EXCLUSIVE: High Fidelity is on the move. Disney+ 10-episode series starring Zoë Kravitz, which had been set up at Disney’s upcoming direct-to-consumer streaming service, will relocate to fellow streaming platform Hulu.
The decision comes a couple of weeks after the close of Disney’s $71.3 billion acquisition of Fox assets, which gave Disney controlling 60% stake in Hulu.
Disney+ is being billed as a service featuring programming that appeals to all ages while still conforming with the Disney brand. It runs the gamut of different demographics but it is considered a place for family-friendly fare vs. the more adult-oriented Hulu.
High Fidelity, from writers Veronica West and Sarah Kucserka, Midnight Radio and ABC Signature, is a reimagining of Nick Hornby’s 1995 novel and the 2000 feature starring John Cusack with a female point of view. While the movie was rated R, reflecting the tone in the book, I hear the series was originally pitched as a more of a PG-13, lighter take on the material that would appeal to millennials, a demographic Disney+ is looking to reach.
But I hear as the development progressed, and especially after Kravitz came on board as star and executive producer, the project evolved creatively to become more mature than what Disney+ would feel comfortable programming.
In order to protect the vision of the creators and allow them to tell the story the way they envisioned it, Disney+ opted to let the series go to Hulu.
“Developing High Fidelity with Zoe, Veronica, Sarah and the team at Midnight Radio has been incredibly exciting and we want to ensure they are able to make the show they are envisioning as Disney+ is dedicated to supporting our creative partners,” said Agnes Chu, SVP, Content, Disney+. “To that end, as the series’ creative evolved, our Disney+ team, collectively with ABC Signature, recognized that the show would be better suited for another platform. Given Disney’s equity stake in Hulu, we’re happy High Fidelity will continue as part of our extended family.”
This marks the second example of close post-merger cooperation between Disney divisions. FX Networks, which just acquired reruns of Family Guy, is sharing them with Freeform. While Disney’s increased ownership in Hulu strengthens the corporate ties between Disney+ and Hulu, I hear the move of High Fidelity is considered a one-off and not a precursor to some active cross-pollination and closer integration between the two platforms.
“Hulu is home to stories that tap into pop culture and redefine genres, so we jumped at the opportunity to bring a seminal work like High Fidelity into the fold as a Hulu Original,” said Beatrice Springborn, Hulu’s VP, Content Development. “We are over the moon to work with Zoe, Veronica and Sarah to bring viewers this fresh take on an enduring story that has resonated with millions of people over the past two decades.”
In the High Fidelity series, Kravitz stars as the ultimate music fan, a record store owner who’s obsessed with pop culture and Top Five lists. Veronica West & Sarah Kucserka, who developed the series for television, executive produce alongside Midnight Radio’s Scott Rosenberg, who co-wrote the High Fidelity feature, Josh Appelbaum, André Nemec and Jeff Pinkner, as well as Nick Hornby. Jesse Peretz will direct and executive produce the pilot. Midnight Radio’s Adrienne Erickson will serve as producer.
“The entire High Fidelity team is absolutely ecstatic about our move to Hulu and incredibly grateful to ABC Signature and Disney+ for being so supportive of the transition,” Midnight Radio said. “Once Zoe came onboard and the show began to evolve, it quickly became clear we may be best suited for a different home. Everyone involved locked arms to help make this shift to Hulu, which is the perfect platform to reinvent this beloved timeless property.”
Penned by Scott Rosenberg, D. V. DeVincentis, Steve Pink and John Cusack and directed by Stephen Frears, the 2000 movieHigh Fidelity starred Cusack as Rob Gordon, a music store owner who can’t make his relationships last. To improve his poor track record and understanding of women, he decides to seek out some of his old flames. The film, which co-starred Jack Black, Lisa Bonet, Joelle Carter, Joan Cusack, Sara Gilbert, Iben Hjejle, Todd Louiso and Lili Taylor, has been featured on a number of top romantic comedy movie lists.
Disney+ is set to unveil its forthcoming programming plans at its investor day on Thursday.