Hulu CEO Joins Sony TV Studio -- WSJ

By Joe Flint Features Dow Jones Newswires

This article is being republished as part of our daily reproduction of WSJ.com articles that also appeared in the U.S. print edition of The Wall Street Journal (October 25, 2017).

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Sony Corp.'s television studio and the streaming service Hulu will be getting new leadership as part of executive changes announced Tuesday.

Mike Hopkins will depart as Hulu's chief executive and become the chairman of Sony Pictures Television, the studio behind such shows as "Breaking Bad" and "The Crown." He will oversee all television production, distribution and marketing.

Mr. Hopkins, who was courted by Sony, fills the position vacated when studio veteran Steve Mosko departed more than a year ago.

At Hulu, he is being replaced by Randy Freer, who will leave his post as president and chief operating officer at Fox Networks Group. Hulu is owned by 21st Century Fox Inc., Comcast Corp., Walt Disney Co. and Time Warner Inc.

After Mr. Hopkins joined Hulu in 2013, the streaming service once known as a place to catch up on past episodes of network-TV shows ramped up its investment in original programming and launched an ad-free offering at a premium price.

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Hulu also has launched its own "skinny bundle" of programming that consumers can stream over the web, including popular networks and sports channels.

This year, Hulu made television history by becoming the first streaming service to win an Emmy award for Outstanding Drama Series with "The Handmaid's Tale."

The choice of the high-ranking Mr. Freer, who was previously on Hulu's board, as the service's next CEO signals how high a strategic priority Fox continues to place on Hulu, which competes with Netflix Inc. and Amazon.com Inc.'s Prime for subscribers.

At Sony, Mr. Hopkins will report to Tony Vinciquerra, chairman and CEO of Sony Pictures Entertainment, with whom he is close, according to people familiar with the matter. The men worked together as executives at Fox.

Mr. Hopkins's new role attends a restructuring at Sony Pictures Television that will have the heads of the studio's domestic and international television production, distribution, advertising sales, research and marketing, as well as Sony Pictures Worldwide Networks, reporting to him, the company said.

In June, two top Sony television executives, Jamie Erlicht and Zack Van Amburg, left for Apple Inc. to oversee its push into original programming.

--Keach Hagey contributed to this article.

Write to Joe Flint at joe.flint@wsj.com

(END) Dow Jones Newswires

October 25, 2017 02:47 ET (06:47 GMT)