Along with Netflix’s eight nominations and Amazon’s five, the Hollywood Foreign Press Association clearly endorsed the content being offered by streaming services.
“Streaming services seem to be the ones who are taking the chances to make these kinds of shows,” said “Casual” executive producer Zander Lehmann. “Basic cable and premium channels haven’t quite realized it yet.”
Erwich credits the creative team behind the Lionsgate-produced show — executive producers Jason Reitman, Liz Tigelaar, Helen Estabrook and Lehmann — for crafting a series that audiences and critics responded to.
Lehmann, in turn, praises Hulu for fostering a creative environment. “I had a kind of freedom with Hulu, but they definitely gave me notes,” he said. “What I liked about Hulu is they were actually good notes and not just some network notes. They kept us in the right tonal range.”
Tigelaar echoed Lehmann’s endorsement. “We are ecstatic for Hulu,” she said. “They are part of our family as much as any department in the show and this is such a victory for them as well. They are true collaborators.”
The hope is that the Globe nomination will draw viewers to the platform to not only check out “Casual,” but also other originals like “Difficult People.”
“I definitely think it should increase the awareness of the show,” said Hopkins. “It’s already been gaining a lot of momentum.”
Added Erwich: “Given the competition for people’s time and money, a prestigious award like this is an extra calling card. It’s another reason to invite people to the party. And when you get them in, there’s plenty to watch.”
Erwich is bullish about what’s coming in 2016: Hulu boasts an ambitious upcoming slate that includes “11/22/63,” from executive producer J.J. Abrams based on the Stephen King bestseller, and “The Path,” starring Hugh Dancy and Aaron Paul, due out next March.
“We are setting out to make the best shows on TV,” said Erwich. “I think this just the start for us. This recognition confirms that we are on the right path. But ultimately the win is for the viewer. The bar is so high now.”
The hope is that awards traction will give Erwich and his team an edge as they vie for top producers and stars in an ever more competitive marketplace.
“To be honest, the best calling card are the shows and the people we are already in business with,” added Erwich. “J.J. Abrams, Jason Katims, Jason Reitman and Amy Poehler have already done that for us. This is a confirmation for people who already joined us that this a place that aspires to do quality work for producers. This helps continue the momentum.”
They also face stiff competition for viewers in this era of Peak TV, but Erwich said they have a game plan firmly in place. “There’s no substitute for quality,” he said. “You can’t game the system.”
Hopkins said the focus is on finding “stories that are unique, that haven’t been told before, and if they have, trying to do it a little differently.”
Though they’re celebrating the nomination, the execs say awards recognition is just one piece of a larger strategy. “We don’t look at nominations as that’s worth X amount of subscribers or money,” said Erwich. “It’s a much bigger picture for us. It’s about building an overall complete ‘best in class’ offering. This is a big piece towards that, and we don’t look towards one piece to do all the heavy lifting.”
Added Hopkins: “We’re just thankful to get nominated. It’s a brave new world for us.”