Hulu Continues Search For 'Original' Hits

Still searching for its first smash hit, Hulu on Wednesday unveiled a new slate of original programming for 2014. Marking Hulu's first co-production with Lionsgate Television, the video venture said its supernatural comedy "Deadbeat" will debut in early April.

Hulu also announced the second season renewal of "East Los High," its English-language teen drama with an all-Latino cast. In partnership with Paramount Digital Entertainment, Hulu also plans to exclusively distribute reality TV satire "The Hotwives of Orlando."

Charlotte Koh, head of development at Hulu Originals, said 2014 would mark the company’s biggest year yet for original fare. Analysts, however, say Hulu has yet to deliver a hit on par with Netflix’s original series “House of Cards.”  

Hulu launched more than 20 originals in 2013 and stated that it plans to double that number over the next few years, but it did not seem like any of these series generated the type of buzz that Netflix's originals did in 2013 and that HBO’s series have been doing for decades," Morgan Stanley analyst Scott Devitt noted in a report released on Tuesday.

Partly as a result, despite a strong 2013, some analysts have questioned Hulu’s ability to maintain revenue growth going forward.

While Hulu reported $1 billion in revenue, last year, Brian Wieser, senior research analyst at Pivotal Research Group, recently expressed concerns over “deceleration” of ad revenues in certain areas.

Still, Hulu soon plans to release the original Scandinavian version of the drama series "The Bridge" -- recently adapted for U.S. audiences by FX, as well as the Canadian reality-style dance drama "The Next Step," acquired from BBC Worldwide North America.

The second season of Chris O’Dowd’s semi-autobiographical comedy "Moone Boy" will make a return to the service, this spring.

In the second half of 2014, Hulu expects to release second seasons of Seth Meyers and Mike Shoemaker’s animated hit "The Awesomes," Josh Greenbaum’s docu-series "Behind the Mask" and John Lehr and Nancy Hower’s Western comedy "Quick Draw."

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