The new series, part of the Hulu Originals slate, will deliver viewers 12 self-contained stories — a new episode premiering each month over one year. No writers or producers are yet attached to the project, and several creative details have yet to be settled. But while the 12 episodes of the series’ first year are expected to function as standalone stories, some narrative device or structural device is expected to connect them.
The first episode is set to debut in October.
The still-untitled series marks the first major original-programming deal for Hulu chief content officer Joel Stillerman, who joined the streaming service in May from AMC Networks, where he was president of original programming and development for AMC and Sundance TV. The monthly format is a departure from Hulu’s typical approach of releasing one new episode a week for original series, as well as the binge strategy popularized by competitor Netflix of releasing entire seasons of original series simultaneously.
“If there’s been one guiding principal that is in place from the day I walked in the door, I wanted to look at that Hulu logo and remember that making TV for an over-the-top SVOD platform, if it isn’t today, is going to be a very different proposition than the approach to making television for what is still the majority of the landscape,” Stillerman said. “I wanted to focus on this question of what does it mean to make television for a place like Hulu.”
The monthly format will provide Hulu with original content to feed its audience year-round. It also is intended to help Hulu tap into the horror-genre audience — a group that has been somewhat underserved by series television.
“At the heart of the deal is an extremely passionate audience and an extremely activateable audience in terms of horror,” Stillerman said. “It’s not even the larger bucket of ‘genre.’ I would say this falls squarely into the horror bucket. And it’s brought to us by, I would say in many ways that would be hard to argue, the consummate producers in that genre today.”
Blumhouse Television, Jason Blum’s independent studio, has expanded its portfolio in the last year with a series based on the life and downfall of late, disgraced Fox News chief Roger Ailes at Showtime and another based on Blumhouse film franchise “The Purge” at USA and Syfy.
The Hulu anthology will hew close to the formula that made Blumhouse a major player in the horror film space, giving creators broad artistic freedom in exchange for expedited schedules and modest budgets.
“We think this is an innovation,” says Marci Wiseman, co-president of Blumhouse Television. “We haven’t split the atom. But Hulu’s commitment to create episodic installments of an anthology series and to event-ize each of them — you don’t get that kind of commitment from partners very often, and we’re really excited and enthused.”
Blumhouse Television co-president Jeremy Gold added, “It’s always exciting to do something that is different and innovative and grand and ambitious.”
Blumhouse will handle international distribution for the series, which it owns.