Hulu came to the press tour today to preach New Model and show off some of its new programming. TV critics showed up in dribs and drabs. Those who came stuck around until the final session — but that’s only because it included Seth Meyers and they wanted to ask him about — NBC’s Saturday Night Live. This morning, Hulu was pitching:
*The Wrong Mans – a comedy/thriller from James Corden and Matthew Baynton about two lowly office workers who become caught in a deadly criminal conspiracy when one of them finds a ringing cell phone at the scene of a horrific car crash.
*Behind The Mask – a documentary about sports mascots.
*Quickdraw — a half hour Western/CSI spoof about a Harvard-educated sheriff trying to introduce the emerging science of forensics to an unruly Kansas town in the late 19th century.
And, of course, Meyers as the force behind Hulu’s first animated original series, The Awesomes about the greatest superhero team in history, whose A-listers take a powder, leaving the only remaining original member, Professor Doctor Awesome (Meyers) to re-populate the team with superhero rejects. Meyersl Q&A drew a decent-sized crowd – but a fraction of the media mob that’ll be in the Beverly Hilton hotel ballroom tomorrow to hear Simon Cowell explain how THIS time he’s got it right re the judge panel on his flailing singing competition series The X Factor. Kicking off this morning’s sessions, Hulu acting CEO Andy Forssell read from another chapter of his “we’re really not a network, we’re not a studio, we are a distributor at heart” playbook. This session’s chapters: “We’re The Treasure Hunting Distributors,” and “Man I Cannot Believe This Show Has Not Been On Traditional TV.” Critics listened while jotting down notes for “The Future of Television” blog posts.
In 2012, Forssell noted, Hulu premiered at least 20 titles — all of them either commissioned originals or exclusive acquisitions — which, he acknowledged, quacked a little like a network. Using all the data they collected from those of us who watched those shows — “data we have to help someone find a show that they probably should have seen, but they haven’t” — they’ve come up with their latest crop of originals and exclusive buys. On Hulu, Forssell said, it doesn’t matter if a show doesn’t “fit,” because, “we will quickly see what users like it, who doesn’t like it, what the patterns are of shows they watch, and help get it to the right people quickly,” he said. On printed material for Quickdraw for example, Hulu noted it’s “For fans of: The League, Reno 911, Veep. Behind The Mask, being a documentary, is “for fans of Hard Knocks, Hoop Dreams, Project Greenlight.