Several classic television dramas are being removed from the Disney-owned Hulu streaming service as the content purge continues. According to Deadline, Ally McBeal, The Practice, The Bob Newhart Show, Hill Street Blues, and Arrested Development will leave the platform once their licensing agreements expire. There are no intentions to renew any contracts, although they could be revisited in the future.
Catalog titles from both Fox and Paramount, as well as properties from Nat Geo and NBC News, are also affected by the purge. However, there have been last-minute licensing extensions for a few Fox series that were set to leave Hulu on September 25, including The Masked Singer, Masterchef, Masterchef Junior, Lego Masters, Next Level Chef, Crime Scene Kitchen, and Gordon Ramsay’s 24 Hours To Hell And Back.
Ally McBeal, The Practice, The Bob Newhart Show, Hill Street Blues, and Arrested Development are the latest titles to be cut from Hulu, set to leave on September 30.
It’s worth noting that the entire WWE hub was set to expire on September 25, and a few ABC News titles are also expected to be removed, although this has yet to be officially confirmed. The move comes in the wake of significant content removal efforts on Disney+ and Hulu as both platforms are gearing up to merge their offerings into a unified “one-app experience” by the end of 2023.
Though Disney intends to maintain Disney+, Hulu, and ESPN+ as independent choices, the merger signifies an evolution of their direct-to-consumer services. The amalgamation will open up prospects for advertisers and afford bundle subscribers access to a more extensive content library. This, in turn, is poised to enhance audience engagement and culminate in a more cohesive streaming experience.
Disney’s Streaming Bundle
North American customers can currently subscribe to a package that bundles the three platforms together at a discounted rate. However, it is not clear whether Disney will raise prices for Disney+ and how it will differentiate between kid-friendly and adult-oriented programming on the combined app. It is also unclear if the interface of the one-app experience will be different.
At present, the prices for the Disney Hulu one-app experience are unknown. However, it is worth noting that Disney has previously offered a price-discounted bundle of Disney+ and Hulu with ads for $9.99 per month. Additionally, Disney+ and Hulu have both announced price increases in the past, with Disney+ increasing to $13.99 per month beginning on October 12. Hulu’s no-ads tier costs $17.99 per month.
Meanwhile, starting in January 2024, Disney has the authority to compel Comcast to divest its ownership in Hulu. Speaking during an investor conference in March 2023, Disney CEO Bob Iger said the company is actively considering its choices in this matter as the realm of streaming services is quite complex.
The move comes in the wake of significant content removal efforts on Disney+ and Hulu as both platforms are gearing up to merge their offerings into a unified “one-app experience” by the end of 2023.
“It’s very, very tricky right now, and before we make any big decisions about our level of investment, our commitment to that business, we want to understand where it could go,” Iger explained. Per the conditions established in the Disney-Comcast agreement for Hulu, the “guaranteed floor value” of Hulu stands at $27.5 billion, signifying Comcast’s ownership value of a minimum of approximately $9.2 billion.
Other shows confirmed Hulu library series leaving on September 30 include Dollhouse, Napoleon Dynamite, Don’t Trust the B—- in APT 23, Second Chance, Shots Fired, Touch, Damien, Son of Zorn, Speechless, Out There, Legends, Breakout Kings, and Better Off Ted.