Hulu renews ‘The Handmaid’s Tale,’ snags exclusive rights to two hot series

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In addition to unveiling a new live TV service at its upfront presentation in New York City on Wednesday, Hulu also made some big announcements on the content side, including a rapid renewal for its latest breakout original series, The Handmaid’s Tale.

The Handmaid’s Tale, the first three episodes of which debuted just last week, has already been given the green light for a second season, which will premiere in 2018.

Hulu has also snagged exclusive streaming rights for two hit series: NBC’s This is Us and FX’s Atlanta.

Hulu subscribers will get immediate access to the entire first season of This is Us, and the service will also handle viewing of the tearjerking family drama through the NBC website and streaming apps.

The exclusive deal for Atlanta will give Hulu the rights to stream that comedy series, including the full first season prior to the launch of season 2, as well as subsequent seasons after they air on FX. With season 2 not coming until 2018, it’s unclear if you’ll see Atlanta pop up on your watch list this year, or early next.

The Handmaid’s Tale, based on the Margaret Atwood novel of the same name, has an all-star castthat includes Elisabeth Moss (Mad Men), Joseph Fiennes (American Horror Story), Yvonne Strahovski (Chuck, Dexter), Alexis Bledel (Gilmore Girls), Madeline Brewer (The Deleted), Max Minghella (The Mindy Project), and Samira Wiley (Orange is the New Black).

It’s set in the dystopian, totalitarian society of Gilead, within what was once the United States, where women are stripped of their rights, and handmaids — females who are still able to bear children — are used solely for the purposes of procreation. The story is chillingly told from the perspective of Moss’ character, a handmaid named Offred who longs to escape and find the daughter who was taken from her.

While Hulu did not release specific viewership numbers for the premiere, the streaming service confirmed that The Handmaid’s Tale has been watched by more viewers than any other series on the platform, including both originals and shows for which Hulu acquired rights. Some pundits have already begun talk of Emmy contention.

Craig Erwich, senior vice president and head of content for Hulu, says the response to the series thus far has been“absolutely incredible,” and describes the series as “gripping and thought-provoking storytelling.”