Inside The New York Times' unique deal with FX and Hulu for its TV show, 'The Weekly,' which could be a blueprint for others in the industry (NYT)


The Weekly

  • The New York Times’ new TV show is airing on the US cable channel FX on Sundays starting in June, and hours later on streaming service Hulu.
  • It’s the kind of distribution deal we could start to see more of in the modern TV era. 
  • The deal offers the Times the scale of cable TV and a footing in the rapidly growing streaming-video space.
  • “This was kind of the best of both worlds,” Sam Dolnick, assistant managing editor at the Times, told Business Insider.
  • Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.

The New York Times’ licensing strategy for its first weekly TV news program, “The Weekly,” represents the kind of deals we might see more of in the modern TV era.

The series, “The Weekly,” will air on US cable channel FX on Sundays, starting Jun. 2 at 10 p.m., and hit the streaming service Hulu three hours later. 

The cable channel and streaming service are both licensing the show from the New York Times. It’s the first time FX is partnering with a streaming service to distribute a show. And, while Hulu is known for streaming new episodes of select series the day after they air on TV, the deal with FX for “The Weekly” marks the fastest a show will be coming to Hulu after being broadcast on traditional TV. 

The Times shopped the series to distributors in Los Angeles before landing on FX and Hulu. The two distributors then reached a deal to distribute the show amongst themselves.

For the Times, the strategy offers scale and a footing in the rapidly growing streaming-TV space.

“Cable has a giant reach in tens of millions of homes, which was quite tantalizing to us, but we all know the world is going towards streaming and so it felt necessary that we be there as well,” Sam Dolnick, the assistant managing editor at the New York Times who is overseeing the publication’s push into TV, told Business Insider. “This was kind of the best of both worlds.”

The deal provided the Times with a “big budget” for the show, which was produced with production company Left/Right, Dolnick said. The publication declined to reveal the size of the budget. 

The Times was also able to remain editorially independent, though it took notes on the series from both FX and Hulu. FX, for example, asked the team to step back and explain the country of Tajikistan in an episode where reporter Rukmini Callimachi traveled there to uncover what had happened to two Americans who were killed in a terrorist attack. 

“Their most consistent notes, which are really well taken and we tried to address nearly every time, have been, slow down, add context, remember your viewers are not necessarily people who read the front page of the New York Times,” Dolnick said.

Read Business Insider’s full interview with Sam Dolnick on The Times’ push into prestige TV.

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