FX Networks is poised to produce original series for Hulu as the two brands become more closely intertwined now that Disney has taken full ownership of Hulu.
Disney chief Bob Iger said Thursday that Hulu will become the streaming home of FX channels, showcasing the cable group’s library and current series under the “FX on Hulu” banner. Episodes of current FX series will be available on Hulu immediately after linear premiere, Iger said.
Moreover, FX will produce four original series for Hulu next year: Dramas Devs, Mrs. America, A Teacher and The Old Man. Those shows had been in the works for linear FX; it was not immediately clear if they will now be available only via Hulu. Mrs. America in particular is a high-profile property featuring Cate Blanchett as 1970s conservative firebrand Phyllis Schlafly.
FX will become “a key content driver for Hulu,” Iger said during Disney’s fiscal fourth quarter earnings call on Thursday. But Hulu will continue to have its separate programming and development operations for its dedicated slate of original series.
Also on the call, Iger confirmed that the much-anticipated Disney Plus service will launch in key European territories — the U.K., France, Germany, Italy and Spain — on March 31. Disney Plus bows in the U.S. on Tuesday.
Among other news from the call:
- Fox Searchlight is also preparing to produce original content for Hulu. Fox Searchlight and its larger sibling 20th Century Fox have film output deals with HBO at present, but once those deals expire it’s likely that those deals will shift to Hulu, Iger said.
- ESPN Plus, which bowed in April 2018, has hit 3.5 million subscribers. In February, Disney said in February that the service had topped 2 million.
- Amazon Fire has come on board as a distribution partner of Disney Plus. Samsung and LG will make the app available on its smart TV operating systems.
- Iger added more fuel to speculation that the NFL may be returning to ABC. Iger told analysts that viewers are “likely to see more sports on ABC as the value of live (programming) grows.” Iger emphasized Disney’s unique ability to make sports available on live linear networks in ESPN and ABC and via streaming through ESPN Plus.
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