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Kal Penn's 'Sunnyside' to Continue Streaming on Hulu Despite NBC Pulling It From TV

TheWrap logo TheWrap 10/18/2019 Tony Maglio and Reid Nakamura
Kal Penn et al. posing for the camera: Sunnyside © TheWrap Sunnyside

NBC pulled "Sunnyside" from its schedule earlier this week, but the Kal Penn comedy will continue streaming Season 1 on Hulu. That wasn't always a guarantee.

On Tuesday, NBC announced that it was pulling freshman sitcom "Sunnyside" from its schedule after just four episodes, banishing the remainder of the season to its digital platforms and effectively canceling the show.

NBC simultaneously announced that it had commissioned an additional episode, bringing the total number of installments for the season from 10 to 11. According to an individual close to the show's producers, the episode won't actually wrap up the run, which has an ending — it will instead be shoehorned into the existing story arc, around Episode 8 or 9.

The "Sunnyside" writing staff is scrambling to get that script ready for production, the individual tells us.

Hulu's deal with the networks give them next-day streaming rights to broadcast series, but once a show's linear run is canceled, the streaming service is not obligated to continue carrying it, two individuals with knowledge of these types of deals tell TheWrap. In the case of "Sunnyside," the show performed well enough on Hulu that the streaming service has decided to air the remaining episodes, ones which will never ride the broadcast airwaves but will be made available on the NBC app.

"Sunnyside" producers have been waiting to hear about the Hulu portion, which carries with it a huge potential audience, since the Tuesday announcement. They got the good news today, two people with knowledge of those conversations said.

According to our source close to the show's producers, the streamer is also eyeing the show for a potential second season as a Hulu original.

Representatives for Hulu did not immediately return TheWrap's request for comment on this story.

An NBC spokeswoman told TheWrap: "Hulu has been an integral part of NBC's digital strategy for the show from the beginning. We're thrilled to have partnered with them ensure the episodes are available both their platform and the NBC App."

Penn, who co-created the series with Matt Murray, has been tweeting optimistically about the future of the show since NBC's decision, teasing that he and the studio, Universal Television, were "shopping" it to an unnamed streaming service.

In addition to Penn, who also stars on the series, the cast of "Sunnyside" also includes Diana Maria Riva, Joel Kim Booster, Kiran Deol, Poppy Liu, Moses Storm and Samba Schutte. Executive producers include Penn and Matt Murray, along with "The Good Place" creator Michael Schur, David Miner and Dan Spilo.

"Sunnyside" has been lauded by some for its diverse cast, but the Nielsen ratings have not reflected that optimism. "Sunnyside" debuted last month with the smallest audience of any new series on the Big 4 broadcast networks. Ratings only declined from there.

Related video: Sunnyside's Kal Penn hopes to 'bring people together' through new sitcom on immigration [via EW]

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