Why Hulu Programming Chief Is OK Sharing Classic Content Like ‘SVU’ With Rival Streamers

TCA 2020: Craig Erwich says exclusivity is more important with their originals like “Handmaid’s Tale”

Hulu is set to lose “Seinfeld” to Netflix in 2021 and will have to share its library of Dick Wolf’s “Law & Order” shows with NBCUniversal’s new Peacock streaming service.

But Craig Erwich, the head of originals for the Disney-owned streaming service, argued on Friday that exclusivity on such library shows is becoming less important to its business model. “For some of these shows, especially ones that have very deep libraries, I don’t know that exclusivity is paramount,” Erwich argued during his executive session at the Television Critics Association press tour.

On Thursday, NBCUniversal announced that the full library from Dick Wolf’s currently-airing “Law and Order: SVU,” “Chicago Fire,” “Chicago P.D.,” and “Chicago Med” series, and several seasons of the now-ended “Law and Order” and “Law and Order: Criminal Intent,” will be available on Peacock, the streaming service it’s launching later this year. But not exclusively, since Hulu still owns the rights to shows like “Law & Order: SVU.”

“Where exclusivity I do think is important is in our originals. For us to be able to go out and say ‘Little Fires Everywhere,’ ‘The Handmaid’s Tale,’ or ‘Dollface’ is only on Hulu, is really what we think is important.”

The streaming service is also set to entirely lose two long-running comedies it’s had since 2015: “South Park” to HBO Max later this year and “Seinfeld” to Netflix in 2021. While Hulu made a bid to keep “Seinfeld,” the show represented less than 1% of all Hulu viewing, a person with knowledge of those statistics told TheWrap after Netflix acquired the rights last September.

“One show does not make a service,” Erwich continued. “What’s important for us is to have a product and an environment and an offering that offers everybody as many of their favorite shows as possible. We’re focused on, quite frankly, total engagement. Do we have enough of content for somebody to watch when they want to watch. Do we have enough content to satisfy the various moods somebody might have?”

Tim Baysinger

Tim Baysinger

TV Reporter • tim.baysinger@thewrap.com • Twitter: @tim_bays



What you get:

  • in-depth coverage
  • award winning writers
  • exclusive video
  • vip access
  • thewrap magazine