Netflix may have a head start when it comes to creating water-cooler web shows like "House of Cards," but Hulu demonstrated at its Upfront presentation to advertisers this Tuesday that it is also betting heavily on original content.
The online video platform unveiled a slate of series with notable co-creators or stars like Seth Meyers, Emmy-winning filmmaker Josh Greenbaum and Tony-winner actor James Corden. Shows include "The Awesomes," an animated superhero show with Meyers, and "The Wrong Mans," which finds Corden as an office worker caught up in a conspiracy.
It also announced a hodgepodge of exclusive content that will premiere domestically on Hulu, including shows with Eva Longoria and Chris O'Dowd. And it will continue to offer "Prisoners of War," the Israeli drama that inspired "Homeland" (pictured, below left). The exclusives include "Mother Up!," an animated show about parenthood with Longoria and "East Los High," a high school drama with an all-Latino cast.
Hulu is also airing daily, half-hour episodes of two venerable soap operas, "All My Children" and "One Life To Live," as well as short films and series hosted by celebrity chef Mario Batali and TV personality Carson Daly.
Hulu also gave advertisers a look under its hood. The company said subscriptions to Hulu Plus, its subscription service, doubled in 2012 and that it now has more than 4 million paid subscribers. In addition, company said it logged $695 million in revenue last year, but did not say if it was profitable.
Hulu said it now boasts 57,000 hours of content and roughly 2,500 TV series across Hulu and Hulu Plus. In a sign of the increasing dominance of smartphones, Hulu said mobile platforms will account for 15 percent of video consumption in 2013-2014.
Here's a look at Hulu's slate, as described by Hulu:
HULU ORIGINAL SERIES
The Awesomes is an animated show for adults that combines the thrills of comic book storytelling with the irreverent and inspired comedy that is the hallmark of show co-creators Seth Meyers ("SNL") and Michael Shoemaker ("Late Night with Jimmy Fallon"). It is the story about the greatest superhero team in history, The Awesomes, and what happens after all the most powerful members leave. The team is led by the possibly under-qualified Professor Doctor Awesome, voiced by Meyers, who is determined to bring these funny-if-flawed superheroes to glory. Meyers and Shoemaker called upon their many friends in the comedy world to voice the characters, including some of "Saturday Night Live's" most celebrated cast and alumni Kenan Thompson, Bill Hader, and Taran Killam. This first animated Hulu Original Series is executive produced by Meyers, Shoemaker, and Broadway Video. Ten (10) episodes.
LAUNCH: August 1, 2013
From writer/director Nancy Hower and writer/star John Lehr, Quick Draw is a comedic half-hour western set in 1875 that centers on a Harvard-educated sheriff and his quest to introduce the emerging science of forensics to an unruly Kansas town. Though the citizens of Great Bend, Kansas are generally unimpressed with Sheriff Hoyle's (Lehr) educational pedigree, they come to appreciate his sharp mind and sharper shooting as he and his reluctant Deputy Eli (Nick Brown) hunt down robbers, murderers, and the dangerous riff-raff that have plagued the town for years. The series is co-created and executive produced by Nancy Hower and John Lehr (“10 Items or Less,” “Jailbait”) and co-executive produced by Keith Raskin (“Key & Peele,” “The League”). Eight (8) episodes.
LAUNCH: Summer 2013
Behind the Mask
Behind the Mask takes viewers on a behind-the-scenes adventure into the colorful and never-before-seen world of sports mascots. Through the eyes of four dedicated performers at the high school, college, minor league and NBA pro levels, Behind the Mask takes an authentic look at the sports world’s most unsung heroes. Funny, entertaining, and at times poignant, this show tells the moving stories of these real-life Clark Kents, capturing their highs and lows, both inside and outside the suit. Behind the Mask is created by Emmy Award-winning filmmaker Josh Greenbaum and produced by Occupant Entertainment ("Better Living Through Chemistry," "The Wackness"). Ten (10) episodes.
LAUNCH: Fall 2013
The Wrong Mans
Co-written by and co-starring Tony Award-winner James Corden ("Doctor Who," "Gulliver's Travels," "Gavin & Stacey") and Mathew Baynton ("Peep Show," "Spy," "Gavin & Stacey"), the series centers on Sam (Baynton), and Phil (Corden), two lowly office workers who become caught up in a deadly criminal conspiracy after Sam discovers a ringing phone at the scene of a horrific car crash. Answering this phone turns his world upside down, as he and Phil soon realize it's up to them to step up and save the day. They are in the wrong place at the wrong time, with the wrong skills. They are The Wrong Mans. Hulu's second co-production with BBC brokered by BBC Worldwide Americas, the series is directed and produced by Jim Field Smith ("Episodes," "Butter," "She's Out of My League") and executive produced by Mark Freeland for BBC. Six (6) episodes.
LAUNCH: Fall 2013
HULU EXCLUSIVE SERIES
Hulu Exclusive Series are distinctive and acclaimed shows made exclusively available in their first-run window to U.S. audiences on Hulu and Hulu Plus.
Mother Up! is a 13-episode, half-hour animated comedy series chronicling the misguided attempts at parenthood of Rudi Wilson (Eva Longoria), a disgraced former music exec, as she transitions from the towers of Manhattan to the carpool line of suburbia, where she finds herself alone and hopelessly underequipped to manage her two kids and new life. Bringing her street smarts and urban lifestyle to the suburbs, Rudi confronts the endless challenges of parenthood with a series of misguided improvised solutions, putting her life on the line like never before. Eva Longoria (“Desperate Housewives”) and Mass Animation’s Yair Landau ("Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs") and Michael Shipley ("Family Guy," "American Dad") are executive producers. The series was developed by Rogers Media and co-produced by Breakthrough Entertainment and Bardel Entertainment, in association with Mass Animation. Mother Up! premieres on Hulu and Hulu Plus in Fall 2013. Thirteen (13) episodes.
LAUNCH: Fall 2013
Prisoners of War
Written and directed by Gideon Raff, this nine-time Israeli Emmy Award-winning series follows the journey of two soldiers as they return to their families after 17 years in an enemy prison. Uri and Nimrode struggle to fit back into society and viewers watch as each makes an effort to restore old relationships and initiate new relationships. As they attempt to start their lives free from captivity, they go through a number of examinations and questionings by a military psychologist. Before long it is discovered that their stories do not match and an undercover investigation ensues. At the same time of this investigation, Uri and Nimrode are on a quest for answers tied to their own captivity. In the second season, the secret continues to be unraveled, but more mystery and unanswered questions are now added to the equation. Starring Yael Abecassis, Mili Avital, Yoram Tolledano, Assi Cohen and Ishai Golan, all episodes will be available exclusively on Hulu and Hulu Plus from Keshet International. Fourteen (14) episodes.
LAUNCH: May 28, 2013
Hulu Exclusive Series, Moone Boy, is a warm family comedy series about a young boy growing up in a chaotic and creative household in late 1980s Ireland. A semi-autobiographical series written by and starring Chris O’Dowd ("Bridesmaids," "Girls") as the imaginary friend of 11-year-old Martin, the youngest child in the large, loud Moone family. Headed by Martin’s songwriter father, who longs to be an artist and his frazzled mother, this is a family with a lot of love where everyone tends to pull in different directions. Martin has a unique view of life, dealing with enterprising school bullies with the help of his imaginary friend, who also narrates his adventures. But while most boys would dream up a superhero sidekick, Martin’s pal is a man in his mid-30s with the most common name in Ireland. Moone Boy is a Sprout Pictures, Baby Cow, Hot Cod Productions and Grand Pictures production made available to Hulu and Hulu Plus from BBC Worldwide Americas. Six (6) episodes.
LAUNCH: July 10, 2013
East Los High
East Los High is not your typical high school. Dance, sex, romance and mystery are at the heart of this inner city school in East L.A. where two teenage cousins, Jessie, a 16-year-old virgin, and Maya, a troubled runaway with a violent past, fall in love with Jacob, a popular football player. With this forbidden love triangle, Maya, Jessie and Jacob, along with their close friends, must face true-to-life decisions throughout a turbulent year that will mark their lives forever. A Hulu Exclusive Series, "East Los High" features an all Latino cast, director, writers and creators-many hailing from East L.A. More than 15 leading public health organizations such as Advocates for Youth, Voto Latino, California Family Health Council and Legacy LA, among others, advised on the scripts and content to address teen issues related to relationships and sexuality in a meaningful way. "East Los High" is the first English-language drama series made for this under served audience. The series is available exclusively to Hulu and Hulu Plus. Twenty-Four (24) episodes.
LAUNCH: June 3, 2013
SOAPS on HULU
All My Children and One Life to Live
Hulu is proud to premiere new daily, half hour episodes of two of the longest running, storied, and respected TV franchises: All My Children and One Life To Live. All My Children revolves around the lives of the residents of fictional Pine Valley. For nearly forty years, this town has seen the trials and tribulations of its dynamic families. One Life to Live follows the complicated lives of three main families: the wealthy Lords, the powerful Buchanans and the strong-willed Cramers. The quiet simplicity of small town living is often interrupted by the drama between them yet despite the struggles, strong family bonds keep them united.
LAUNCH: April 29, 2013
HULU SPOTLIGHT SERIES
Brand-contingent original programming unbound by format or genre, created to provide more opportunities for integrated advertisers. All shows are currently in development and are seeking brand support.
The High Road
The High Road is a series of short films starring renowned chef, restaurateur, author, and television personality Mario Batali. Each episode features a celebrity or interesting personality who joins Mario for insightful, candid conversation and a unique adventure to unexpected locales in Mario’s beloved New York City.
Sundays at the Greek
Sundays at the Greek is a weekly music series featuring some of the best bands in the world performing live from “America’s Best Small Outdoor Venue” in the heart of beautiful Griffith Park in Los Angeles, California. Hosted by Carson Daly, each episode features a concert experience complete with backstage access: full song live performances, interviews with the bands, behind-the-scenes features, celebrity fans and much more. This is concert television like you’ve never seen it before!
Money Where Your Mouth Is
A new comedic game show for the man’s man that takes all that great man knowledge your wives and girlfriends deem "useless", and put it to good use for trumping buddies and snagging their most prized possessions. It’s The Man Show meets MTV's Remote Control with a little Pawn Stars sprinkled on top.
Love 15 (Alloy show)
A magical, heartfelt series about a middle class, Latino girl who has a scholarship to an elite Prep School. As she approaches her Quinceanera, she battles the "Sweet 16" politics of friendships, boyfriends, and the wealthier Mean Girl "Heathers" in her class.