Commercial Interruption

The voice of Hulu has been fired

July 11, 2014
Obsession
Glass
July 11, 2014

The man who for six years assured binge-watchers that “the following program is brought to you with limited commercial interruption,” coming to be known as the voice of Hulu, has intoned his last advertisement for the streaming video service.

Any Hulu viewer will recognize his rich, sonorous voice…

That’s voice-over actor Dave Fennoy, who says he was abruptly fired by Hulu last month. “I’m baffled,” Fennoy told Quartz. Hulu, he said, didn’t provide an explanation.  “Not a word, not a note, nothing. They just told me, you’re out.”

People come and go at any company, but Fennoy—his voice, at least, if not his face or his name—was perhaps Hulu’s most recognizable employee. His 11-syllable preamble to ads on the site could quickly get inside the head of someone watching multiple episodes in one sitting. The message, known in the TV industry as a bumper, is also notable because Hulu is regarded for creative forms of video advertising, like letting people choose which ads they want to watch or having a single sponsor per episode. (Thus the need for Fennoy’s bumper, “The following program is brought to you with limited commercial interruption by…”)

Hulu spokeswoman Shannon Prior confirmed that Fennoy will no longer contribute to the site, though his old recordings may continue to play. She said she couldn’t discuss why Hulu and Fennoy had parted ways.

Fennoy has been working as a voice-over actor since 1990. His voice can be heard in animated TV shows like Johnny Quest and in advertisements for McDonald’s, Lexus, and AT&T. He also frequently lends his voice to award shows and is currently the voice of Lee Everett in The Walking Dead video game. He started recording for Hulu soon after the service launched in 2007 following a chance encounter at a party.

In the month since Fennoy was let go, some of his fans have launched sporadic Twitter campaigns urging Hulu to bring him back.

“All I can say is thank you to the fans, it’s greatly appreciated,” Fennoy said. He doesn’t expect Hulu to change its mind but would like an explanation for the firing: “Why would you not at least say, ‘Hey, thanks, man. You’ve been with us for a long time. You’ve been with us since the very beginning. Thanks for everything.'”

Still, he said, “Life goes on. My voice will be heard again.”

Check out Glass for more on the future of TV.

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