Hulu has ordered 10 episodes of docu-series Behind The Mask, a behind-the-scenes look into the world of sports mascots. Season 2 will introduce three new characters at the high school, college and professional levels. There are four episodes left in Season 1 with the season finale set for December 17. Behind The Mask will be directed by Josh Greenbaum (The Short Game) and executive produced by Occupant Entertainment partners Felipe Marino and Joe Neurauter along with Occupant exec Kate Sharp. It is slated to premiere on Hulu and Hulu Plus in 2014.
EXCLUSIVE: Hulu and Hulu Plus are getting an infusion of fan-favorite horror titles just in time for Halloween. Fangoria magazine and its distribution partner Brainstorm Media have teamed with Hulu on a new genre channel at …
Listen to (and share) episode 55 of our audio podcast Deadline Big Media With David Lieberman. In this special edition of the podcast, Deadline’s executive business editor talks with Harvard Business School Professor Anita Elberse about her new book, Blockbusters: Hitmaking, Risktaking And The Big Business Of Entertainment, and what it means for making movies in Hollywood these days. David also talks with host David Bloom about how much longer the big bull run for media stocks can continue; a sudden hiccup in the confirmation of a new FCC chairman; and where Hulu might be headed under its just-named CEO as it considers taking on Netflix.
The new Hulu CEO is best known for his years crafting carriage deals for Fox cable channels including FX and, more recently, Fox Sports 1. That suggests a change in strategy — a shift in focus from producing content to expanding distribution — for the streaming service controlled by Fox, Disney and Comcast. Mike Hopkins replaces Andy Forssell, the former SVP Content who championed original programming including The Awesomes after he replaced Jason Kilar on an interim basis beginning in March — and now is leaving Hulu. Hopkins “has a strong understanding of programming, digital distribution and consumer behavior, and a great vision for Hulu’s next chapter,” says Disney/ABC Television Group President Anne Sweeney. Hulu’s fate was in doubt early this year. The owners entertained bids for it before deciding in July to keep it, and supply $750M to accelerate its growth. Many believe that backers will invest even more to turn it into a full-fledged competitor to Netflix, especially as recent shows from broadcast and pay TV services begin to appear on cable and satellite TV Everywhere streaming platforms. Liberty Media’s John Malone raised that possibility last week. And last month Disney CEO Bob Iger said that Netflix hadn’t yet cornered the streaming video market, presumably leaving room for Hulu. Here’s today’s release from Hulu:
Holding on to Hulu and moving forward was all about relationships said Chase Carey today. “I think it is really a case where we’ve always known the importance of these digital platforms and the opportunity specifically in Hulu. I think the real question is partnerships are complicated and can we get the right strategy that we both believe we can execute to be successful,” said the 21st Century Fox COO Tuesday about working with co-owners Disney and Comcast. Carey was speaking on a conference call Tuesday after the company released its Q4 results. He was joined by Deputy COO James Murdoch and CFO John Nallen. “As we went through this process we really found that of all the constituencies coalesced around a vision of how to really build this and how it can be something exciting for content owners and something exciting for the digital marketplace,” he added. After weeks of speculation that Hulu would be sold, 21st Century Fox, Disney and Comcast announced on July 12 that they would keep the company and supply $750 million to push it’s growth.
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.
Saturday Night Live head writer Seth Meyers came to TCA Summer TV Press Tour 2013 this morning to plug Hulu’s first original animated comedy The Awesomes, which he co-created with Late Night With Jimmy Fallon EP Michael Shoemaker. The new series, produced by Lorne Michaels’ Broadway Video, is about the greatest superhero team in history — after its A-listers bail and it has to re-staff with reject superheroes. You’ll recognize voices of SNL cast and alums including Kenan Thompson, Bill Hader, Emily Spivey, Bobby Moynihan, Taran Killam, Rachel Dratch, and Paula Pell. Meyers, who will remain on SNL through the fall season (Fallon’s scheduled to replace Jay Leno on Tonight Show following the Winter Olympics in February) was asked how he’s juggling three gigs. “We’re in the very early stages on Late Night. More than anything else we’re staffing — we know how important it is to put together a strong staff of writers. I’ll go back to SNL in the fall and work there up until Late Night [debuts]. The nice thing about The Awesomes is that we’re pretty much through with the work on it, thankfully, because there’s going to be less and less time.”
The companies couldn’t agree on a price, Reuters reports citing information from “two people with knowledge of the negotiations.” While they could always return to the bargaining table, there are no plans to do so. The break down …
Listen to (and share) episode 43 of our audio podcast Deadline Big Media With David Lieberman. Deadline’s executive editor talks with host David Bloom about the big Hulu non-sale announcement; Tribune’s next step out of bankruptcy; drooping broadcast ad prices; the Apple e-book loss; and Viacom bear changes his rating, but with a big caveat.
UPDATE: News Corp chairman Rupert Murdoch and Disney CEO Bob Iger continue to express confidence in their decision, along with Comcast, to hold on to Hulu. “I think it’s a hell of a good business – or it can be,” Murdoch told our sister pub Variety today …