NBCUniversal’s claw-back of programming rights from Disney’s Hulu has resulted in the removal this week of dozens of past seasons of popular shows on the streamer — including the entire run of “Keeping Up With the Kardashians” — as those have now flown over to NBCU’s own Peacock.
Seasons 1-20 of “Keeping Up With the Kardashians,” which originally aired on E!, expired on Hulu as of Sept. 18. They’re now available to stream only on Peacock in the U.S. Hulu, however, has all-new material for fans of the celebrity clan: “The Kardashians” reality series returned this week for Season 2.
In addition, multiple seasons of Bravo’s “Real Housewives” franchise are no longer on Hulu. Those include “The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills” Seasons 1-15; “The Real Housewives of Atlanta” Seasons 1-13; “The Real Housewives of New Jersey: Seasons 1-11”; “The Real Housewives of New York” Seasons 1-12; “The Real Housewives of Orange County” Seasons 12-15; “The Real Housewives of Potomac” Seasons 1-5; and “The Real Housewives of Salt Lake City” Season 1.
Also leaving Hulu were “Life of Kylie,” the reality series following Kylie Jenner that ran for just one season, along with Bravo’s “Vanderpump Rules” Seasons 1-8 (a spinoff of “The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills”) and “Top Chef” Seasons 1-18. Also gone from Hulu as of Sept. 18 are “Brooklyn Nine-Nine” Seasons 1-8, now exclusively streaming on Peacock.
The purge of past seasons of the NBCU-owned shows comes after Hulu also lost next-day access to current seasons of NBC series, effective Sept. 19, as those will now be available on Peacock Premium. NBCU had already reclaimed next-day episodes of Bravo shows earlier this summer.
NBCU execs clearly hope that their reclamation of “KUWTK” and other popular shows will boost Peacock’s viewing hours — and subscribers. In the second quarter, Peacock’s paid customer based was flat at 13 million and Peacock’s overall active accounts dropped by 1 million.
Meanwhile, Disney is in the midst of trying to buy out the 33% stake in Hulu owned by Comcast’s NBCU.
As of July 2, 2022, Disney recorded Comcast’s interest in Hulu as being worth $8.6 billion, implying a valuation of $25.8 billion. Under the agreement that gave Disney operational control over Hulu, Comcast in January 2024 has the right to require Disney to buy its Hulu ownership stake (and conversely, Disney has the right to force Comcast to sell it).
Disney CEO Bob Chapek, at an investment conference earlier this month, signaled again that he wanted to reach a deal with Comcast to own 100% of Hulu prior to the January 2024 date spelled out in the agreement. Full ownership of Hulu, Chapek said, would be necessary for Disney to introduce a “hard bundle” that integrates Disney+, Hulu and ESPN+. Later, at the same conference, Comcast chief Brian Roberts suggested his company would be interested in buying out Disney’s 66% stake — and that an auction-style sale of Hulu in its entirety may fetch more than Disney’s implied valuation.
Despite losing many top-tier titles to Peacock, Hulu will continue to offer some NBCU shows for several more years. Those include past seasons of “Law & Order: SVU,” “This Is Us,” “The Mindy Project,” “30 Rock,” “Parenthood” and “Will & Grace.” (The full NBCU live TV channel lineup — including NBC, E!, Bravo, USA and MSNBC — will still be available to Hulu + Live TV subscribers.)