4:24pm PT by Kate Stanhope
Hulu Shifts to Binge Model for Psychic Drama 'Shut Eye'
Hulu is changing the way it does business — at least when it comes to one of its forthcoming original series.
The streaming giant announced Monday that it plans to make all 10 episodes of its first-year psychic drama Shut Eye available to subscribers beginning Wednesday, Dec, 7.
Shut Eye was previously listed as streaming weekly beginning Dec. 7. Although the all-at-once rollout strategy is common practice at competitors Netflix and Amazon, Hulu has by and large rolled out new episodes of original series like Casual, The Mindy Project and The Path on a weekly basis.
Sources say the release change is currently only for Shut Eye as the streamer looks to capitalize on the holidays when viewers will have more time to binge-watch content. Last December, true crime docuseries Making a Murderer became an instant smash when Netflix unveiled all 10 episodes the week before Christmas.
Rollout strategies will continue to be determined on a series-to-series basis, an approach also used by Amazon, which releases new episodes of The New Yorker Presents on a weekly basis.
Hulu is in the middle of arguably its busiest year in terms of original content. The company most recently unveiled the Hugh Laurie drama Chance — beginning with a two-episode premiere — as well as Ron Howard's acclaimed documentary The Beatles: Eight Days a Week — The Touring Years.
Hulu's senior vp/head of content Craig Erwich defended the weekly rollout strategy during the company's presentation at the Television Critics Association's summer press tour in August 2015.
"We want to give viewers an opportunity to discover their favorite shows every week. Like you, we value the shared experience and the joy of the water cooler experience that is television," said Erwich. "We want to give you, the writers, time to discover and hopefully celebrate these shows as well."
However, there has been a backlash against binging from the creative community in recent years. Orange Is the New Black creator Jenji Kohan, who is now working on a second series for Netflix, told The Hollywood Reporter last year that she missed "having people on the same page."
More recently, Gilmore Girls creator Amy Sherman-Palladino candidly discussed her preference to not have all four 90-minute installments of Gilmore Girls: A Year in the Life hit Netflix on the same day at the same time. (All four parts will be available to stream on Nov. 25.)
"I told them I was going to hang myself from a shower curtain if they put them all out [at once]. And they said, 'Well, okay, yeah. Can we help you with that? Because we have really nice shower curtains here,'" she said. "And so you know, look, it was my hope to put them out separately because I am a thousand [years old] and I enjoy seeing it, walking away, having some coffee, a sandwich."
Starring Jeffrey Donovan (Burn Notice) and KaDee Strickland (Private Practice), Shut Eye takes a darkly comedic look at the underground world of Los Angeles storefront psychics and the organized crime syndicate that runs them. The story revolves around Charlie Haverford (Donovan), a disgruntled player in the organization who finds his cynical worldview challenged when he starts to experience visions that may or may not be real.
Creator Les Bohem (Extant) executive produces with Mark Johnson and Melissa Bernstein (Breaking Bad) and David Hudgins (Friday Night Lights, Parenthood, Game of Silence). TriStar Television and Gran Via Productions produce.
All 10 episodes bow on Wednesday, Dec. 7.