Hulu sealed a deal for exclusive subscription video-on-demand rights to several current and future FX and FXX primetime shows, including Guillermo del Toro’s thriller “The Strain,” as the company keeps bulking up its lineup to challenge Netflix.
For Rupert Murdoch’s 21st Century Fox, which owns Hulu along with Disney and NBCUniversal, the FX pact shows a renewed commitment to the media conglom’s investment in the Internet TV venture.
The multiyear agreement with Twentieth Century Fox Television Distribution covers FX Networks series produced by or co-produced with inhouse production unit FX Prods. According to the companies, the deal will make Hulu the SVOD home to the largest selection of FX Networks content. Current-season FX Networks series will remain available via the FXNow app to authenticated subscribers through participating pay-TV providers.
Coming exclusively to Hulu Plus next year are the first seasons of FX and FXX primetime titles “The Strain” (pictured), political drama “Tyrant,” and comedies “Married” and “You’re the Worst.” Those series, each of which debuted in 2014, will become available exclusively to Hulu Plus subscribers ahead of their season-two premieres next year. Hulu also gains exclusive SVOD rights to subsequent seasons of those shows.
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Meanwhile, many of FX’s most popular shows will also be on Hulu — although on a nonexclusive basis. Those include past seasons of dramas “Sons of Anarchy” and “American Horror Story” and comedies “It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia,” “Louie,” “Archer,” “The League” and “Wilfred.” It’s worth noting that Amazon.com earlier this year landed exclusive SVOD rights to FX’s Cold War-era spy thriller “The Americans,” as part of a larger pact.
Future FX Networks series that will be exclusively available on Hulu in the SVOD window include comedy series “Man Seeking Woman,” starring Jay Baruchel (which premieres Jan. 14 on FXX); “The Comedians,”starring Billy Crystal and Josh Gad (premieres spring 2015); “Sex&Drugs&Rock&Roll,” starring Denis Leary and John Corbett; period drama “Taboo,” starring Tom Hardy and from executive producer Ridley Scott; and comedy series “Baskets,” starring Zach Galifianakis and produced by Louis C.K. and Galifianakis (slated to debut 2016).
In addition, under the pact, Hulu will gain exclusive SVOD rights to Fox’s upcoming event series “Wayward Pines,” from executive producer and director M. Night Shyamalan. Series, which premieres May 14, 2015, on Fox, stars Matt Dillon, Terrence Howard and Melissa Leo.
“FX Productions shares the same commitment to creating and distributing distinctive, high-quality programming that we do here at Hulu,” said Craig Erwich, Hulu senior VP and head of content. The deal “will add a wide variety of popular series, and fresh, yet-to-air series to our ever-expanding roster of great content.”
Gina Brogi, executive VP of worldwide pay TV and SVOD at Twentieth Century Fox Television Distribution, said Hulu distribution will expand the audience reach for the FX and FXX shows “in a way that represents how traditional TV and emerging platforms, such as Hulu, can work together and leverage their respective strengths to satisfy the ever-changing viewing habits of the audience.”
The parties touted an extensive co-marketing agreement that’s part of the deal. FX Networks will promote Hulu across FX, FXX and FXM networks, while Hulu will provide FX Networks on- and off-site branding to reinforce the association of the shows with the FX networks.
FX Networks CEO John Landgraf in the past has been critical of Netflix’s approach to marketing licensed TV shows, complaining that the No. 1 SVOD player strips off network branding on shows like “Sons of Anarchy.”
“Tyrant,” “The Comedians” and “Sex&Drugs&Rock&Roll” are co-productions between Fox 21 Television Studios and FX Prods., while and “Taboo” is a co-production of FXP, Scott Free Films, Hardy Son & Baker, Sonar and BBC One.