While the streaming services try to one-up one another with original scripted series, Hulu is making waves by landing streaming rights to one of the most beloved sitcoms of all time: The Golden Girls.
The iconic '80s comedy, starring Bea Arthur, Betty White, Rue McClanahan and Estelle Getty, will begin streaming on Hulu next month, Craig Erwich, svp and head of content for Hulu, told reporters today at the Television Critics Association's winter press tour in Pasadena, Calif. It's the first time that the complete seven-season series will be available to stream all in one place.
UPDATE: Hulu confirmed that it will stream the full-length Golden Girls episodes that originally aried on NBC, not the versions that were trimmed for syndication—which has been the only way to watch the series on television since its series finale aired in 1992.
With The Golden Girls, Hulu adds "yet another classic, fan-favorite series" to a lineup that includes Seinfeld, South Park and Empire," said Erwich.
The series will begin streaming Feb. 13, "otherwise know as Galantine's Day," said Erwich. "Since The Golden Girls premiered over 30 years ago, the series and its beloved cast of characters continue to have a cultural impact."
Hulu also announced that it has landed exclusive streaming rights to all previous seasons of Black-ish, which is now in season 3.
The service recently picked up streaming rights to Horace and Pete, one of last year's best shows, which had previously been available only via Louis CK's website.
"At Hulu, we're able to help series evolve with the changing television landscape. We understand that a fan-favorite series has great potential to flourish beyond its initial linear and broadcast run," said Erwich, pointing to The Mindy Project and Nashville, which began on broadcast and have switched platforms. (The Mindy Project now airs exclusively on Hulu; Nashville airs on CMT and Hulu.)
While Hulu, like the other streaming services, still won't release ratings data, Erwich said both The Mindy Project and Nashville have flourished in their new homes.
"It's rare that a series can continue to build upon its audience and see more growth, let alone in a fifth season, but Hulu's audience is more engaged," said Erwich of The Mindy Project, adding that the show is tracking 11 percent higher in season 5 than it was at the same point in season 4.
As for Nashville, "the series has always performed extremely well on our service, and with just one episode into season 5, overall consumption is up 40 percent," said Erwich.
Hulu's TCA news wasn't focused only on old and current series. The streaming service is debuting several new shows, including The Handmaid's Tale, one of this year's most-anticipated new series, based on Margaret Atwood's 1985 novel about a dystopian future in which the U.S. government has been overthrown by a fundamentalist regime that enslaves all women. The drama, starring Elisabeth Moss, premieres April 26.
There's also Harlots, a drama about two feuding brothels in 18th-century London, which premieres March 29. Later this year, Hulu will air a drama based on The Looming Tower, Lawrence Wright's book about 9/11 and Al Qaeda.
Hulu made headlines earlier this week by announcing that CBS will be included in its upcoming livestreaming service, which will launch early this year.