Charlotte Koh, head of content development at Hulu Originals, has departed the streaming company. The move comes just more than a week after Hulu hired seasoned TV development executive Craig Erwich. The former president of Warner Horizon was tapped as SVP and head of content March 31, tasked with leading the content and programming strategy for Hulu and Hulu Plus as one of the first major hires by new CEO Mike Hopkins. That move apparently made things more crowded with Koh, who helped launch Hulu originals like animated The Awesomes (renewed for Season 2 to air this summer), comedy The Wrong Mans and docu-series Behind The Mask. (Koh unveiled 17 original series on tap for 2014 in a January blog post.) But that push came at a time when Netflix and Amazon made major strides establishing slates of network-quality comedy and drama series, and the hiring of Erwich signaled Hulu’s intention to become a major player in those arenas. The service’s most recent original series, comedy Deadbeat starring Tyler Labine, debuted today. It centers on a man whose life revolves around helping ghosts reach the afterlife.
Hulu is making a statement in the original content arena with the hire of seasoned TV development executive Craig Erwich. Erwich, who recently exited his post as president of Warner Horizon, has been tapped as SVP and head of content to lead the content and programming strategy for Hulu and Hulu Plus. This marks one of the first major hires for new Hulu CEO Mike Hopkins, who made the announcement. “Craig is ready to hit the ground running and lead us as we increase our overall content offerings,” Hopkins said. “Craig is the perfect guy for the job — he has been developing shows and programming networks for over 20 years. He has impressed me and others who’ve met him with his collaborative approach, humility and tenacity to do what he believes.” While Hulu has had traction with some originals, including animated comedy The Awesomes, which returns for Season 2 this summer, the online service has been overshadowed by rivals Netflix and Amazon, which have established slates of network-quality comedy and drama series that, in the case of Netflix, already go toe to toe with the traditional network fare for awards consideration. Hiring an experienced TV executive like Erwich signals Hulu’s intention to become a major player in the arena and possibly expand into drama. Hulu’s next original series, comedy Deadbeat starring Tyler Labine, debuts April 9.
The 2,600 new episodes going to the streaming service in the non-exclusive arrangement will include Undercover Boss, United States Of Tara, Everybody Loves Raymond, and Ghost Whisperer, the companies just announced. Also in the package are hits from the CBS …
CBS has signed a non-exclusive content licensing agreement with Hulu Plus for Blue Bloods, the CBS TV Studios drama that earlier this week landed off-net deals with ION and WGN America. The news of an SVOD partner is the final piece of the multi-platform syndication pie for the Friday cop procedural, now in its fourth season; it’s the same model used to recently sell another CBS TV Distribution product, CBS’ Elementary. Hulu will begin offering the first four seasons of Blue Bloods beginning later this year.
Hulu will premiere its new supernatural comedy Deadbeat on April 9. Directed by Troy Miller, the series is Hulu’s first co-production with Lionsgate TV. Hulu also announced today it is re-upping teen drama East Los High for a second season and will distribute reality TV satire The Hotwives Of Orlando from Paramount Digital Entertainment. Casey Wilson, Angela Kinsey, Kristen Schaal, Tymberlee Hill, Danielle Schneider, and Andrea Savage star as six of Orlando, Florida’s hottest housewives who are ready to drink, fight, and cry, sometimes all at the same time. In addition, Hulu will release the original Scandinavian version of the drama series The Bridge, recently adapted for U.S. audiences by FX, as well as the Canadian reality-style dance drama The Next Step, acquired from BBC Worldwide North America. And the second season of Chris O’Dowd’s semi-autobiographical comedy Moone Boy will make a return in the spring.
In the second half of 2014, Hulu will release second seasons of Seth Meyers and Mike Shoemaker’s animated The Awesomes, Josh Greenbaum’s docu-series Behind The Mask and John Lehr and Nancy Hower’s Western comedy Quick Draw. Tom Hollander also returns in season three of Rev. Click over for the full lineup:
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: