According to writer Ben Travers of IndieWire, “The same army of “Simpsons” clones that formed Fox’s Sunday night lineup for years is now helping Hulu become adult animation’s streaming hub.”
by Ben Travers
Humbly listed at the bottom of recent press release, Hulu revealed a rather startling viewership statistic. In the last year, more than half of Hulu subscribers had watched at least one of its adult animated programs. Further still, nearly 40 percent watch some form of adult animation every month. Based on reported figures, that’s roughly 12 million people regularly seeking out Hulu’s acquired and original animated series.
It’s no wonder the Disney-controlled streamer has invested in making more of its own animated programs, including “Solar Opposites” (the main focus of the press release), which became the No. 1 title on Hulu (animated or otherwise) during its premiere week in May. There’s a growing demand for adult animated content, and Hulu is in a prime position to capitalize. Why? A bulk of Hulu’s high-profile animated content comes from Fox, one of the streamer’s sister networks and a long-standing adult animation hub — that’s showing no signs of turning off the taps.
Fox knows a thing or two about animation. “The Simpsons” became a cultural juggernaut in the 1990s, snagging big ratings while making bigger licensing bucks and hauling in awards to boot. Fox sporadically paired its tentpole animated comedy with new animated offerings, including “The Critic” in 1995 and “The PJs” in 1999, but the network didn’t form a brand name around animation until “King of the Hill” and “Futurama” took off shortly before the new millennium.
In 2005, Fox went all in, launching its first “Animation Domination” lineup with “The Simpsons,” “King of the Hill,” “Family Guy,” and “American Dad.” By then, the initial three programs were well-established and helped draw viewers to Seth MacFarlane’s new show — a strategy Fox has since repeated for more than a decade. The network has rotated in new series like “Sit Down, Shut Up,” “The Cleveland Show,” “Napoleon Dynamite,” and other short-lived animated titles while searching for lasting staples to pair with juggernauts like “The Simpsons,” “Family Guy,” and later on, “Bob’s Burgers….”