Someone who works at Disney just let us know that two of the most Disney+-worthy shows on Hulu are coming home this summer. He or she tells us that when Disney renewed Doogie on Hulu last September, early in the reboot Doogie Kamealoha‘s first season (something that incensed with a rage you’ve never seen) it was a very short term renewal. Specifically, 9 months. From September 28th when they renewed it until June 29th. As our source implied, that’s an unusual contract duration for a series (they’re usually 1-6 years) and the reason is that Disney was setting it up for availability this summer.
Doogie Howser, MD is leaving Hulu on June 29th.
Chapeks’s General Entertainment Gambit
This new wave of general entertainment trickling into Disney+ was CEO Bob Chapek plan since the fall. They assure us he would love to do more, but this was the easiest way for now because there is still a lot of contention at Disney with how to handle this and plenty of head-butting between the more “classic” members of Disney administration. They know Disney+ cannot compete long-term domestically in its current state. The numbers look great, for now, but when the stock first fell last November, Bob decided to accelerate their plans. They know that the USA is plateauing and did not want to lose their (now mostly lost) stock gains from the past 5 years.
They first devised a plan to remove the Defenders Saga last year and use it as their way of unlocking Disney+ parental controls in USA and Latin America / Brazil. Once Chapek got his foot in the door with a full range of maturity ratings available worldwide, he intended to trickle things in from Hulu, slowly. Our source is not aware of the plans for Star+, but cautioned it may have more life in it than we’d hope and that Disney is prideful and afraid to show weakness until they’ve got the USA Disney Bundle better positioned. 😵 On March 16th, Disney added Daredevil, Jessica Jones, Luke Cage, Iron Fist, The Defenders, The Punisher, and the ability to stream TV-MA and Rated R titles.
Since then subscribers have (rightfully) complained that the overall impact has been minimal. We have still not seen one Rated R film or TV-MA series scheduled. They have strangely left The Beatles: Get Back as “unrated” when it’s a TV-MA title internationally and chosen not to rate ESPN+’s Man in the Arena, also a TV-MA title! Both only appear to people with TV-MA ratings allowed. They added these upper ratings, but will not label shows with them.
Around this same time, The Information broke the news that Disney was considering an ad-tier for Disney+. Just one day later, it was confirmed. At the recent MoffettNathanson conference, President of Disney Advertising Sales, Rita Ferro, mentioned that ad revenue from series is much higher than films because of additional commercial breaks. She also mentioned that most of the Disney+ USA viewership is films. Putting two and two together, they know the current model does not work and the ad tier will not reap full benefits without adequate series library to accompany it. This is where things start to get interesting.
Keep A Weather Eye On The Horizon
On National Streaming Day (May 20), Disney surprised everyone by dropping Alias, 8 Simple Rules, and The Finder on Disney+. They also announced that Glee would arrive on June 1st. This is only the beginning. While our source warns us that the company is quite fickle and plans are always changing, the current intention is for Doogie Howser to be streaming on Disney+ in July as part of their yet-to-be-announced summer campaign. Additionally, he or she let us know that Disney’s long-standing mistake of heavily promoting Malcolm in the Middle as one of the launch titles back in April 2019 (and then quietly reneging over the summer) is going to be rectified.
Fans were pissed on November 12, 2019, when Malcolm in the Middle was nowhere to be found. The good news is fans will not need to wait 3 full years to view this series on Disney+.
Malcom in the Middle is set to leave Hulu July 1st.
Malcolm first arrived on Hulu from Netflix on December 8, 2017 during a time when Fox moved nearly all their series from Netflix to Hulu. 4.5 years later we’re at the precipice of what we hope to be another re-homing for 20th TV series to Disney+.
Our source also informed us that Criminal Minds Seasons 13-15 are leaving Hulu July 1. Netflix streams Criminal Minds Seasons 1-12 and all of those will leaving the same day, giving Paramount+ exclusive access. Again, he or she cautioned that these things change rapidly but as of yesterday, that was the plan.
We want to reiterate that our source mentioned multiple times that Disney might choose to keep the 2 Disney shows on Hulu (a la Love Victor, Black-ish, Grown-ish, Glee) as there is anxiety about Hulu losing so much content this year, but promised us that those 2 shows are on Disney’s short-list for shows to bring over before the ad-tier launches.
One final thing they mentioned about Glee’s duplication. They weren’t sure, but they believe it was a similar story to Modern Family which had been our theory. Glee was already “promised” to Hulu when it left Netflix, so Disney spent the past 7 months while it sat in the vault after leaving Netflix so they could figure out a way to get it on Disney+ without pissing off Hulu. Makes sense. Whether Doogie and Malcolm become DIsney+ exclusives is unknown at this point.
They left us with this message: “We know how much this means to you. I really hope this makes you feel a bit better about the future. I agree that it’s moving slower than I would have taken it, but with the ad-tier coming and Disney+ Day in September I promise you the back half of the year will be better than what you’ve seen so far.”
We have to admit, this restores our hope. A bit. It also has us wondering if the horrible decision to renew the majority of the Nat Geo library mid March was part of a bigger plan. Another short-term renewal like Doogie Howser designed to line up the expiration with Disney’s plans? Do the math. What’s 6 months after March? September? Could Disney+ Day or the ad-tier bring with it 30+ Nat Geo titles?
Maybe. We reached out to our source about this but haven’t heard back yet. As always we’re TRYING to temper our expectations. If you expect disappointment, then you can never really get disappointed.
Drew Ryan is a film, TV, and Disney geek. He has degrees in English, Student Personnel Administration, and Library & Information Science from Lawrence University, Concordia University-Wisconsin, and University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee. Interested in the minutia and licensing of streaming service content, he is always publishing lists, suggestions, and advocating for Disney’s missing library to be added to Disney+. Drew subscribes to Disney+, Hulu, Netflix, HBO Max, and Paramount+. You can find him waxing nostalgic over classic Disney Channel or geeking out over Marvel, CW shows, & Disney on Twitter.