Americans don't have a premium on romance and drama. For proof, look no further than Hulu, which started airing Australian soap opera Neighbours on July 14, 2014.
"Neighbours provides a delicious daily dose of Australian sunshine to soap-opera fans, and thanks to Hulu, we're coming to the U.S. at a perfect entry point for first-time viewers," said Jeff Siegel, VP Digital Distribution and Home Entertainment at FremantleMedia.
The soap, which is wildly popular in its native Australia and the United Kingdom, focuses on the residents of Ramsay Street in the fictional Australian suburb of Erinsborough. Life on Ramsay Street seems quiet on the surface, but each 22-minute episode reveals the intrigue, heartbreak, and scandal that fills the lives of the street's residents.
Hulu will air five episodes of the show each week on both the free Hulu and the paid Hulu-Plus at http://www.hulu.com/neighbours. The episodes will appear on Hulu four weeks after their Australian broadcast.
The U.S. premiere week marks the beginning of a number of new story arcs, making it an ideal jumping-on point for new viewers. Paula Abdul will guest star on the Friday, July 18, episode.
One of the show's former stars, Ashleigh Brewer (Kate Ramsay), now appears as Ivy Forrester on The Bold and the Beautiful.
Neighbours is the longest-running and most successful Australian drama of all time. The show was first broadcast in Australia in 1985 and has since had over 6,900 episodes produced.
This isn't Hulu's first time bringing non-American soaps to its U.S. audience. The site also shows British soaps Hollyoaks and Coronation Street alongside American favorites General Hospital and Days of our Lives. Hulu also aired the short-lived Prospect Park web-based versions of All My Children and One Life to Live.
Several of the members of the cast of Neighbours will appear on the September 5 episode of Soap Central Live to talk about the show and its arrival in the States.