’ Coattails

Former USA Network drama “White Collar” was a basic-cable relic before it was added to the Netflix library on April 1, 2024. But like “Suits” before it, another USA drama that found new life when it wound up on Netflix, “White Collar” has since turned up on Nielsen’s Top 10 Streaming Overall (original and acquired series) list — twice.

“White Collar,” a Fox-produced show, has been on Hulu (because Disney’s Fox acquisition closed in 2019) since December 2018. But until Netflix nabbed the co-exclusive rights this spring, the series had never been a factor in streaming. The show, which ran from 2009-2014 on USA Network, was pretty much an afterthought. Just like “Suits.”

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But now, like “Suits,” “White Collar” is getting a sequel series.

“We’re gonna reboot. I’m writing the script,” series creator Jeff Eastin said at Variety’s TV FYC Fest. “It’s the original cast.”

So that includes Eastin’s fellow panelists Matt Bomer, Tim Dekay, and Tiffany Thiessen, at the very least. It is also not quite a quote-unquote reboot if the original characters and cast are coming back, but that’s a small point.

“It’s a fantastic script and it answers all the questions that one would have if you watch the show,” DeKay said, adding that “it would introduce the show to those who haven’t seen it as well.”

Eastin knows not the bite the hand that has fed him more “White Collar,” acknowledging that a revival probably wouldn’t have happened if not for “Suits.”

“But say thank you to ‘Suits’ for starting this streaming trend,” Eastin said. “They were doing great, and got people watching ‘White Collar’ now on Netflix. That’s doing really, really good. Off of that, it’s like, ‘Hey, let’s do another one.’”

“Suits” ran from 2011 to 2019. You can just hear the creators of “Royal Pains,” another USA drama of the era, firing up Final Draft as you read this.

One original “White Collar” cast member who will be there for the new version in spirit only is Willie Garson, who played Mozzie and died in September 2021. But he will be there.

“It honors Willie, too, in a profound way,” DeKay continued.

“With such sensitivity and such heart,” Thiessen added. “I told Jeff after I finished it, I literally was so excited, but at the same time had tears in my eyes — for good reason. You captured the suspense, the thrill, the characters, and the love in that reboot.”

Oh do go on, Eastin said, basically.

Eastin then said he personally — and purposely — never fully closed the book on his series.

“If you get to the finale, with Neal (Bomer) walking in Paris, that was always the setup,” Eastin said. “I always left it open, and as the years passed, it seemed more like a distant hope.”

“Suits” set a record last summer by claiming the number 1 spot on Nielsen’s streaming list for 12 straight weeks. All told, it has appeared on the list 31 times — 15 of those at number 1 — and that was before Netflix even obtained the rights to stream the show’s final season. “Suits” is on both Netflix and Peacock, but like “White Collar,” Netflix’s viewership is the only material data point here. (Netflix has nearly 270 million subscribers, Hulu has 50 million, and Peacock has 34 million.)

Should the new “White Collar” be picked up, the rights will belong to Disney, which means it could play on ABC and/or Hulu; Disney+ and FX feel less likely. Or Disney may elect to license it to Netflix as an exclusive or co-exclusive — if Netflix wants it. Netflix passed on “Suits LA” as an original series.

No worries, Netflix will probably end up with both of the spinoffs — and blow them up — in long-tail syndication.

Watch the “White Collar” announcement during the below portion of the Variety TV FYC Fest panel:

To casual TV viewers, Google Images, and set design/wardrobe departments, “White Collar” and “Suits” are effectively the same show. As a matter of fact, the two series did literally use some of the same offices and office furniture, and there are multiple fan-fiction websites dead set on a crossover that never happened. Plot-wise, however, they are different (enough). “Suits” follows a top Manhattan corporate law firm and “White Collar” is about a criminal who flips to help the FBI solve financial crimes…in Manhattan.

The new “Suits,” “Suits LA,” is written by the OG series’ creator Aaron Korsh; several of the original EPs are also returning for the new legal drama. “Suits LA” will focus on new characters, led by Stephen Amell’s Ted Black, though the possibility is open for original characters to return. And yes, that includes Meghan Markle, in theory — but don’t hold your breath.

“Suits LA” will air on NBC, and thus stream next-day on Peacock.

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