Original Comedies Coming from Amazon Studios: Your Feedback Decides Which Pilots Are Greenlit
It’s clear that industry leaders in web-based media are taking original content very seriously — even Netflix, traditionally a home to separately created content, has rolled up its sleeves and proactively produced its own series. Now, another VOD/rental giant has decided to personally fund and cultivate original media — Amazon Studios has just announced its Instant Video component will be the home to six upcoming comedy pilots. The pilots will be helmed by everything from Emmy-winners and to up-and-comers — perhaps most importantly, they will be free to watch by anyone on Amazon Instant Video, and it will be viewer feedback that determines which of the series are greenlit and permitted to move forward.
“Since launching our original series development effort, we have received more than 2,000 series ideas from creators around the world with all different backgrounds, and we are extremely excited to begin production on our very first set of pilots,” said Roy Price, Director of Amazon Studios. “The six comedy pilots will begin production shortly, and once they are complete, we plan to post the pilots on Amazon Instant Video for feedback. We want Amazon customers to help us decide which original series we should produce.”
The full-budget sponsorship of original content is one the most important developments in the reinvention and legitimization of the internet — both as an originating source of great material exclusively, as well as the cloud-based substitute for home video, cinema theaters, or television we already knew it could be. Moreover, though Amazon is letting you help decide which of the series gets the green light, and I’m suspecting this is a pretty sly move on their part. It’s honestly an appreciable model, for sure, but it’ll also guarantee stronger viewership — now that you can have something to say about it (to which they’ll listen), wouldn’t you want to tune in and exercise your voting rights?
Here are the descriptions for each new series getting a pilot from Amazon studios:
Alpha House was written by Academy Award nominee and Pulitzer-Prize winner Garry Trudeau (Doonesbury, Tanner ’88). Alpha House follows four senators who live together in a rented house in Washington DC.
Written by 12-time Emmy-winning comedy writer David Javerbaum (The Daily Show) and to be directed by Don Scardino (30 Rock), Browsers is a musical comedy set in contemporary Manhattan that follows four young people as they start their first jobs at a news website.
Written by Big Bang Theory co-stars Kevin Sussman and John Ross Bowie, Dark Minions is an animated workplace series about two slackers just trying to make a paycheck working an intergalactic warship. The pilot will be produced by Principato-Young (Reno 911).
The Onion Presents: The News
The Onion Presents: The News is a smart, fast-paced scripted comedy set behind the scenes of The Onion News Network that shows just how far journalists will go to stay at the top of their game. The Onion Presents: The News is from The Onion’s Will Graham & Dan Mirk (The Onion News Network, The Onion Sportsdome).
Supanatural is an animated comedy series about two outspoken divas who are humanity’s last line of defense against the supernatural, when they’re not working at the mall. The series, written by Lily Sparks, Price Peterson and Ryan Sandoval, will be produced by Jason Micallef (Butter) and Kristen Schaal (The Daily Show).
Those Who Can’t
Written by Andrew Orvedahl, Adam Cayton-Holland and Benjamin Roy (Grawlix), who were discovered through Amazon Studios online open door process, Those Who Can’t is a comedy about three juvenile, misfit teachers who are just as immature, if not more so, than the students they teach.
About Amazon Studios
Since its launch in November 2010, more than 12,000 movie scripts and 2,000 series pilot scripts have been submitted to Amazon Studios. The original series announced today will be added to the Amazon Studios series development slate, which currently boasts 14 additional projects that have been both submitted through the studios’ website and optioned for development.
Amazon Studios has previously had some problems it has since tried to rectify — scratch that, Amazon Studios initially posed a problem itself for independent screenwriters — regardless, Amazon finally producing its own material could mean many a big thing. The company is a multi-media behemoth, which has proven it can stake a serious claim in markets outside its traditional comfort zone. Don’t be surprised if, in ten years time, there’s enough original content on Amazon for it to constitute its own television-style microcosm.