EXCLUSIVE: Hulu is developing a half-hour dramedy in the world of technology and dating, based on a New Yorker short story from Kate Folk. The author is writing the series with Catastrophe co-creator Sharon Horgan with Modern Family’s Jason Winer exec producing.
The streamer has put Out There into development from 20th Television, where Winer has a deal, in association with Merman and Small Dog Picture Company.
It tells the story of Meg, a lonely and single woman in San Francisco, who thinks she’s found the rarest of unicorns in Roger, a disarmingly handsome, attentive and empathetic man. But she’ll soon discover he’s a blot – a fake man programmed to steal her identity, ruin her reputation and destroy her life.
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The half-hour series is set in a world where technology has been weaponized to exploit our deepest fears and desires. It explores intimacy, modern dating and how much we’d be willing to sacrifice for a genuine connection.
Out There is based on Folk’s eponymous New Yorker story, which was published in March.
“I wrote my first blot story a few years ago, during one of my forays into online dating. I know many people enjoy using dating apps, but at the time they felt to me like another alienating offshoot of the tech industry that dominates San Francisco, where I’ve lived since 2008,” Folk said in the New Yorker about her story. “My work often explores the notion of the uncanny and how technology, especially in the form of mediated communication and artificial intelligence, can tap into our deepest societal and personal anxieties.”
It is latest Hulu project for Horgan, who exec produces and features in comedy series This Way Up, created by Aisling Bea, for the streamer and Channel 4. She also created HBO’s Sarah Jessica Parker series Divorce and Housebroken, an animated series that received a series order at Fox last year, and she starred alongside Kristin Scott Thomas in feature film Military Wives. The Pulling creator also signed a first-look deal at Apple at the end of last year.
Winer, meanwhile, re-upped his overall deal at 20th Television last year. The prolific TV director and producer, who runs Small Dog Picture Company, directed the pilot and numerous episodes of Modern Family and recently exec produced ABC’s Single Parents and NBC’s Perfect Harmony.
Folk, a 2019-2021 Wallace Stegner Fellow in fiction at Stanford University who has also written for The New York Times Magazine, Granta and McSweeney’s Quarterly, is set to publish her story collection, also titled Out There via Random House and Hodder Studio.
Horgan, Folk and Winer all exec produce Out There with Kira Carstensen and Clelia Mountford exec producing for Merman and Jon Radler exec producing for Small Dog Picture Company.