10:00am PT by Natalie Jarvey
Hulu's Craig Erwich Addresses "Support of Ownership" Amid Disney-Fox Merger
Hulu's top content executive took the hot seat before the television press on Monday morning as the streamer awaits a big change to its ownership structure.
Disney is preparing to become the majority owner of Hulu after it completes its acquisition of the Fox assets. Despite the looming deal, Craig Erwich says everything is status quo at the streamer. "Hulu is a very important strategic asset for our owners," said the senior vp originals in kicking off Hulu's day presenting to the Television Critics Association. "The incredible growth that we've had — you don't get that kind of growth without the support of our ownership. We'll continue to be an important player in the direct-to-consumer strategy of our owners."
He added that he doesn't expect the acquisition to change Hulu's programming decisions, noting that the streamer wants to offer "a lot of choice to our consumers across a wide variety of genres."
The anticipated changes at Hulu come amid a period of growth at the company. It recently passed 25 million subscribers in the U.S., a growth rate that Erwich noted during his prepared remarks makes Hulu the "fastest-growing on-demand platform in the U.S."
After several years as a platform for primarily next-day or licensed television, Hulu broke out in the original programming landscape in 2017 with The Handmaid's Tale, which went on to win several Emmys that year including outstanding drama series. The success of the show has helped Hulu define its programming strategy around what Erwich calls "shows that reflect the culture and become part of the conversation."
The slate that Hulu has lined up includes a Veronica Mars revival, revenge drama Reprisal and Catherine the Great-centric The Great. Erwich also announced Monday that Hulu is adapting The Devil in the White City with Leonardo DiCaprio and Martin Scorsese.
Along the way, the streamer has doled out a handful of cancellations, including for Sean Penn Mars drama The First and Sarah Silverman current affairs-driven I Love You, America. Erwich touched on the decision not to renew those shows, noting that The First was ambitious but "the audience just didn't materialize for it." Similarly, he said that I Love You, America "didn't garner a large enough audience despite the critical acclaim to go forward."