Reed Hastings, the co-founder and CEO of Netflix, has admitted he didn't expect many people to watch "Making a Murderer."
"I met with [writers and directors Moira Demos and Laura Ricciardi] probably about two years ago," Hastings said in a Q&A with Re/code. "I called it wrong. I thought, 'This is going to be eight or 10 hours about a murderer? I hope it wins some awards, because it’s not going to be popular.'"
Hastings added that the documentary — which has been in the Netflix pipeline even before HBO's success with "The Jinx" — is a new phenomenon for the company and has been "explosive" over the holiday season.
"Explosive" is an apt word for "Making a Murderer's" viral success. The 10-episode docuseries has gripped viewers with its tale of possible police corruption since it was released in late December.
The documentary follows Steven Avery, a Wisconsin man who was in jail for 18 years for a sexual assault he didn't commit before DNA evidence cleared his name in 2003. Two years later, Avery and his nephew Brendan Dassey were arrested in connection to the murder of 25-year-old photographer Teresa Halbach.
"Making a Murderer" focuses on the role the Manitowoc County Sheriff's Department played in Avery's arrests and whether or not Avery was framed.
The documentary has also inspired a series of petitions, including one on the White House's official petition website We The People that demanded President Barack Obama pardon Avery and Dassey. (The White House has since responded to the petition to say President Obama is unable to pardon crimes at the state level.)
But not too long ago, the idea that a 10-hour documentary would be a major success was incredulous to Hastings.
"It’s turned into this cult, amazing phenomenon," Hastings said. "So I was definitely surprised."