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Hulu is plotting another return to Gilead.
At its annual upfront presentation to Madison Avenue ad buyers, the streaming service announced Wednesday that it has renewed Emmy-winning drama The Handmaid’s Tale for a third season.
While Hulu, like Netflix and Amazon, does not release viewership data, the streamer says last week’s season two premiere doubled its audience compared with its freshman run.
The decision to renew Elisabeth Moss-starrer Handmaid’s Tale comes as no surprise. The series, which became the first at a streamer to win best drama at the Emmys, also took home a Golden Globe and prestigious Peabody Award. All told, the series based on Margaret Atwood’s best-selling novel of the same name has won more than 30 awards to date.
The pickup comes two days after Hulu and producers MGM Television signed creator and showrunner Bruce Miller to an overall deal after he, too, earned an Emmy for writing the show’s pilot. Miller has been a longtime fan of Atwood’s novel. When Hulu began developing the project with MGM TV, executives originally wanted to hire a woman to write the straight-to-series drama. Miller’s updated take on Atwood’s 1985 book wowed executives. While it was developed during the Obama administration, The Handmaid’s Tale became increasingly relevant after Donald Trump was elected president. Ilene Chaiken originally wrote the first draft when Handmaid’s Tale was in development at Showtime — well before Miller was tapped to take on the material. Chaiken executive produces the Hulu series alongside Miller, Emmy-winning star Moss, MGM TV’s Warren Littlefield, Daniel Wilson and Fran Sears; Atwood is a co-exec producer.
Handmaid’s Tale anchors Hulu’s drama lineup that includes upcoming Castle Rock; Catch-22 with George Clooney and Kyle Chandler; Beau WIllimon’s Sean Penn space drama The First; and Reese Witherspoon’s and Kerry Washington’s Little Fires Everywhere. Comedies Remy and anthology Four Weddings and a Funeral from Mindy Kaling also were picked up to series at Hulu’s upfront presentation.
In addition to the Handmaid’s renewal, Hulu confirmed its straight-to-series order for Blumhouse Television horror anthology Into the Dark. The series will feature 12 stand-alone feature-length episodes with new installments debuting the first Friday of every month throughout the year, starting in October. Each episode is inspired by a holiday from the month of its release with Blumhouse’s genre/thriller spin on its story. The company is working on deals with filmmakers, creators and actors for the series, which will bow Oct. 5 with “The Body.”
The first installment takes place on Halloween night in L.A. and explores the selfie culture. It’s based on the short film of the same name and follows a hitman who carries out his work in style. The Body will be directed by Paul Davis with Tom Bateman (Murder on the Orient Express, Vanity Fair) set to star as hitman Wilkes. Rebecca Rittenhouse (The Mindy Project) co-stars alongside Aurora Perrineau (Blumhouse’s Truth or Dare), David Hull (Insecure), Ray Santiago (Ash vs. Evil Dead). Paul Fisher co-wrote the script. Alexa Faigen (Love Happens) exec produces for Blumhouse.
Into the Dark‘s second installment, due Nov. 2, is called “Flesh & Blood” and will be directed by Patrick Lussier (My Bloody Valentine). Dermot Mulroney stars as a doting father trying to help his teenage daughter (newcomer Dana Silver), who suffers from agoraphobia and has not left the house since her mother’s unsolved murder. Tembi Locke (Eureka) co-stars in the installment that is set on the eve of Thanksgiving a year after the mother’s death.
On the licensing side, Hulu announced it has secured SVOD rights to ABC’s breakout medical drama The Good Doctor, starring Freddie Highmore and from Sony Pictures Television Studios.
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