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Hulu Eyeing More Original Dramas in 2014

HuluTelevision IndustrySouth by SouthwestSony Corp.ABCCBS Corp.Brad Pitt

Hulu, which is set to debut six wholly produced or co-produced original series this year that skew toward comedy, is looking to add more dramas into the mix.

The Internet-video service, owned by Walt Disney Co., 21st Century Fox and Comcast's NBCUniversal, is currently interviewing for an exec to lead development and production of dramas, said Charlotte Koh, head of development for Hulu Originals.

Hulu is currently considering more than a dozen projects, including several drama series. Later in 2014, "we're going to balance it out more with dramas," Koh said. "I like to tell people it's rolling admissions, there's no precise calendar system -- we're always on."

As for what Koh and her team look for in evaluating original programming, Hulu is interested in "anything that is first-run in the U.S. that feels very accretive to our brand."

SEE ALSO: Hulu Adds Reality Spoof 'Hotwives of Orlando' to 2014 Originals Lineup

This week, Hulu for the first time debuted an original at SXSW in Austin: "Deadbeat," billed as a supernatural comedy, co-produced by Hulu and Lionsgate Television. The show is about a hapless medium who will do anything to help New York City's ghosts settle unfinished business.

"Deadbeat," a 10-episode series set to launch on Hulu on April 9, is "the most ambitious comedy we've made to date," Koh said, saying it was validating to have the show premiere adjacent to the likes of HBO, Showtime and Fox at the festival. "It's a great step in our evolution, showing we can really hold our own as a U.S. network."

"Deadbeat" is directed and executive produced by Troy Miller ("Arrested Development") through Dakota Pictures, co-created by Cody Heller and Brett Konner ("Wilfred"), and produced by Dede Gardner, Jeremy Kleiner and Sarah Esberg at Brad Pitt's Plan B Entertainment.

Other Hulu-produced originals coming to the service in 2014 include second seasons of four shows: "The Awesomes" season 2 from Seth Meyers and Michael Shoemaker, comedy Western "Quick Draw," teen drama "East Los High" and documentary "Behind the Mask." A sixth original production has yet to be announced.

Those six productions on Hulu's slate don't include 13 other acquired series, which include reality spoof "The Hotwives of Orlando" from Paramount Digital Entertainment.

Koh said Hulu expects an uptick in exclusive acquisitions, such as Jim Henson Co.'s animated "Doozers" series, CBS's "Elementary" and ABC's "Nashville."

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Copyright © 2014, The Baltimore Sun
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