UPDATED: Hulu has acquired exclusive streaming VOD rights to freshman dramas Blindspot and Lucifer as part of a multi-year, multi-series deal with Warner Bros. TV Distribution whose sibling Warner Bros. TV produces the shows. The pact also includes all past seasons of TNT drama Rizzoli & Isles and popular library titles from WBTV, including The O.C., Southland and Smallville.
This is the first SVOD deal Warner Bros. has signed with Hulu — the studio previously made a then-unprecedented agreement with Netflix for its Fox drama Gotham before the Batman prequel’s broadcast premiere and inked another multi-series pact with Netflix for a slew of shows, including The Following and Revolution. (Warner Bros. and CBS TV Studios also have a Netflix SVOD deal for the series the studio produce for the CW).
Blindspot has been the breakout new drama this season and already has been renewed for a second season. In the new world of digital content consumption binge-watching, the strongest broadcast freshman series often strike rich SVOD deals before Season 2. Sony TV’s The Blacklist went to Netflix for around $2 million an episode, Gotham also sold to Netflix for $1.75 million per episode. I hear the license fee for Blindspot was on par with that for Gotham. There was strong interest in the show from multiple streaming platforms, with Hulu landing the drama in a competitive situation and Warner Bros. able to add other titles to the package on the strength of Blindspot.
WBTV already is in business with Hulu — the studio is behind one of the first major original series on streaming service, the upcoming 11.22.63 produced by J.J. Abrams and Stephen King and starring James Franco.
While Hulu has been ramping up off-network comedy acquisitions with shows like The Goldbergs and Seinfeld, drama product had traditionally gone to Netflix, with the Warner Bros. deal signaling a major foray into the space.
“We are honored to announce that, in our first licensing agreement with Warner Bros. Television, we will be bringing two of the year’s biggest hits, Blindspot and Lucifer, exclusively to Hulu,” said Hulu SVP and head of content Craig Erwich who previously oversaw Warner Bros. cable division which produces Rizzoli & Isles.
Under the Hulu pact, all episodes of Blindspot will be available for streaming following its run on NBC, as well as future seasons. Created by Martin Gero, who executive produces with Greg Berlanti, Sarah Schechter, Mark Pellington and Marcos Siega, the series starring Jaime Alexander and Sullivan Stapleton follows a woman (Alexander) with no memories of her past, who’s found in Times Square with her body covered in intricate tattoos.
Currently in its first season on Fox, Lucifer is produced by Jerry Bruckheimer Television in association with Warner Bros. Television. The series is based on characters created by Neil Gaiman, Sam Kieth and Mike Dringenberg for DC Entertainment’s Vertigo imprint and executive produced by Jerry Bruckheimer, Jonathan Littman, Joe Henderson, Ildy Modrovich and Len Wiseman. Starring Tom Ellis, Lauren German, Kevin Alejandro, DB Woodside, Lesley-Ann Brandt, Scarlett Estevez, Kevin Rankin and Rachael Harris, Lucifer is the story of the original fallen angel. Bored and unhappy as the Lord of Hell, Lucifer Morningstar (Ellis) has abandoned his throne and retired to Los Angeles, where he teams up with an LAPD detective (German) to help punish criminals.
In addition to current hit broadcast series Blindspot and Lucifer, Hulu will premiere past seasons of departing TNT flagship drama, Rizzoli & Isles for the first-time ever on a streaming service. Seasons one through five will stream on Hulu beginning this April.
All episodes of The O.C. will become available to stream in April, and Southland and Smallville will make their streaming premieres exclusively on Hulu later this year.
Additionally, library films JFK and Thirteen Days will also be added to Hulu’s library of programming later this year through the new licensing agreement.