Wednesday, August 3, 2011, 5:04 PM ET|Posted by Will RichmondHulu is partnering with director Morgan Spurlock ("Super Size Me") to exclusively distribute "A Day In the Life," a six-part documentary series in which each episode will follow one celebrity for a full day. The first episode, which debuts on August 17th, will focus on Virgin's Richard Branson. Episodes will roll out on subsequent Wednesdays on Hulu.com and Hulu Plus and will feature singer will.i.am, comedian Russell Peters, musician Girl Talk and others. Each episode is 22 minutes and will include ads. Spurlock provides more background in a video interview after the break.
The move follows Hulu's premiere last March of "The Confession," a ten-part webisode series starring Kiefer Sutherland and John Hurt. These are smart moves by Hulu to create low-cost differentiated programs that make the site just a little less reliant on its network owners. It's still early days but both series give Hulu additional cachet to its audience and also to potential acquirers.
Compared with "House of Cards," Netflix's initial original programming foray, starring Kevin Spacey, Hulu is starting modestly. But premium and ad-supported cable networks have amply shown the value of building their own slate of original programs, so Hulu is following a well-established path. It's still a complete unknown what will happen with the Hulu acquisition process, but here again, if Google were to prevail, its massive resources could really help Hulu to become a genuine player in original programming.