Starting Monday, the first four seasons of the hit drama series are available to Hulu subscribers. Subsequent seasons will be coming to the streaming service at some point in the future, but the release date for season 5 (which aired last year) is not yet set.
Hulu is touting the deal as “exclusive,” but current and past seasons of “Homeland” will continue to be available to Showtime subscribers on the premium cabler’s streaming services. Hulu customers can access Showtime’s full lineup for an additional $8.99 per month, which would provide access to episodes of “Homeland” season 5.
Hulu’s “Homeland” pact comes a year after Fox raised questions about whether Showtime was within its rights to offer the series on the premium net’s over-the-top streaming service. The concern was that Showtime’s OTT offering would devalue SVOD rights of “Homeland”; evidently the parties have reached an amicable arrangement.
Showtime, like HBO and Starz, has viewed marquee original series like “Homeland” as essential to attracting and retaining subscribers — and they’ve been unwilling to let shows that are currently airing go to SVOD distributors. That stance is changing, but only for older programming: Note that Hulu only currently has rights to offer seasons 1-4 of “Homeland”; HBO’s deal with Amazon Prime, meanwhile, covers only seasons of original series that are at least three years old.
For Hulu, it’s a big win to grab rights to “Homeland” and keep it out of the hands of its chief SVOD competitors, Netflix and Amazon.
“On the heels of another critically acclaimed season and multiple Emmy nominations, ‘Homeland’ is the perfect addition to Hulu’s growing library of premium exclusive programming,” said Craig Erwich, Hulu’s senior VP and head of content.
Last year Hulu cut a similar multiyear deal with Twentieth Century Fox TV for hit drama series “Empire,” under which season 1 became available to Hulu subs in March 2015 and the second season rolling out after it finished airing on Fox. Future seasons of “Empire” are also covered under the pact.
Hulu is owned by 21st Century Fox, Disney and NBCUniversal. The companies have said that Hulu doesn’t receive any preferential treatment in SVOD licensing deals.
“Homeland” has won multiple Primetime Emmy Awards since its 2011 debut. The show recently picked up its fourth nomination for best drama series, while star Claire Danes received her fifth nod for lead actress in a drama series for her role as agent Carrie Mathison.
“Both incredibly gripping and addictive, ‘Homeland’ is television at its very best,” commented Gina Brogi, exec VP worldwide pay TV and SVOD for Twentieth Century Fox Television Distribution. “This series is ripe for the bingeing and we’re excited for Hulu’s fan base to experience the adrenaline rush that Homeland offers season after season.”
The series goes into production on its sixth season later this summer in New York City, featuring Elizabeth Marvel as president-elect Elizabeth Keane, and is slated to return to Showtime in early 2017.
“Homeland” is produced by Fox 21 Television Studios and developed for American television by Alex Gansa and Howard Gordon. The show is based on the original Israeli series “Prisoners of War” by Gideon Raff, which streams exclusively in the U.S. on Hulu.
In addition to building its stable of original series, Hulu has been investing aggressively in exclusive licensing deals. The company has landed exclusive SVOD rights to popular TV programming including “Roots,” “Blindspot,” “Fargo,” “Curious George,” “Lucifer” and “South Park.”