Hulu Acquires SVOD Rights to Final Season of ‘Community’ from Sony
Hulu has acquired the exclusive SVOD rights to the sixth and final season of the cult favorite “Community” from Sony Pictures Television, which will now give the streaming service’s subscribers access to the show’s entire run.
The deal with Sony also gives Hulu exclusive streaming rights to WGN America’s scripted series “Underground” and “Outsiders.” All past episodes the shows are available to stream now, and future seasons will become available on Hulu eight days following their season finales. Hulu also has the exclusive streaming rights to WGN America’s “Manhattan,” which was canceled earlier this year after a two-season run.
Created by Dan Harmon, “Community” struggled through five low-rated seasons on NBC before being canceled by the network in March 2014. Hulu was reportedly in talks to rescue the show, but it was unable to come to terms with Sony. Instead, Yahoo swept in at the last minute, as the options on the contracts with the show’s cast were about to expire, and ordered a sixth season of the half-hour comedy for its Yahoo Screen portal. The expensive gamble did not pay off for Yahoo: its open-wallet spending on “Community” and its other original series (including “Other Space” and “Sin City Saints”) led the company to take a $42 million write-down. In January, Yahoo Screen was quietly shuttered.
Hulu’s new agreement with Sony will also make all episodes of the series “Rescue Me” starring Denis Leary, which ran for seven seasons (2004–2011) on FX, available to Hulu subscribers for the first time later this month.
Earlier this year, Hulu and Sony announced a library deal that added high profile films to the streaming services, including “Jerry Maguire,” “Midnight in Paris” and “My Best Friend’s Wedding,” as well as the entire runs of such series as “Happy Endings, “The Shield,” “Party of Five,” “Dawson’s Creek” and “Damages.”
Last week, Hulu announced that it was phasing out free, ad-supported viewing, leaving users to choose between two subscription plans — $7.99/month for “limited ads” and a $11.99/month ad-free option, which debuted in Sept. 2015.