Hulu CEO: We don't think like a network
To (incorrectly) paraphrase LL Cool J, don’t call it a network. The idea of TV is definitely shifting, especially given Netflix’s 14 Emmy nominations this year, and Hulu is helping push that concept even further, to the point that it doesn’t relate to the traditional network model.
“We’re not really a network, we’re not really a studio,” Hulu acting CEO Andy Forssell told reporters during the Television Critics Association press tour Wednesday. “We’re a distributor at heart.” Forssell says Hulu goes out “looking for voices,” as opposed to networks that try to find shows that fit their point of view. “If there’s a theme, it’s that there is no theme.”
But like a network, Hulu has a full slate of new shows, four of which had panels during today’s TCA presentation: The Awesomes, Quick Draw, The Wrong Mans, and Behind the Mask. And, as Forssell promised, the shows run the genre gamut from action-comedy and docuseries to western-comedy and animated superhero adventure.
The Wrong Mans, which debuts Nov. 11 on Hulu, is a co-production with BBC and follows a pair of hapless co-workers who get caught up in a criminal conspiracy. Mark Freeland, the U.K. network’s head of comedy, said this partnership and online TV in general is helping close the gap between American and British humor. “We’re beginning to share a sense of humor,” he said. “The British sense of humor still backs the underdog. We like to see losers winning.”
Behind the Mask, which premieres Oct. 29, tells the story of four real-life mascots, and while things stay pretty light, the series also underscores the safety hazards of being the face of a sports team — which was really brought home when one of the mascots tripped down the stairs at the TCA event. The western-comedy Quick Draw (debuting Monday) comes from the creators of 10 Items or Less and shares a star, John Lehr, who plays a sheriff trying to introduce the science of forensics to the wild west. While the show is only a half-hour, Lehr insists CSI could probably be boiled down to 30 minutes as well. “Maybe less removing of sunglasses,” he quipped.
The final panel was for Seth Meyers’ cartoon superhero troupe The Awesomes. So how is the Saturday Night Live mainstay and future Late Night host going to balance all these jobs? “We thought of this idea in 2010 when we had a lot more time,” Meyers joked. “The nice thing about The Awesomes is that we’re pretty much through the work part.”
Watch a trailer for The Awesomes, which hits Hulu on Thursday, below: