Hulu’s Content Chief Questions Future Of Library Exclusivity, Talks ‘The Orville’ & ‘Veronica Mars’ – TCA

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Hulu’s Craig Erwich opined on the streaming wars, questioned the increasing exclusivity around library content and discussed the future of The Orville and the ending of Veronica Mars.

Erwich, who is SVP, originals at the streamer, opened his exec session at the Winter TCA press tour, by saying that he wanted to make “better television” for “generation stream”. “To not make more TV but better TV. Successful streaming is not just about how many people watched one show, or how many awards did you win or how much did you pay for this library series. Those are fleeting moments. It’s about building a consistent brand that provides a deeper purpose,” he said.

Given the increasing competition between the SVOD services for the exclusive rights to classic comedies and dramas such as Friends, South Park and Law & Order, said that the availability of certain shows would “shift around” over the next few years. “One show does not make a service. What’s important to us is to have an offering that includes as many of their favourite shows as possible. For some of these shows, especially the ones that have very deep libraries, I don’t know if exclusivity is paramount,” he said, adding that exclusivity is more important when it comes to originals.

He talked up the future of FX on Hulu, unveiling a new Dan Fogelman comedy starring Steve Martin and Martin Short and said that there are “incredible opportunities” for Hulu being under the Walt Disney banner, such as the ability to work with talent such as the This Is Us creator.

On the programming front, Erwich briefly touched on Marvel series including Patton Oswalt’s animated series M.O.D.O.K – “it’s a whole new take and a very funny one” – and live-action satanic series Helstrom – “it’s in production now”.

The Orville

Seth MacFarlane recently struck a mega-overall deal with NBCUniversal Content Studios, leaving his long-time home of 20th Century Fox Television. This will not impact whether The Orville, created by MacFarlane and moving from Fox to Hulu later this year, will be able to continue on the streaming service past this forthcoming third season. “The Orville has a very loyal following on Hulu so when there was an opportunity to bring a new season to our viewers we jumped at it, I will see the first episode next week. We’ll monitor and evaluate the show as it goes,” said Erwich.

Erwich also addressed the cancellation and controversial ending to Veronica Mars. Although, he sidestepped why Hulu opted not bring back Rob Thomas’ show for another run, he said he “supported” the way that Thomas ended the show. “That ending was Rob Thomas’ decision. He has been the creator and longtime steward of that franchise. I support the decision that he made. For me, we talk about the volume of conversation, but the other thing that you’re looking for is the intensity of conversation. And I think the intensity of that reaction was a testament to how much people like the show,” he added.

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