YouTube Red Renews Cobra Kai for Season 2, Just a Week After Its Debut

The Karate Kid revival series will return in 2019

William Zabka, along with Ralph Macchio, will return to Season 2 of Cobra Kai, which will air next year. YouTube Red
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YouTube Red had hoped that Cobra Kai, its new Karate Kid revival series, would become its own version of House of Cards, so it’s not surprising that the streaming service has renewed the show for Season 2, just one week after its debut.

Production will begin this fall on Season 2 of the series—which stars Ralph Macchio, who played LaRusso in three Karate Kid films, and William Zabka, who portrayed his nemesis Johnny Lawrence in two movies—which will air on YouTube Red next year.

In its announcement, YouTube said Cobra Kai’s first episode has generated more than 20 million views since it premiered last Wednesday (which is different from the average-viewer-per-minute metrics used by Nielsen for linear and digital ratings). The first two episodes were available for all YouTube users to watch for free; the rest require a subscription to YouTube Red, which costs $10 per month and offers ad-free access to YouTube videos, YouTube Red originals and audio platforms YouTube Music and Google Play Music.

The series premiered one day before YouTube’s annual Brandcast extravaganza at the NewFronts, during which the company attempted to put its brand-safety issues behind it and dazzle buyers with new shows and advertising options.

During last week’s cover story about the series, Susanne Daniels, YouTube’s global head of original content, said that tracking on the series had been “really strong” ahead of last Wednesday’s premiere and she would “absolutely” order a second season quickly if the response to the series matches its prelaunch excitement.

Creators Hayden Schlossberg, Jon Hurwitz and Josh Heald told Adweek they were ready for more episodes, having ended Season 1 with a surprise twist that “was in our original pitch,” said Heald. “We always knew the season was going to end where it does, and we’ve always had an idea of where it’s going after that. We weren’t just jumping off into the great unknown.”

One eagerly anticipated moment that has yet to appear in the series: a Daniel-Johnny rematch. “Everyone’s asking, ‘When are they going to fight?’ Which we call the Ross and Rachel of our show,” said Macchio, referring to the on-again, off-again Friends couple. “You’ve got to keep that out there, but you can’t have them fight too soon. Or it might be a short series!”

As part of its marketing campaign for the series, YouTube added Karate Kid Easter eggs to its Cobra Kai page and teamed with Thinkmodo for a Cobra Kai-themed viral stunt, which created a bully’s worst nightmare.

@jasonlynch Jason Lynch is TV/Media Editor at Adweek, overseeing trends, technology, personalities and programming across broadcast, cable and streaming video.