Hulu is expanding its foray into the world of original programming with two new shows set to debut before summer, reports the Wall Street Journal. Battleground, scheduled to begin in February, will be a 13-episode scripted comedy about a not-exactly-functional Senate campaign. Don't expect a low-budget production: Hulu execs said the show's costs would align with those of cable shows ... which can run as much as a few million dollars per episode.
Hulu will also air a travelogue program made by indie veteran Richard Linklater this spring, and bring back a second season of Morgan Spurlock's A Day in the Life. All told, Hulu intends to spend about half a billion dollars on content in 2012, though most of that will be spent on licensing, not producing, shows. "One thing that we have been asking ourselves is why is there a vibrant atmosphere around independent film, but not independent TV?" said a Hulu executive. "A big part of it is there hasn't been a great distribution mechanism." (Read more Hulu stories.)