Video service Hulu adds new shows to original series slate

LOS ANGELES Wed Jan 8, 2014 9:46pm IST

The HULU Plus app is played on a Samsung Galaxy phone in this photo-illustration in New York, December 23, 2013. REUTERS/Carlo Allegri/Files

The HULU Plus app is played on a Samsung Galaxy phone in this photo-illustration in New York, December 23, 2013.

Credit: Reuters/Carlo Allegri/Files

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LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - Video streaming website Hulu is expanding its slate of original programming in 2014 and will introduce four new series including reality TV satire "The Hotwives of Orlando" and supernatural comedy "Deadbeat."

Hulu on Wednesday announced it also will release new episodes this year of six other exclusive series, including comedian Seth Meyers' animated superhero show "The Awesomes," and "Moone Boy," starring "Bridesmaids" actor Chris O'Dowd.

The video streaming site, which offers next-day repeats of shows on broadcast TV networks ABC, Fox and NBC, is expanding its original programming to lure new viewers. The company competes with services like Netflix Inc (NFLX.O) and Amazon.com Inc's (AMZN.O) Prime Instant Video.

Hulu offers free movies and TV shows for viewing on a computer through advertising-supported Hulu.com. It charges $8 a month for additional shows through Hulu Plus, which can be streamed on Internet-connected TVs and mobile devices.

The service is owned by Walt Disney Co (DIS.N), 21st Century Fox (FOXA.O) and Comcast Corp (CMCSA.O). Last year the media giants considered selling the website but decided to keep it and invest $750 million.

A "significant portion" of that investment "will go toward bringing exclusive first-run content onto the service," Charlotte Koh, head of development for Hulu Originals, said in an interview.

"We are definitely increasing the number of shows we are producing in-house and acquiring," she said. "The breadth and variety of it is becoming a little wider."

Last year, Hulu released about 20 exclusive shows, including original productions and imports of foreign series.

This year's "The Hotwives of Orlando" is a spoof of Bravo's "Real Housewives" reality TV series and is produced by Paramount Digital Entertainment, the studio behind "Burning Love," a satire of "The Bachelor" dating competition.

"Deadbeat," a co-production with Lionsgate Television (LGF.N), is a comedy about a medium who helps ghosts settle unfinished business. Stars include Tyler Labine of former CW show "Reaper" and "So You Think You Can Dance" host Cat Deeley.

Hulu's other new shows are "The Next Step," about a group of teen dancers, and "The Bridge," a Scandinavian crime drama.

Hulu's revenue was expected to reach $1 billion in 2013, according to a December 18 blog post from CEO Mike Hopkins. The service launched in 2008.

The company will announce more shows for 2014 later this year, Koh said.

(Edited by Ronald Grover)

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