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TV audiences love to get invested in true crime series, even when the quality is not always held to high standards. That just makes Hulu's ongoing anthology series The Act stand out all the more impressively. Buttressed by stunning performances from its two leads, The Act has earned the wide-eyed attention of many viewers for its first five episodes, and it sounds like the show is already making waves as one of Hulu's most popular original series.
Hulu's CEO Randy Freer offered up a meaningful, if not scientifically ascertained, tidbit about The Act's success rate while speaking at Disney Investor Day (via Deadline).
It has driven more new subscribers to series than any other Hulu original in the first month.
Admittedly, that sentence isn't the most intuitive for everyone, so here's what he's saying. The subscribers-to-series measurement covers when someone signs up for a new Hulu subscription and then watches a show within the first 24 hours of activation.
The reason why that measurement is more theoretical than 100% provable is because no one can truly confirm the "why" behind every new Hulu user's buy-in. However, there's still much circumstantial evidence to be taken from it. For example, if someone signs up for Hulu today and binges the first five episodes of The Act without a break, but doesn't watch any other shows, it's no stretch of the imagination that Patricia Arquette and Joey King's twisted mother-daughter tale inspired the choice.
It's no small victory for The Act to already stand out as the big winner for subscriber-to-series stats, in any case. Though Hulu's catalog of original series isn't as robust as that of Netflix's, the company has taken major strides in the past three years. It has superhero action in Marvel's Runaways, socially relevant comedy in Shrill and PEN15, Stephen King connections in Castle Rock, and one of the most awards-happy drama debuts with The Handmaid's Tale.
Any of those projects, or even the Fyre Fraud documentary, might have seemed capable of driving bigger immediate views from new subscribers than The Act, but it looks like true crime is the big winner for Hulu. And for viewers, too, considering the drama offers such a gripping and disturbing take on the relationship between Dee Dee Blanchard and her daughter Gypsy Rose. As well as Gypsy's exceedingly more dangerous relationship with Calum Worthy's Nick.
The Act was co-created by Michelle Dean, the acclaimed journalist whose lengthy Buzzfeed article on the crime was bought up by Hulu in 2017, and Nick Antosca, the horror-minded author and TV writer who created Syfy's can't-rave-about-it-enough anthology Channel Zero. The show's success has already seemingly inspired the acquisition of another true crime project, the limited series The Dropout, which will star Kate McKinnon as the unique-voiced and disgraced entrepreneur Elizabeth Holmes. I'd bet (and hope) that more are on the way.
Were you, dear readers, some of the many that signed up for Hulu just to watch The Act? If so, and even if not, still tell your friends to check it out! That way, they'll be in full understanding whenever The Act gets all the Emmy nominations.
The Act Season 1 is currently streaming on Hulu, with new episodes releasing every Wednesday at 12:01 a.m. PT.