Continuing to carve out a niche with original programming, online video service Hulu has stepped up its output of in-house productions and co-productions.
On Wednesday, the service unveiled its slate of original shows for 2014, which includes four programs new to Hulu and six returning projects.
Hulu's popular teen drama, "East Los High," which revolves around a fictional group of high school students in East Los Angeles, is scheduled to return this summer for Season 2.
Hulu said it has ordered 12 new episodes of the English-language series, which features an all-Latino cast and explores such real-life issues as teen pregnancy.
Last summer, episodes of the series, created by Carlos Portugal and Kathleen Bedoya, consistently ranked among Hulu's most popular programs.
"The show has this cool, contemporary feel, and feels like East Los Angeles," Charlotte Koh, head of development for Hulu Originals, said in an interview. "The show will explore new issues this season -- domestic abuse, coming out as gay in high school and bullying."
Hulu, headquartered in Santa Monica, has been placing more emphasis on original content -- a strategy shared by competing streaming services Netflix and Amazon.com.
Hulu's slate of original shows features a few British and European productions, as well as several series developed exclusively for Hulu.
The 2014 schedule includes:
—"The Bridge" an original Scandinavian drama distributed by ZDF Enterprises, debuts Jan. 14 on Hulu. The new 10-episode series revolves around the investigation of a double murder by Swedish and Danish police.
—"Deadbeat," a 10-episode new series, co-produced by Hulu and Lionsgate Television, is set to premiere April 9. The supernatural comedy follows a hapless medium who tries to help ghosts settle unfinished business.
—"Moone Boy," Irish actor Chris O'Dowd's semi-autobiographical coming-of-age comedy is scheduled to return with six episodes starting April 24. The program is offered on Hulu and Hulu Plus courtesy of BBC Worldwide North America.
—"The Next Step," is a 30-episode reality-styled teen drama that follows the lives of a group of dancers attempting to win regional championships. The new scripted drama is scheduled to roll out in May.
—"The Hotwives of Orlando," a reality-TV parody from Paramount Digital Entertainment, is scheduled to roll out later in the year. The new seven-episode satirical series features six vixens from Orlando, Fla., who are "ready to drink, fight and cry, sometimes all at the same time," according to Hulu.
—"The Awesomes," which is scheduled to roll out this summer for its Season 2. Hulu ordered 10 new episodes of the animated program about superheroes, co-created by "Saturday Night Live" alum Seth Meyers and Michael Shoemaker.
—"Behind the Mask," the documentary series that explores the world of sports mascots is set to return later this year for its Season 2. Hulu ordered 10 new episodes of the series created by filmmaker Josh Greenbaum.
—"Quick Draw," a western comedy set in 1875, is scheduled to return next fall for a 10-episode Season 2. The procedural program about a sheriff in Kansas was co-created by Nancy Hower and John Lehr.
—"Rev," an award-winning British comedy about a group of parish misfits, is scheduled to return this summer for a six-episode Season 3. Tom Hollander, who co-created the series, plays the inner city vicar, the Rev. Adam Smallbone. Offered through BBC Worldwide North America.
"The highlights for this year are the new shows that are coming to the service," Koh said, adding Hulu has been making substantial progress. "It is about shifting people's thinking that online is the place to go for quality original productions."
Hulu is owned by media companies 21st Century Fox, Walt Disney Co. and Comcast Corp.'s NBCUniversal.
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