Mili Avital; Larry King
"We've got an incredibly diverse audience. It's big and getting bigger. That gives us a lot of latitude," Hulu's SVP of content Andy Forssell told the Television Critics Association during the fall previews on Tuesday.
Hulu's new summer programming slate reflects that diversity. After launching its first original scripted series Battleground in February, Hulu is continuing its commitment to creating new programs and distributing curated content from around the web, networks and globe. Check out its summer lineup:
Prisoners of War
The nine-time Israeli Emmy Award-winning series starring Mili Avital and Ishai Golan inspired Showtime's critically acclaimed Homeland.
"I play [Narit] the wife of the soldier who was kidnapped. We were engaged," Avital said. "I eventually married his brother and we had a son. Seventeen years later, he was released. My character resonated a lot with Israeli audiences... my character represents the need to move on and begin a new life."
The main differences between Prisoners of War and Homeland reflect their cultural backgrounds. "The societies are very different how we treat this subject," said writer-director Gideon Raff. "In Israel.. it's an open wound. It was almost taboo when we started... Israelis negotiate to get prisoners released. Americans do not negotiate with terrorists."
Ishai Golan, who plays Uri, added, "It changed the face of Israeli TV... people told me how hard it was to watch. And although it was hard, they had to stay and watch it to the end. It took entertainment another step."
Prisoners of War premiered on July 14 on Hulu and Hulu Plus.
Up to Speed
The wacky travel series stars Timothy "Speed" Levitch, a quirky real-life character whom Dazed and Confused filmmaker Richard Linklater discovered giving eccentric tours in D.C. To get an idea of what's in store for viewers on Up to Speed, here's a selection of colorful quotes from Speed himself.
How Hulu and Speed collaborated: "It was a magic jambalaya of events that became a wonderful meal."
The most overlooked monument: "Probably kindness... that's the abstract, poetic answer."
The most overlooked monument, Take 2: " Tourism is very high school... the most popular monuments are pretty vapid. That's why they're popular. It's the dweebs, the wallflowers, the monumentally ignored monuments that have the most interesting things to say."
Los Angeles tour concept: "It's a great opportunity to develop walking tours on the Indiana Jones level."
Thoughts on Austin, Texas: "The capital city of laid-back vivacity! I'm always looking forward to going back to Austin."
The best tour guide: "I think on a list of the top 10 tour guides in history, curiosity would have to be the top seed!"
Up to Speed premieres on Thursday, Aug. 9 on Hulu.
Larry King Now
The veteran TV and radio host takes his skills to the web with Larry King Now on Hulu. And although he's switched to a different medium, he's still able to attract willing interviewees, including Seth MacFarlane, Meghan McCain, Betty White and Oliver Stone.
At 78, Larry King has embraced the idea of a series on Hulu, available to everyone, all the time. "It's kind of a revolution to me," he told reporters. "This is an unencumbered show... [Technology-wise], I'm an idiot. I don't know how it works, but I'm enjoying it."
King marveled at the impact that technology has had on broadcasting. "We were in the back of the car going to dinner, and I was watching my show," he said. "I thought to myself, 'What a world this is!' If a news event happened right now, the whole world would know about it in a minute. Everything's out there. It's amazing to me. It makes me young again."
The downside of all that information, however, is the glut of reporting. "Are we better served with 500 outlets?" King mused. "I grew up with four stations and an independent.... we were a day later, but we had Cronkite. There are not Cronkites now... The Murrows are few and far between."
Larry King Now airs new episodes Monday-Thursday on Hulu.
Rev. and The Thick of It
Hulu also presented two British comedies as part of their linuep. Rev. is the BAFTA-winning sitcom starring Tom Hollander (Pirates of the Caribbean, Pride & Prejudice) as inner-city vicar Rev. Adam Smallbone, who constantly struggles with his faith and inevitably falls into uncomfortable, embarrassing and occasionally heartwarming situations.
The Thick of It gives viewers an inside look at British politics in a decidedly politically incorrect way. From the same writer as HBO's Veep, the series launched on July 29 on Hulu.
Check out trailers for Rev. and The Thick of It:
The first two seasons of Rev. and first three seasons of The Thick of It are available on Hulu now. The fourth season of The Thick of It will premiere this fall.