In the wake of the Disney-Fox merger and Disney’s full assumption of control over Hulu in May, Walt Disney Television has taken oversight of the streamer’s original scripted drama and comedy development.
Hulu’s senior vice president of scripted originals Craig Erwich will now report to Disney Television Studios and ABC Entertainment head Dana Walden, a shift from reporting to Hulu CEO Randy Freer. Erwich and his team will not to relocate to Disney’s headquarters in Burbank, instead remaining in Santa Monica, where he will continue to lead scripted originals planning, development and commissioning for Hulu’s original comedies and drama series.
Disney’s acquisition of Fox’s entertainment assets, finalized in March, has brought together massive organizations that are still in the process of being streamlined. The integration has so far included layoffs, management shuffles, the shuttering of FX Plus, and potentially new compensation models for creatives. A new streaming service, Disney Plus, will debut in November.
Disney Plus has been billed as a more family-friendly streamer, while Hulu has cemented its branding as the more “grown-up” service. Hulu now has over 28 million total subscribers.
“As Hulu drives toward its ambitious subscriber and engagement goals, it is important that we take full advantage of the creative resources and production capabilities of Disney Television Studios, which are among the best in the world,” said Freer in a statement, adding that Erwich and his team have created a “broad, award-winning slate of programming” for the streamer.
Freer is “looking forward to growing that caliber of scripted dramas and comedies on Hulu with the additional power of Walt Disney Television behind it.”
Calling Hulu’s originals “a meaningful part of what has driven the platform’s impressive growth over the past few years,” Walden said that “Craig and his team have done excellent work.”
“I am excited to work with Randy in this next phase of Hulu,” she said. “This new structure will enable Hulu to have access to many of the best creators in the world and programming from all of the content engines inside of Walt Disney Television.”
“The Handmaid’s Tale,” “The Act,” “Catch-22,” “Castle Rock,” “The Looming Tower” and “Pen15” are all shows that have debuted under Erwich, who first joined Hulu in 2014. Prior to that, he oversaw development, production and business operations as executive vice president of Warner Horizon Television.
Before Erwich’s tenure at Warner Horizon, he was exec VP of programming at Fox Broadcasting Company for a dozen years, where he worked with Walden to develop “24,” “Prison Break,” and other series.
Hulu’s unscripted original programming, original film development, and licensed live and on-demand content acquisition teams will stay put and continue to report to Freer, who continues to oversee Hulu’s overall business and operations. Freer reports to Disney’s direct-to-consumer and international head Kevin Mayer.
The streamer’s business and marketing teams will continue to oversee overall content strategy, originals marketing, and capital allocation and investment decisions.