×

Hulu Inks Multi-Year Licensing Deal with Sony: Acquires ‘Dawson’s Creek,’ ‘Party of Five,’ More

Hulu is stepping up its game in 2016, signing a multi-year licensing deal with Sony. The new pact will amp up the streaming service’s library, adding full seasons of TV series and films from Sony to Hulu.

The deal was announced Saturday by Craig Erwich, senior vice president and head of content for Hulu, at the Television Critics Association press tour in Pasadena, Calif.

Among the content heading to Hulu is all episodes of “Dawson’s Creek,” “Party of Five,” “The Shield” and “Damages.” On the film side, flicks from the Sony archives include “Jerry Maguire,” “Midnight in Paris” and “My Best Friends Wedding.”

Prior to the deal being announced, Hulu made all episodes of fan-favorite sitcom “Happy Endings” available to subscribers, which is co-produced by Sony.

Last year, the company struck a major licensing deal with Sony Pictures TV to acquire all seasons of “Seinfeld,” which was reportedly valued at nearly $160 million with each episode worth around $875,000.

The Sony partnership marks another step in Hulu’s positive momentum and growth, as the service looks to not only jam-pack its library, but also enhance its slate of original content, following in the footsteps of Netflix.

With “Seinfeld” and now “Dawson’s Creek,” “Party of Five” and more, Hulu is strategically pushing the nostalgia trend to woo subscribers. At TCA, press members received fanny packs full of ’80s and ’90s swag, including wrist slappers, ring pops and mood rings to promote the nostalgic programming heading to the platform under the Sony deal.

Also at TCA, Hulu organized a panel with three TV creators whose years-old shows have found new audiences with streaming homes — “Beverly Hills, 90210” creator Darren Star, “Veronica Mars” creator Rob Thomas and “CSI” creator Anthony Zuiker.

“Taking stuff that’s decades old and putting it on Hulu just legitimizes it and makes it cool again,” Zuiker said. Star agreed, saying, “I think we’re all here because we’re excited that new audiences are seeing our show. In the case of ‘Beverly Hills, 90210,’ it’s still touching a different generation of teenagers.”

Asked by a reporter about the financial model of streaming libraries versus the sought-after money maker known as syndication, all three producers opted not to directly answer the question, insisting that their main goal is to create quality content.

“There are a lot of shows that may not have had a home,” Star said, applauding the streaming model for making old shows new again.

Thomas chimed in on the same note, saying, “How little I know about how the economics of the business works — I have an agent who I hope protects me and deals with that — but my focus is almost entirely on making a show that I’m proud of…and hoping that an audience sees it. I don’t think I’m up to speed on how it may be affecting our back-end.”

Zuiker continued to speak on topic, turning the focus from money to creativity: “The bottom line is were all championing and we all love television — whether it’s television on television or television on Hulu or on a mobile phone — we all love television. In the end, we’re out to make the best product for television.”

Back to the broader conversation of the nostalgic reboot trend, Thomas said what everyone’s been thinking through the past few development cycles, which have resulted in the revivals of “X-Files,” “Full House” and “Twin Peaks” to name a few. Thomas stated: “I think that every writer knows it is a little bit more difficult to get a completely original idea on the air.”

More TV

  • Editorial use only. No book cover

    Viola Davis, Holly Robinson Peete Pay Tribute to 'Good Times' Actress Ja'Net DuBois

    Actress Ja’Net DuBois died on Tuesday at her home in Glendale, Calif. at the age of 74. The actress, known for her role in the 70s sitcom “Good Times” as Wilona, the Evans family neighbor, died unexpectedly in her sleep. She appeared in several other films and shows throughout her career including “Charlie’s Angels: Full [...]

  • Bigger

    TV News Roundup: BET Plus Renews Will Packer's 'Bigger'

    In today’s TV news roundup, BET Plus renewed “Bigger” for a second season, and Netflix announced premiere dates for “On My Block” Season 3 and “Feel Good.” CASTING Josh Hartnett has been cast in Quibi’s upcoming series “Die Hart.“ Hartnett will play a fictionalized character of himself, an alumnus of the action school where Kevin [...]

  • Ja'net Dubois Dead

    Ja'Net DuBois, 'Good Times' Actress, Dies at 74

    Ja’Net DuBois, known for her turn as Willona Woods on “Good Times,” was found dead in her Glendale, Calif. home on Tuesday. The Pan African Film Festival, which she co-founded, said she “would be deeply missed.” Her family told TMZ the actress died unexpectedly in her sleep. She was believed to be 74. In addition [...]

  • Esther Scott dead

    Esther Scott, Actress in 'Boyz N the Hood,' 'Hart of Dixie,' Dies at 66

    Esther Scott, who appeared in “Boyz N the Hood,” voiced Shodu in the “Ewoks” series and guest starred on dozens of TV series, died Friday in Los Angeles, her representative confirmed. She had suffered a heart attack Tuesday at her Santa Monica home. She was 66. Born in Queens, N.Y., Scott appeared in at least [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content