Emmy-Nominated Hulu Original Behind the Mask: Season 2

We are thrilled to reveal that season two of the Emmy®-nominated Hulu Original Behind the Mask will feature one of the team’s most valuable players, the San Francisco Giants mascot, “Lou Seal” – among three more mascots who will uncover what it’s really like to balance real life between the pressures of game day.

Set to debut in February 2015, the hit docu-series will tell the story of four real-life mascots: the veteran Major League Baseball mascot, “Lou Seal”; a freelance mascot performer with autism whose many gigs range from “The Easter Bunny” to “Bucky the Blood Drop”; the show’s first female performer, Gilbert Arizona High School mascot “The Tiger”; and minor league hockey mascot “Tux” of the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins, who returns from season one to continue his lifelong dream of going professional.

In its first season, Behind the Mask won over audiences and critics alike through the captivating stories its real-life cast of characters had to share, each with their own personal stories of juggling their everyday lives with their larger-than-life mascot personas. The Los Angeles Times called the series a “a triumph of storytelling,” while Forbes magazine described it as “an example of online content that doesn’t just match the quality of regular television and cable programing, it surpasses it.” NPR simply dubbed it “amazingly gripping television.”

About the Season 2 Mascots

aho-btm2-Lou

Joel, dubbed the Cal Ripken of mascots, has never missed a single game in his 15 years as the ever-popular “Lou Seal,” and dreams of his team winning another World Series. He is married, with one 2-year-old daughter and a second one on the way. This season, Joel will need to find a balance between his two most important commitments: keeping his attendance streak as “Lou Seal,” and being the best father he can be to his children.

aho-btm2-chris

Chris is a 25 year-old freelance mascot who struggles with his autism and severe anxiety. His passion for the job is in no small part due to the fact that Chris finds inner strength and confidence when inside a mascot suit, a mask that minimizes eye contact and removes the expectation that he has to speak. Chris’ mother and father are instrumental in his life and Behind the Mask will take viewers on Chris’ emotional journey as he relishes in the small victories and progresses towards real growth and independence, one suit at a time.

aho-btm2-Navey

The first female mascot to appear on the show, Navey is the embodiment of her “Tiger” character – fierce, confident and the king of her jungle: Gilbert High School. This season, she is competing to become the National High School Mascot of the Year and has her sights set on becoming a pro-mascot when she grows up. Navey is a tomboy with a sparkling personality, a zest for life and an absolute love of all things Gilbert High Athletics. While incredibly athletic herself, she chose to become a mascot so she could be on every field and every court and be a meaningful part of all teams at her high school.

aho-btm2-Tux

Returning from Season 1, Chad is giving it one last shot to make it to the pros. In his efforts to become a professional mascot, he’s sacrificed a great deal, including moving away from Canada and his teenage son Cody, whom he rarely gets to see. Chad wonders if he’s been selfish by chasing his dreams and constantly struggles with the inner turmoil revolving around his family and his pursuit of his own goals.


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Q&A With
Richard Frankel​

Global Creative Director, Spotify

What does the future of personalization look like?

Richard: I think it’s all down to trust. We're going to see more opportunity on platforms like Hulu and Spotify where the user trusts us.

That’s really interesting. Another area we wanted to explore is podcasts, and their relationship to video. For example, the show Homecoming is an adaptation of a podcast; the podcast Office Ladies is a spin-off from a TV show. Why do you think the two formats work so well together?

Richard: Anything at all that drives conversation in pop culture, and TV does a lot of that, is worthy of consideration in a podcast environment. Any of these conversations can become multiple audio streams that evolve with experts, interviews, and all kinds of narrative threads that can flesh out characters, or narrative development, or whatever's happening in those shows.

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Q&A With
Gadi Amit

Founder, New Deal Design

Gadi: The development of serendipity in recommendations is very important. An analogy I use is that of a restaurant. If you go to a good restaurant, you don’t always want to see what you’re looking for. You’re looking for surprises. It’s not the expected, it’s the unexpected. You trust in the restaurant’s atmosphere. You don’t know exactly what you’re getting, but you trust their creativity and that you’ll enjoy whatever they serve you.

Do you think it is possible for a streaming service to become that “restaurant” - a trusted source of serendipitous recommendations?

Gadi: I absolutely do. But it is difficult. It’s a long game. It requires them to build trustworthiness with audiences through genuine content recommendations over the years.

Q&A With
Gandi Amit

Found New Deal Design

Gandi: The development of serendipity in recommendations is very important. An analogy I use is that of a restaurant. If you go to a good restaurant, you don’t always want to see what you’re looking for. You’re looking for surprises. It’s not the expected, it’s the unexpected. You trust in the restaurant’s atmosphere. You don’t know exactly what you’re getting, but you trust their creativity and that you’ll enjoy whatever they serve you.

Do you think it is possible for a streaming service to become that “restaurant” -- a trusted source of serendipitous recommendations?

Gandi: I absolutely do. But it is difficult. It’s a long game. It requires them to build trustworthiness with audiences through genuine content recommendations over the years.

Q&A With
Jonathan Miranda

Emerging Strategy Principal, Salesforce

Another expectation among younger generations seems to be personalization. How are you seeing this play out in media?

Jonathan: If you go into the world of advertising and marketing, customized, personalized advertising is more important than ever before. There’s a realization that eight years of funny commercials that we’ve showed everybody probably for the fourth time, doesn’t work anymore. So there’s a lot of companies moving towards specialized advertising.

How does this type of personalization translate to personalizing content beyond advertising? Who’s going to predict what people will want to watch, and do it first?

Jonathan: It’s not about being the first to predict what people want to watch. It's different. It’s about getting viewers to browse. You want to show them the value of all of the money Hulu has spent and the great range of TV and film for them to choose from.

Q&A With
Julie DeTragila

Head of Research & Insights, Hulu

Julie: There are vast differences between the way under 35-year-olds watch TV and over 35-year-olds watch TV. I grew up in a world where there were maybe 10 channels, and my viewing changed as technology and options changed. Younger viewers started from a really different place. Everything has always been on-demand. Anything they ever wanted to see was available to them, and they therefore have different expectations for TV.

How so?

Julie: One of the things we found with Gen Z is that they really want to be immersed in something for a long time. They want to have content that they can live with for a while; it’s like this long, seamless storytelling. They’ll knock off a couple episodes a night and it will last a couple of months. And then they’ll re-watch it a million times over.

What other shifts have you seen happen-with Gen Z but also more broadly-with the rise of streaming?

Julie: For years, television had to deliver a specific rating. Shows had to appeal broadly or else they wouldn’t survive. And those days are long gone because, with streaming services, shows can reach hundreds of thousands of people or tens of thousands of people and still be considered successful. There’s more experimentation with the types of content; we’re not locked into an hour, a half hour, a comedy, etc. The industry can create really niche shows to appeal to niche audiences, but also simultaneously create big, broad experiences that are shared by millions.

Q&A With
Larissa May

Founder, #HalftheStory

Your work focuses a lot on Gen Zs who, for better or worse, are dubbed “digital natives.” How do you think a generation of digitally native audiences view digital content differently than older generations?

Larissa: I think for young people digital content is a way they’re able to explore their own identities through the story... They want to see themselves and their stories in the content that they’re engaging with.

Tell us a little more about this digital content as Gen Z’s form of self-reflection.

Larissa: Digital content is sort of like a currency. I find that young people want to watch things that their friends are watching so that they can have conversations about it. For example, with Euphoria, young people were just kind of in love with the characters. It was very timely and a bit provocative, and then there was a way that they could see themselves in these stories and connect with their friends about the topics and ideas in the show.

And then also they could almost embody these characters in their own life. I really do think that the TV shows that young people are buying into are actually influencing their culture and their trends and even their language that they’re using.