PeepingMoon Exclusive: Why Netflix India abruptly cancelled its star-studded The Great Indian Kapil Show

When Kapil Sharma announced that he had found a new home for his popular comedy program, The Kapil Sharma Show, on Netflix, it seemed like a win-win for both parties. Netflix aimed to attract new audiences in India by bringing the successful television show to its platform, while Sharma received better remuneration, a larger scale, and access to global audiences. However, despite the buildup, top guests from movie and the sports industry, and an attractive airport setup, the show failed to meet expectations for both audiences and Netflix, prompting the streaming giant to abruptly terminate it.

Although Netflix and the show's team claimed that the first season was always intended to have only 13 episodes, industry insiders reveal that The Great Indian Kapil Show, has been abruptly shortened due to the show’s poor reception. Netflix was apparently dissatisfied with the ratings, which fell far short of their expectations. The strategy was to attract Kapil Sharma’s base viewers from small towns and villages to Netflix, but it did not succeed at all, according to industry sources.

The show’s failure is also evident from its performance on Netflix's non-English TV list. It made it to the top three only once in two months. The first episode, featuring Ranbir Kapoor, his mother Neetu Kapoor, and sister Riddhima Kapoor, premiered on March 30 and attracted 2.5 million views within two days, reaching the 3rd position in Netflix's weekly list. However, viewership has been declining with each episode since then. Even though a new episode releases every Saturday, it fell to 5th place in the second week, 7th in the third week, 8th in the fourth week, and 10th in the fifth week. Although it’s still trending on top in India (because of new episodes dropping every week), the overall response has been inadequate, with the show no longer featuring in Netflix’s official Top 10 “Non-English TV” weekly rankings.

“Netflix is a premium subscription service renowned for its sophisticated and superior content. Typical television serials and low-tier comedies like the Kapil Sharma show are intolerable to their consumers. On the other hand, most of Kapil’s targeted audience doesn't even use Netflix. They come from the lower and middle classes of society, who still mostly consume television for entertainment and don't have access to Netflix. The streaming platform wanted to capitalise on Kapil Sharma’s popularity to bring them to their platform, but the strategy backfired,” industry sources said.

Another reason the show didn't connect with viewers was its poor quality. While Netflix had promised to deliver a brand-new, innovative, and hilarious comedy spectacular, all they delivered was the same Sony TV show with a few minor set changes. It stuck to the same formula and didn't offer anything new, making it unnecessary for viewers to pay to Netflix in order to watch this show when hundreds of similar episodes of the show are already available for free on YouTube. “The show was not as entertaining as its TV predecessor. It was uninspired slapstick humour with no punchlines that didn't hold the attention of the audience. Netflix provided a large audience and brought in top guests, but it was Kapil and his team who failed to deliver on the promise. Had the show been entertaining, they surely would have pulled in good viewership,” the sources further added.

It is yet unknown whether The Great Indian Kapil Show will be renewed for a second season, but the first season has proven to be an underperformer, according to viewership data. The first season is estimated to have cost 4 crore per episode and 100–120 crore in total, excluding actor fees. This was Kapil Sharma’s second collaboration with Netflix after his 2022 stand-up special, I'm Not Done Yet