Why Marvel's Ghost Rider TV Show Went To Hulu Instead Of ABC

With Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. bowing out after Season 7, Marvel TV's influence on the fandom is mostly limited to teen-focused adventures on Freeform's Cloak & Dagger and Hulu's Runaways. But that's all changing with the huge wave of new programming coming from Marvel and Hulu, with Gabriel Luna's flame-headed Ghost Rider leading the pack with his own standalone series.

Fans were surprised to learn that Ghost Rider would be heading to Hulu rather than ABC, where he was first introduced as part of Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.'s fourth season. (For now, the two shows will be completely separate.) Marvel TV head Jeph Loeb offered up some insight into how that decision came together. According to Loeb:

No, we never intended for it to be on ABC because we wanted to do a show that was more mature. Look, it has the weight in the best way that there had been a Daredevil movie, so that when there was a Daredevil television show, people knew the name. There was a lot of weight that came with the Daredevil movie that we had to shake off and prove ourselves that we could make a television show that became what it was. The good news is people love Gabe, people love the way that character works, the feature film levels special effects – and the part that’s really exciting is we’ll push it further. It will have a little fun that folks will really dig.

That makes a lot of sense, right? For the most part, Ghost Rider is a half-demon bent on revenge, with the fires of Hell behind him. Not exactly the character most likely to share a primetime schedule with black-ish and Grey's Anatomy.

On Hulu, though, there aren't nearly the same number or assortment of broadcast standards that would limit Marvel TV's storytelling abilities where Ghost Rider is concerned. Hulu has featured such dark and complicated tales as The Path, The Handmaid's Tale and The Act, each of which likely wouldn't have aired on ABC (or any other major network) in their present forms. A Ghost Rider TV show would have had a hell of a time trying to blaze past the censors and other flag-raisers.

Jeph Loeb told Deadline that the topic of Ghost Rider came up naturally enough once conversations started happening more between Hulu and Marvel TV.

We were talking to them, and they started scratching because when you look at the success that they’ve had with Castle Rock and the world of terror. Something that really interested us and interested them, and we always knew that we were going to do something with Ghost Rider, we were just waiting for the right place to put it.

A solid point through and through, considering Ghost Rider will likely hit upon some darker genre tropes that would likely be too much for ABC. The network does occasionally handle spooky programming, such as the upcoming mystery thriller Emergence, but ABC isn't so much an incubator of pure horror or terror.

Jeph Loeb spoke about how the Ghost Rider series will be one that kicks off a subsection of heroes that taps into that darker section of the Marvel Universe, which touches upon another project that's in the works for Hulu. In Loeb's words:

Then we started having the same conversation, which was there is in the comic book world the Spirit of Vengeance, and they are this sort of unusual group of characters, which involve Ghost Rider, which involve Helstrom, which involve Helstrom’s sister, Anna. We suddenly saw that there were three or four shows that we could put together that we now refer to as Adventure into Fear.

We're likely still a ways away from seeing what Marvel TV and Hulu have cooking in the Adventures of Fear department, but hopefully the various productions will get underway so that fans can dive into the madness sooner rather than later. In the meantime, though, there are more shows to look forward to that tap into lighter subject matter.

Marvel TV and Hulu are currently invested in a partnership that will likely go even deeper than the on that was formed at Netflix to bring the street-level Defenders heroes to live-action TV. Currently, one part of the plan will center on a host of animated series, such as Howard the Duck with Kevin Smith, M.O.D.O.K. with Patton Oswalt, Tigra and Dazzler with Chelsea Handler, and Hit-Monkey with Office Christmas Party filmmakers Josh Gordon and Will Speck.

Are you guys ready for Ghost Rider most of all, or do any of these other Marvel TV Hulu projects sound more exciting? Let us know in the comments below and stay tuned for more from CinemaBlend.

Nick Venable
Assistant Managing Editor

Nick is a Cajun Country native and an Assistant Managing Editor with a focus on TV and features. His humble origin story with CinemaBlend began all the way back in the pre-streaming era, circa 2009, as a freelancing DVD reviewer and TV recapper.  Nick leapfrogged over to the small screen to cover more and more television news and interviews, eventually taking over the section for the current era and covering topics like Yellowstone, The Walking Dead and horror. Born in Louisiana and currently living in Texas — Who Dat Nation over America’s Team all day, all night — Nick spent several years in the hospitality industry, and also worked as a 911 operator. If you ever happened to hear his music or read his comics/short stories, you have his sympathy.