On the heels of the straight-to-series order last month to 11/22/63, a J.J. Abrams-produced event drama adaptation of Stephen King‘s novel from Warner Bros., Hulu is handing out another straight-to-series order to a project from a top feature writer-director and a major studio. The streaming service, owned by NBCUniversal, Fox and Disney, has handed a 10-episode pickup to Casual, a single-camera, half-hour comedy series executive produced by Jason Reitman, who also will direct the opening episode. Lionsgate Television produces.
The order follows yesterday’s comments by Fox CEO Rupert Murdoch that his company and Hulu partner Disney are finally on the same page about building Hulu into a serious competitor to Netflix and Amazon, which have established themselves with high-profile original series form A-list auspices.
Written by up-and-coming scribe Zander Lehmann, Casual follows the story of a dysfunctional family with a bachelor brother and his newly divorced sister. Together, they coach each other through the crazy world of dating (online and off), while living under one roof again and raising a teenager. “Jason Reitman uniquely blends comedy and drama in a way that touches the human spirit. We are honored to work with him to bring the next distinctive voice, Zander Lehmann, to television,” said Hulu’s head of content Craig Erwich.
Lehmann and Reitman executive produce Casual, which marks Reitman’s first series. “I’ve long looked for the right first step into episodic storytelling,” said Reitman. “In Zander Lehmann, I have found the perfect collaborator. His writing is hilarious and provocative.”
Casual expands Hulu’s relationship with Lionsgate TV. After an exploratory meeting with Hulu executives last year, Lionsgate came in to produce Deadbeat, which has become a breakout hit for the streaming service.
Casual, which Reitman will produce through his Right of Way Films, will begin production this year. He and team were repped in the deal by WME and Alan Wertheimer.