Hulu scored a possible coup today in the war of Web-based original content, announcing a partnership with J.J. Abrams’ Bad Robot Productions, and Stephen King to air a series based on King’s best selling novel, 11/22/63.
Described by Hulu as “part thriller, part love story,” the story arc for the series centers around a time traveler who attempts to stop the assassination of JFK on that fateful November day in Dallas. The novel won a Los Angeles Times Book Prize in 2012, and was reasonably well received by critics.
But perhaps more important is the collaboration with Abrams’ hit-making production company, which has churned out popular TV series like Lost, and Alias, as well as a host of big budget movies, including Super 8, the rebooted Star Trek Franchise, Mission Impossible Ghost Protocol, and a sprawling list of others. Additional names on board for the series include Warner Brothers Television, and Executive Producer/Writer Bridget Carpenter of Friday Night Lights (TV series) fame.
The deal is major news for Hulu, which has been seriously struggling to launch a series that breaks beyond the borders of web-based programming and into mainstream prominence. Of the top three streaming sites in the content game, including Hulu, Amazon, and Netflix, only big red has made any waves in the deeper waters of standard programming. The question is, with so many big names on board, will 11/22/63 be Hulu’s first House of Cards?
Only time will tell, but it’s a big move for the service, and likely cost big money to lock down. The names King and Abrams alone should turn a few heads and garner a broader audience than relative duds for Hulu like Deadbeat, and East Los High, but that doesn’t mean the new series will make it to primetime. Hulu is no doubt hoping its new A-list storytellers can collaborate to create a winner.
No release dates for 11/22/63 have been announced, but we’re going to go ahead and pencil in November 22 of 2015, or possibly 2016 as likely candidates. We will update this post as more details are disclosed.