‘Bulls–t’: Comedian Celeste Barber reveals Netflix has dumped Wellmania
After just one season, comedian and actress Celeste Barber has announced Netflix has not renewed her comedy series, Wellmania.
In a raw Instagram post on Tuesday, Barber, 41, whose career in recent years was built on parodying swimwear supermodels on Instagram, described the industry as “kinda bulls–t”, and lashed out at Netflix.
In the eight-episode half-hour series, Barber played the lead role of food writer Liv Healy, who is forced to reassess her ways and undertake a regimented health routine after a major health scare leads to her dream job in the US being cancelled.
When the series premiered in late March, it was the No.2 most popular show on Netflix in Australia.
Barber, clearly disappointed, said the reason the streaming giant gave her for not renewing the series was simply “numbers”.
This could mean Netflix’s measuring metric of viewer minutes, or budget.
“Netflix said it’s something about numbers. Sure. I thought it smashed it but I don’t understand how it works,” she said in a social media spray on Tuesday.
“Thank you for the love and support around the show. It was so fun, we had such an excellent time and the way it was received was so overwhelming.
“I’m bummed that I can no longer explore that excellent character of Liv Healy, and I know a lot of you saw yourselves in that character and wanted to see more, but this industry is kinda bulls–t.”
“As I said though, f–k, with the state of the world it’s not the biggest thing, but I just wanted to give you an update.
“Kiss your babies, watch Friends … Maybe not on Netflix though. Maybe pull out an old DVD.”
Celeste Barber with Wellmania cast members in Sydney in March. Photo: Netflix
Wellmania, inspired by Brigid Delaney’s novel, Wellmania: Misadventures in the Search for Wellness, was commissioned by Netflix in December 2021, from Fremantle Australia.
Co-created by Benjamin Law, its cast included Genevieve Mooy, Lachlan Buchanan and JJ Fong.
The storyline follows Barber’s attempts (as Liv) to get herself on the wellness bandwagon. She tries everything from the benign to the bizarre in an attempt to get well quick, and reclaim her old life.
It was filmed in Sydney, and included iconic backdrops such as Bondi Beach and Luna Park.
The Aussie drama hit the top 10 for Netflix locally as well as globally in its first week of release on March 29.
It was the No.7 most popular English series globally, and a top 10 TV show in 38 countries on Netflix, including Canada, Britain and European nations.
It accumulating over 14.4 million hours viewed.
News of the axing drew thousands of messages of support from within the industry and from fans, urging chin up and to shop it around.
‘Take it to another streamer,” Melbourne comedian Peter Helliar urged.
NOVA FM radio host Chrissie Swann wrote: “WHAAAAAAATTTT?!?!?
US actress Sharon Stone (Basic Instinct) urged Barber to “keep going” and said she hadn’t “been renewed in decades, so who really cares?”.
Wellmania had matched other recent Australian films and shows that topped the Netflix top 10 charts that month including True Spirit, The Stranger, Heartbreak High, Surviving Summer and A Perfect Pairing.
“Onwards and upwards,” was the collective message to Barber.
Netflix confirmed to The New Daily that Wellmania “will not return for a second season”.