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Hulu rejig sees Stillerman exit

Hulu’s Emmy-winning distopian drama The Handmaid’s Tale

Former AMC executive Joel Stillerman is leaving Hulu after a year with the company as part of a wider reshuffle at the US streaming service.

Joel Stillerman

Stillerman took up his role of chief content officer at Hulu in June last year but is leaving as the streamer rejigs its operations around original programming and content partnerships. He will not be replaced.

The changes are part of Hulu CEO Randy Freer’s new strategy, after he was appointed to replace Mike Hopkins last year. The latter stepped down from his position to become chairman of Sony Pictures Television.

The new-look Hulu will see its content team divided in two, with one arm working across its live TV offer and acquisitions and licensing operations. An exec to lead that team is being sought.

A second team, led by senior VP of content Craig Erwich, will oversee original programming development and production. Erwich reports to Freer.

Tim Connolly, Hulu’s senior VP of partnerships and distribution, and Ben Smith, senior VP of experience, will also depart as part of the revamp.

Meanwhile, Dan Phillips has joined from TiVo to become chief technology officer and former Walmart exec Jaya Kolhatkar has been named chief data officer. Former Google exec Kelly Campbell has had her remit upped as chief marketing officer, with Smith stepping down.

Hulu said the changes were being made as the “lines between live and on-demand viewing become increasingly blurred for consumers.”

It added: “Hulu is restructuring its content function to deliver the most robust, immersive programming experiences across all of its offerings – regardless of whether live or on-demand.”

Hulu has enjoyed a stellar 18 months following the success of its original drama The Handmaid’s Tale, which is now into a second season.

It now counts 20 million subscribers in the US, the only country in which it operates, with a slate that includes The Looming Tower, Future Man and The Path.

Forthcoming shows such as Castle Rock, The First, Catch-22 and Little Fires Everywhere are in the works, while the company also recently launched its live TV offering.

However, the streamer is also in a state of flux ahead of the potential takeover of certain 21st Century Fox assets by Disney.

That deal, if it proceeds, would see the Mouse House gain a 60% stake in Hulu and likely cause issues with fellow stakeholders in the streamer: NBC with 30% and Time Warner at 10%.

The next move for Stillerman, who was previously president of original programming and development for AMC and SundanceTV, is not yet known. He joined the US cable network operator from producer Yolo Films in 2008 and subsequently worked on hit series such as Breaking Bad and The Walking Dead.


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