Wednesday, May 3, 2017

Hulu Renews 'The Handmaid's Tale'; Orders 'Runaways' and 'The First'

During its Newsfronts presentation today, Hulu made a number of key programming announcements - including a season two renewal for The Handmaid's Tale, new series orders dramas Runaways and The First, and additional casting for upcoming drama The Looming Tower.

The Handmaid's Tale takes place in Gilead, a futuristic world in which fertility issues abound and women's rights are a thing of the past. In order to keep the population up, government officials in a totalitarian society send young and fertile women - the "handmaid" - to affluent families, where they are forced to help couples procreate via sexual servitude.

The drama stars Elisabeth Moss, Joseph Fiennes, Yvonne Strahovski, Alexis Bledel, Madeline Brewer, Ann Dowd, O.T. Fagbenle, Max Minghella and Samira Wiley.

Bruce Miller developed the series based on the novel by Margaret Atwood. He executive produces with Warren Littlefield, Reed Morano, Daniel Wilson, Fran Sears and Ilene Chaiken. MGM Television and The Littlefield Company produce.

"The response we've seen to The Handmaid's Tale in just one week since its premiere has been absolutely incredible. It has been an honor to work with this talented team of cast and creators to develop a series that has struck such a chord with audiences across the country," said Craig Erwich, Head of Content, Hulu. "As we continue to expand our strong slate of original programming, The Handmaid's Tale is exactly the type of gripping and thought-provoking storytelling we want to bring to viewers. We can't wait to explore the world of Gilead and continue Margaret's vision with another season on Hulu."

The series order for new drama Runaways is for 10 episodes, which will premiere in 2018. The series is Hulu's first collaboration with Marvel.

Based on the comic book series of the same name, the drama centers on six teens who unite against a common foe: their parents.

The cast include Gregg Sulkin, Ariela Barer, Rhenzy Felix, Lyrica Okano, Virginia Gardner, Allegra Acosta, Ryan Sands, Angel Parker, Brittany Ishibashi, James Yaegashi, Kevin Weisman, Brigid Brannagh, Annie Wersching, Kip Pardue, Ever Carradine and James Marsters.

Josh Schwartz and Stephanie Savage developed the series. They execute produce with Jeph Loeb and Lis Rowinski. Marvel Television, ABC Sigmature and Fake Empire produce.

New drama The First comes from House of Cards creator Beau Willimon. It has landed an 8-episode straight-to-series order from Hulu. Production will begin later this year for a 2018 debut.

Set in the near future, the drama explores the first human mission to Mars and interplanetary colonization.

Willimon created the drama. He executive produces with Jordan Tappis. Westward Productions, Channel 4, IMG and Hulu will produce.

"It's a story about the human spirit," said Willimon. "About our indomitable need to reach for unknown horizons. About people working toward the greatest pioneering achievement in human history. And about the cost of that vision, the danger and sacrifice - emotional, psychological and physical - that's required to achieve it. How ordinary, imperfect people band together and overcome a myriad of obstacles to grasp the extraordinary."

And finally, it was announced today that Emmy winner Alec Baldwin (30 Rock, Saturday Night Live) has joined the cast of the upcoming drama The Looming Tower. He will guest star as George Tenet, the ex-director of the CIA. He is Richard Clarke's (Michael Stuhlbarg) partner in fighting al-Qaeda. However, he may know more than he is letting on.