In the first move of integrating Hulu into The Walt Disney Company after Disney in May assumed full operational control of the streamer, Hulu’s Scripted Originals team has been aligned with the Disney TV operation. Craig Erwich, SVP of Scripted Originals for Hulu, will now report to Dana Walden, chairman of Disney Television Studios and ABC Entertainment.
Erwich, who has overseen the ramp-up of Hulu’s original scripted portfolio and its transformation into a major awards contender since joining the platform five years ago, will continue to lead scripted originals planning, development and commissioning for Hulu’s original comedies and dramas. His team will remain based at Hulu’s Santa Monica headquarters.
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There was chatter when Walden was negotiating her Disney contract last summer/early fall that she may get some Hulu oversight; the then-Fox executive already had an insider look into the streamer’s operations as a Hulu board member. At the time, that was tricky given Hulu’s ownership structure but became doable after Disney assumed full operational control of the company in May. Following that transaction, there was a new round of speculation that one of the top Disney TV executives under Walt Disney Television chairman Peter Rice, Walden or FX Networks Chairman John Landgraf, would get a creative oversight of Hulu. With Disney in control, Hulu’s board is still operational but Walden is no longer a member.
Erwich most recently served as Hulu’s SVP, Originals with a primary focus on original scripted series and auxiliary oversight of unscripted programs and film originals. Going forward, Hulu’s unscripted original programming and original film development will report to Hulu CEO Randy Freer, with the licensed live and on-demand content acquisition teams also continuing to report to him. The streaming service’s overall content strategy, capital allocation and investment decisions, as well as originals content marketing, will continue to be led by Hulu’s business and marketing teams.
“As Hulu drives toward its ambitious subscriber and engagement goals, it is important that we take full advantage of the creative resources and production capabilities of Disney Television Studios, which are among the best in the world,” said Freer, who reports to Kevin Mayer, chairman of Walt Disney’s Direct-to-Consumer and International. “Craig and his scripted originals team have created a broad, award-winning slate of programming for Hulu that drives culture and inspires conversation, and we’re looking forward to growing that caliber of scripted dramas and comedies on Hulu with the additional power of Walt Disney Television behind it.”
Under Erwich’s leadership, Hulu beat Netflix and Amazon to become the first streamer to land a best drama series Emmy and Golden Globe awards for The Handmaid’s Tale. The original scripted slate he oversees also includes Emmy -nominated shows The Act, Catch-22, Castle Rock, The Looming Tower and Pen15; as well as the popular Marvel’s Runaways and breakout new comedies Ramy and Shrill. Upcoming Hulu original series include Four Weddings and a Funeral from Mindy Kaling; Wu-Tang: An American Saga from Brian Grazer and The RZA; and Little Fires Everywhere from Reese Witherspoon and Kerry Washington.
“Hulu Originals have been widely recognized for their originality, boldness and high level of quality. They are a meaningful part of what has driven the platform’s impressive growth over the past few years. Craig and his team have done excellent work,” said Walden. “I am excited to work with Randy in this next phase of Hulu. This new structure will enable Hulu to have access to many of the best creators in the world and programming from all of the content engines inside of Walt Disney Television.”
He remains a direct report of Kevin Mayer, chairman of Walt Disney’s Direct-to-Consumer and International