The executive who helped create such TV hits as Pretty Little Liars, 24, House and The Voice is Hulu’s new head of content.
And the plot now thickens for Internet-based networks, because Hulu, Netflix, Amazon, and YouTube are all vying to position themselves as creators of TV-quality new content — as well as the heaven where previously aired shows spend their afterlife.
Craig Erwich, who will begin his new job overseeing content on Hulu and Hulu Plus on April 7, comes to the new senior vice president position from seven years as head of development, production and business operations at Warner Horizon Television, part of the Warner Bros. Television Group, and a dozen years at Fox.
While at Warner Horizon, Erwich boosted his unit’s fortunes with Rizzoli & Isles for TNT, Pretty Little Liars on ABC Family, Longmire on A&E, Dallas on TNT and Ground Floor on TBS.
“[This appointment] is helpful if Hulu wants to become a competitor with cable, or a partner with a cable network,” Reticle Research analyst Ross Rubin told VentureBeat.
Hulu, which Disney, 21st Century Fox and Comcast own, could take either route or carve out its own. In addition to its huge library of previously aired programming – including 89,000 TV episodes from 514 content partners – it has been busy creating original shows.
The site launched nearly two dozen original series last year, with more this year. They include the animated superhero comedy series The Awesomes, co-created by Saturday Night Live alum Seth Myers and entering its second season this summer; and Deadbeat, about a man who helps ghosts successfully reach the afterlife, premiering on April 9.
The head of content position at Hulu had been empty since its previous occupant, Andy Forssell, became interim CEO a year ago. Current CEO Mike Hopkins replaced Forssell last October, and he has been busy building a new executive team, with appointments in technology, distribution, advertising, and distribution.
In a post on the company blog announcing the Erwich appointment, Hopkins highlighted the range and depth — “original first-run TV programming, last night’s TV, and great library TV from the U.S. and other markets” — that gives Hulu a unique programming profile.
And, given the recent report of an upcoming, ad-supported streaming service from Amazon (which the company has denied), plus YouTube’s growing roster of original content, the biggest action in TV programming is arguably not on TV.