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Sources tell The Hollywood Reporter that Fox has passed on bringing back the critically acclaimed but low-rated series for a fourth season, with studio Universal Television now in talks with Hulu for a multiple-season renewal for the Mindy Kaling romantic comedy. Hulu and Universal Television declined comment, but sources tell THR that the renewal would likely be for two seasons.
Never much of a force in the ratings, The Mindy Project boasts a steady performance. It’s showing during the 2014-15 season lost little steam from the year before, averaging a 1.4 rating among adults 18-49 and 2.9 million viewers (with time-shifting).
The series — co-starring Chris Messina — always fared especially well with multiplatform views, however, drawing much of its streaming audience from Hulu.
Mindy Project ended its third season with a cliffhanger in March, with Kaling telling THR that she refuses to “create under the assumption of failure” and had preliminary talks with Universal Television’s Bela Bajaria about where the series would go in a potential fourth season.
“I just think there are more stories,” Kaling told THR about jumping networks should Fox opt out. “I do think there’s more to tell, and I think fans would be disappointed not to see more adventures with these characters. But I came from a show [The Office] that I was on for eight seasons, and it continued for another year after that, so I am accustomed to long runs of television shows. I would be up for that challenge.”
In its three-season run, Mindy Project has always lived on the bubble. Originally greenlighted under former Fox president Kevin Reilly, Mindy factored into the executive’s niche comedy brand that, under new Fox bosses Dana Walden and Gary Newman have since abandoned in favor of a broad approach to comedy offerings.
Sources told THR that Kaling and Reilly had been in regular communication following Mindy‘s season finale about potentially bringing the comedy to Reilly-controlled TBS, which itself is facing a comedy reinvention with a slate of all-new programming. Ultimately, it was Hulu who stepped up after multiple outlets including NBCUniversal-owned cabler Bravo — which has featured Mindy marathons — expressed interest.
For Hulu, the Mindy acquisition comes as the streaming service has been bulking up on original scripted programming with pricey buys from the major studios. Mindy marks Universal Television’s second series at Hulu, where it joins Jason Katims-produced drama The Way and comedy Difficult People, which hails from Universal’s cable-focused arm, Universal Cable Productions.
Mindy joins a roster of originals that also includes Jason Reitman‘s Lionsgate-produced comedy Casual and Warner Bros. Television miniseries 11/22/63, starring James Franco.
Keep up with all the renewals, cancellations and new series orders with THR‘s handy Scorecard.
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