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Marvel TV boss explains why next big show, Runaways, is a Hulu exclusive, not Netflix

The idea was to get in on the ground floor

Marvel TV has worked with multiple television networks over the years, from ABC (owned by Marvel’s parent company, Disney) to Fox, FX and Netflix.

Of all its partnerships, it’s the ongoing Defenders series with Netflix, which encompasses Daredevil, Luke Cage, Jessica Jones, Iron Fist, The Punisher and The Defenders that has become most iconic. Marvel and Netflix have both called their joint series very successful (without any hard numbers it’s impossible to say for certain that they’re blockbusters for Netflix or Marvel), which is why it was surprising when Marvel announced it was taking its new show to Hulu.

Marvel TV’s next series, The Runaways, follows a group of teens who discover their parents are part of an exclusive, villainous club. When the teens come into their own powers, they decide to band together and stop their evil parents from carrying out the wickedest of deeds.

When asked why Marvel TV decided to go with Hulu instead of bringing The Runaways to Netflix as the seventh series within the smaller Marvel universe, Jeph Loeb said it was an easy decision. The head of Marvel TV told Polygon that Hulu had been interested in developing a project with Marvel TV for a while and The Runaways seemed like a perfect opportunity to do it. Since the show focused on teenagers and was a little lighter than Marvel’s various series with Netflix, Loeb said it felt like a fresh start for the studio on a new network.

“What we do with every show is we look at where the best place is,” Loeb said. “We absolutely had a lot on our plate at Netflix, but wasn’t the reason for it. We were very excited about the possibility of joining a network that was young and growing in the same way that when we went to Netflix it was young and growing on the original side.

“It really feels like we’re in the right place at the right time with the right show.”

Loeb said that while Marvel was willing to take a chance on Hulu (a company that Marvel’s parent company, Disney, owns a 30 percent stake in), it was the success of The Handmaid’s Tale that made the studio feel even more confident in its decision. The Handmaid’s Tale was Hulu’s first big successful original series that Loeb said turned the streaming service into something a few people had into a platform everyone was talking about.

“The fact that as we’re coming around the clubhouse turn with Handmaid’s Tale erupting and becoming part of the culture is huge,” Loeb said. “People who previously might have been going ‘what is Hulu?’ are now going ‘I have Hulu’.”

Hulu has begun to make even more strides, adding both a plethora of original series and licensing exclusive content from big networks like NBCUniversal and Fox. A conversation that has started to take form on Twitter is people turning away from Netflix more often to open up Hulu. All of these are important factors for Loeb and Marvel TV, who Loeb said are very impressed with the relationship they’ve built with Hulu.

The Runaways, which is being run by teen drama giants Josh Schwartz and Stephanie Savage (The O.C.), will premiere on Nov. 21 with the first three episodes.

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