When Does Hulu Add New Episodes?

By Nathan E. Baker

This article discusses the three types of users who access Hulu content, the free user, a Hulu+ user who has a Hulu account and pay-TV users.

New episodes from your favorite television series appear on Hulu as fast as the contract with the network allows, and each network has a different contract. Availability of the newest episode depends also on your Hulu subscription or television service provider. Pay-TV subscribers and Hulu+ members see most new episodes the day after they air on the network. Free Hulu users may wait seven to eight days or longer for a new episode, depending on the program and the network.

Three Hulus in One

Availability Notes

Availability notes tell you important information about your program, like the number of episodes available and when a new episode can be viewed.

Examples of Network Contract Limitations

FOX treats some programs differently depending on your Hulu subscription. Hulu+ members and pay-TV subscribers can see most new episodes the day after they air. Free Hulu subscribers may wait up to eight days before they see a new episode. There are exceptions to these rules for some programs. The latest episodes of So You Think You Can Dance, for instance, don't stream on Hulu until 30 days after the airdate. You can find more information about FOX programs on the FOX show availability FAQ) page at Hulu.

ABC, ABC Family and ABC News programs follow similar rules. Pay-TV and Hulu+ subscribers can view some new episodes the day after they air and free Hulu subscribers can view new episodes seven days later -- eight days after the original air date, depending on the program. Visit the ABC, ABC Family and ABC News shows on Hulu page at Hulu for detailed information.

Content from CBS is limited to the CBS library of programs that are no longer producing new episodes. This content includes entire seasons of many classic television programs like I Love Lucy and Star Trek. Hulu does not have the rights to air new CBS programs. Entertainment Tonight is the only exception to this rule. CBS allows Hulu to stream new clips of Entertainment Tonight episodes the day after they air. You can learn more about CBS content on the CBS shows on Hulu page.

Hulu provides streaming video for three kinds of subscribers.

  • Free subscribers watch Hulu at no charge. Free subscribers don't have to create a Hulu account or log in to view content.
  • Hulu+ members pay a fee. A Hulu+ member can watch all content available to free subscribers plus additional content.
  • Pay-TV subscribers use a service such as AMC.com or SyFy.com, or they have a cable TV provider such as Verizon FiOS or Brighthouse. Pay-TV subscribers can use Hulu to watch content available to free subscribers plus content provided by their service or services.

Your type of subscription plus the network contract controls content availability. Free subscribers, for example, often wait the longest to see new episodes and new content. Hulu+ members see new content faster, and they have more past episodes available as well as movies and content not available to free subscribers. Pay-TV subscribers can use Hulu to view some programs offered by their television provider as well as free Hulu content.

Since each network is different and subscription levels play a role in content availability, the only way to know for sure about when a new episode of your favorite television program becomes available is to visit the program's main page, where you will find the Availability notes.