In a development that will delight the cord-cutters, Hulu’s first foray into original programming proved successful enough that the streaming service is adding two other new original shows and a second series of the initial program, Morgan Spurlock’s A Day in the Life.
The service’s first original scripted series, Battleground, will debut on Feb. 14. Then Spurlock’s A Day in the Life will return in March. The third, set to kick off this summer, is Up to Speed, the first episodic documentary series from writer/director Richard Linklater.
All three shows will be available exclusively on the free, ad-supported Hulu service as well as on the Hulu Plus subscription service.
Battleground is a political campaign mockumentary set in Wisconsin. It looks at the people who volunteer to work on the campaign trail for a candidate in a distant third place, and watches as the campaign manager must overcome corrupt politicians, staff in-fighting and foibles, and his own vices. Battleground is executive produced by JD Walsh, Hagai Shaham and Marc Webb (The Amazing Spiderman, 500 Days of Summer).
“People hate politics but they love elections,” Walsh said. “I’m interested in the people behind the people. What makes them leave ordinary lives and enter the madhouse? It is their emotional journey that I find incredibly compelling.”
Spurlock’s A Day in the Life documents how interesting people spend their daily lives. For season two, Spurlock’s subjects include actor Joel McHale, comedian Marc Maron and UFC fighter Jason “Mayhem” Miller, among others. Spurlock and his producing partner Jeremy Chilnick produced A Day in the Life through Spurlock’s production company, Warrior Poets.
Linklater, best known for movies like Dazed and Confused, Waking Life and Before Sunset, has created a episodic unscripted documentary called Up to Speed. It follows tour guide, historian and wandering soul Timothy “Speed” Levitch as he explores the unsung wonders of modern life, from the shoe gardens of San Francisco to the luckiest subway grate in New York City. John Sloss and Dana O’Keefe will executive produce on behalf of Cinetic Media.
“Speed Levitch is one of the most effusive, articulate people I know, and one of America’s funniest freethinkers,” Linklater said. “Hulu has a highly engaged and intellectually curious audience, and I’m excited to give them a glimpse of Speed’s unique and idiosyncratic worldview as we take the concept of a travel show and turn it on its head.”
Andy Forssell, Hulu’s senior vice president of content, said: “JD Walsh, Morgan Spurlock and Richard Linklater are each smart and distinctive storytellers with very specific points of view. Their creative chops are what make for great TV – each have that certain something that makes viewers not just love their shows but also tell their friends to go and watch them. Couple this extraordinary storytelling with the Hulu platform – which has proven to be an efficient way of connecting engaged audiences with shows they truly love – and it pays off in a big way for creators, viewers and advertisers alike.”