At the Consumer Electronics Show, Hulu announced its lineup of original programming for 2014. Among a class of overseas imports and renewals, two debuts stand out: Deadbeat and The Hotwives Of Orlando. Both of these new originals represent Hulu’s plan to score an online video hit on the level of Yahoo’s Burning Love.
Deadbeat is the original series drawing the most hype. It stays Tyler Labine, best known for starring in Reaper (which, cleverly, is also distributed in the US by Hulu). Labine plays a hapless paranormal investigator who must stop ghosts from haunting the living. The ten-episode comedy, which is produced by Brad Pitt’s Plan B production company, will debut on April 9th and will also star Brandon T. Jackson and Cat Deeley.
The other big original coming to Hulu is The Hotwives of Orlando, a Real Housewives parody with an impressive cast. Casey Wilson, Kristen Schaal, and Angela Kinsey are all set to star, with Paul Scheer producing and the likes of Weird Al Yankovic and Kate Walsh appearing in supporting roles.
In other words, the two biggest 2014 debuts on Hulu emulate the two most prominent Yahoo web series of 2013: Burning Love and Ghost Ghirls. Hotwives is even produced by the same production company behind Burning Love. Those two certainly aren’t bad shows to emulate; they’re both of higher quality than most of the middling originals Hulu released in 2013. Yahoo hasn’t exactly covered itself in glory in terms of promoting its hits, but Hulu has not been shy about advertising its original series. If it can provide a significant amount of hype for shows of Burning Love‘s quality, Hulu will have a real hit on its hands.
Several of those middling Hulu originals, it should be noted, have been renewed. Seth Meyers’ animated superhero comedy The Awesomes will be back, as has East Los High, Quick Draw, and several other programs. New international programs on Hulu include Swedish series The Bridge, which will be released for US audiences on January 14th.
When former TV exec Mike Hopkins took over as Hulu’s CEO, it was unclear what role web originals would play in the platform’s game plan. The 2014 slate shows that Hulu is still very much interested in bringing original content for its viewers, and by using successful web series as its model, it is setting itself up for some significant hits.