Fresh off becoming the first streaming service to win a Emmy and Golden Globe for best drama series (Handmaid’s Tale), Hulu kept the momentum going at Winter TCA in Pasadena on Sunday.
Chief Content Officer Joel Stillerman confirmed an adaptation of Joseph Heller’s Catch-22. The limited series comes from director George Clooney, Paramount TV and Anonymous Content. Reportedly, Clooney also will play a supporting role in the show. As Stillerman said, the landmark novel remains as relevant today as it was in 1961 when it was first published, dealing “with the futility of war, the arcane nature of the military and bureaucracy, and the human nature of sanity.”
“As the industry moves further into an on-demand world,” Stillerman promised to think about content differently, “embracing the need to innovate and venture into new formats.”
Which at least partly explains Hulu’s partnership with Jason Blum and Blumhouse TV to bring Blum’s horror film model to the network. The agreement, which also seems to reflect the popularity of Netflix’s Black Mirror, will bring 12 “standalone, quintessential horror stories,” with each related to a holiday or specific time of year, according to Stillerman.
“It’s a new way to think about relevant content all year long,” said Stillerman.
Stillerman promised the network is “deeply invested in expanding” their document offerings, and quickly proved that by announcing March of the Penguins 2: The Next Step. The follow-up to the box-office smash hit hails from the same creative team and will again feature the voice of Morgan Freeman. It arrives March 23.
Prior to that, The Looming Tower premieres on February 28. The series is an adaptation of Lawrence Wright’s Pulitzer Prize-winning book about U.S. government agencies tracing the rise of Osama bin Ladin and Al-Qaeda in the late 90s before 9/11. The show stars Jeff Daniels (Newsroom) and Peter Sarsgaard (An Education) and comes from executive producers Dan Futterman (Gracepoint), Alex Gibney (Going Clear), Craig Zisk (Brooklyn Nine-Nine) and Wright.
BBC One and Hulu’s co-production Hard Sun then premieres March 7. Starring Jim Sturgess (21) and Agyness Deyn (Clash of the Titans), the crime drama features an apocalyptic twist, with the world facing an imminent natural disaster.
The second season of the Peabody Award-winning show National Treasure arrives April 4. Subtitled “Kiri,” the four-part miniseries will concern the abduction of a black girl soon to be adopted by a white family.
Hulu also leaped at the chance to update critics on its mothership, The Handmaid’s Tale.
To start, season two will track June (Emmy and Golden Globe winner Elisabeth Moss) while on the run. Producers Bruce Miller and Warren Littlefield were as cagey as you might expect about what’s coming, but they promised a trip to The Colonies in episode two. The episode will feature a guest appearance by Academy Award-winning actress Marisa Tomei.
When asked about the challenges of going beyond Margaret Atwood’s classic source material, Miller denied that this was the case.
“I don’t think anything we do is post-Atwood. I think we’re all currently living in an Atwood world,” said creator/executive producer Miller. “In the first season we diverted quite a bit from the book, and it’s the same thing for season 2. It’s just an expansion of that world. I don’t think we’re beyond the story that we’re telling, and Atwood is very much the mother of the series, and not exiting that world at all.”
Hulu also released the first look at the series’ season season, which premieres April 25.
The fourth and final season of Casual drops in its entirety July 31.
The highly anticipated return of Animaniacs from Steven Spielberg’s Amblin Television and Warner Bros. TV, Hulu’s first ever original animated family series, is set for 2020.
The network re-confirmed second seasons of Marvel’s Runaways and Future Man, with Runaways reportedly expanding its audience each week, culminating as Hulu’s most-watched title over the holidays.
But there’s no need to wait for more content, as Stillerman announced that all 331 episodes of ER has been added to Hulu.
In 2017, Hulu added 30,000 episodes of content to its library, and now the streaming service boasts 75,000 episodes of TV. This is twice as many as any other service, says Stillerman.
“The landscape is as complicated and competitive as ever before,” he said, but believed that an expertly curated, diverse and boundary pushing approach to content coupled with an unparalleled user experience “will always win the day.”