Sara Bareilles, Busy Philipps on ‘Girls5eva’s New Life at Netflix: “We Felt So Overjoyed”

Girls5eva has been picked up by Netflix for season three, in a move that its stars and creator are viewing as a chance to find new audiences and continue telling the story of the revived pop group.

“It’s a relief. I’m so grateful,” said Sara Bareilles, one of the stars of the musical comedy, “We had so much fun making the season and getting to move platforms and broaden our audience, getting a chance to continue the story of these women. When we left it at season two, we were all sort of living in the question of ‘Are we going to get to be with them again?’ and we just had such a beautiful experience making the show.”

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At the New York premiere, which was held at Netflix’s Paris Theater Thursday evening, Bareilles and co-stars Busy Philipps, Renée Elise Goldsberry and Paula Pell, as well as executive producers Meredith Scardino, Tina Fey and Jeff Richmond, celebrated the return of the show, which was picked up at Netflix for season three, after the first two seasons had premiered on the NBC-backed streamer Peacock.

For a while, the landing place for season three remained unknown, even to cast members.

“I never got the call that the show was canceled. None of us did, actually. and it was more just like ‘It’s up in the air. We don’t know what’s happening with Peacock. However, there’s this other thing that might happen.’ And so then when he heard ‘This other thing is definitely happening. We’re going to Netflix for a third season, and maybe more if it’s successful,’ we felt so overjoyed,” Philipps said.

The timing has worked out, Philipps added, given that the third season finished filming on the day of the writer’s strike. And even though the cast and crew had to wait to finish the show, due to the strike, she notes that it’s now premiering on Netflix during Women’s History Month.

As part of the deal, Netflix will also stream Girls5eva’s first two seasons, which will also continue to live on Peacock. The third season premieres on Netflix on March 14.

Meredith Scardino, creator and executive producer of the show, said she was thrilled with the return to Netflix, given the prior relationships she’d built there while working as a writer on Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt. Her fellow Girls5eva executive producers, Fey, Richmond and Robert Carlock, also had longstanding ties with the streamer.

The new platform gives the comedy a bigger platform, and the potential to reach new audience members, but Scardino said that Netflix did not advise any changes in their approach to the show.

“It’s funny, because I feel like when they bought the show, that was sort of their stamp to be like, ‘We already love what you guys are doing. And let’s let you make the next chapter as you see it.’ So we really just let the next chapter of the show unfold,” Scardino said. “I mean, there’s a couple inside baseball Netflix jokes here and there, but honestly, people were making those before anyway because they’re such a part of culture.”

And in a way, Pell notes that the real-life events are mirroring what happens in the show.

“We just know that there’s more life in it,” Pell said. “So we were thrilled to kind of imitate what’s going on in the show of them having this comeback, to have a comeback on Netflix.”

In the third season — which Philipps says has been her favorite because the four cast members are in almost all of the scenes together — Bareilles also pens a new song, “The Medium Time,” which appears in the final episode of the season and captures the feeling of “embracing where you are, and not fixating on what you don’t have, but what you do,” she said.

This season follows the pop group as they embark on a national tour they hope will catapult them to stardom. But, befitting the musical comedy, that dream hits some speed bumps, including the interference of Republican lawmakers, fears of being permanently stuck in Fort Worth, Tex. and negative tabloid attention involving an alleged crime.

As for whether this is true to what life is actually like as a pop star, Bareilles, says it’s given her some perspective.

“It’s very different, and it reminds me sometimes why I wanted to be a solo artist, because I don’t like making decisions together. I like being in charge of absolutely everything,” Bareilles said, laughing. “But it’s good for me. I learned it’s like ‘No, we’re a democracy here. We need to be making decisions together.’ But it’s really cute because sometimes I feel like my little heart races and I’m like, but ‘I just want to do it my way!’ It feeds your anxiety. [Dawn and I] share a lot of that.”

“What it actually feels like is I’m getting this chance to relive a sliding door moment in my life, not that there was a paved road towards this, but when I was a developing artist who was making big choices about, ‘What are you reaching towards? And I really was very clear, I wanted to be a songwriter and a solo songwriter, and I didn’t want to be in a band, but I love pop music. I’ve always loved pop group music. So I get to feel like I live out this fantasy I had, and I get to do it in wild costumes and with nostalgia,” she added.

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