Hulu is Now Getting into the Business of Saving Cancelled TV Shows as They Eye Pickup of NBC’s Community

By | May 29, 2014

Inspector-SpacetimeNBC’s sitcom Community may not have been a sci fi show per se, but this very meta series had a large following among fans with its many genre pop culture references, particularly its Doctor Who spoof Inspector Spacetime.  And now it looks like this recently cancelled series has a chance to live on into a sixth season (and possibly more) on Hulu. That streaming service is in talks with the show’s studio Sony Pictures Television to get to the previously stated goal of “six seasons and a movie”.  This will be Hulu’s first effort (that I can recall) to revive a cancelled TV show and it will bring them right into the thick of all the Save My Show efforts currently going on after this last season’s wave of cancellations.  However, it remains to be seen if Hulu will be a viable destination for cancelled shows, especially the more expensive sci fi entries.

The fact is that Community has already achieved a sufficient numbers of episodes to give it an attractive syndication package, so any additional seasons will just slip into that and Sony is almost guaranteed to make their money back and they are probably giving it to Hulu for next to nothing.  Also, since this one is a thirty minute sitcom, it’s production costs are relatively low and likely not far from the budget Hulu would be willing to fund for an original production.  Thus Community is a very sensible, low-cost entry for Hulu that comes with little risk yet definitely brings them some good PR.

However, when you look at several of the higher cost, hour-long genre shows that were recently cancelled like Revolution, Dracula, and Almost Human, I would guess that those are financially out of reach for Hulu unless that service is making greater strides toward beefing up its original programming similar to what Netflix and Amazon have been doing over the last year or so (I’ve heard nothing to that effect, though).  But even if that is their goal, lower cost entries like The CW’s cancelled Star-Crossed and/or The Tomorrow People would likely be more within the realm of what they are looking for.  It’s hard to say for sure at this point, and Community could just be an unexpected gift that landed in their lap because Sony wanted to pad out the episode count.  I do know, though, that this will get Hulu square on the radar of the fans and many Save My Show efforts will start targeting that streaming service along with Netflix and Amazon.  I can tell those fans not to get their hopes to high for revivals by Hulu at this point, but you never know.

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