Picture This

Amazon Taking Its Time With Scripted Series

2/12/2014 12:05 PM

Amazon Studios recently announced the rollout of 10 original pilots to its subscribers in an effort to find its own scripted series hit, à la Netflix’s House of Cards.

The streaming service said viewer feedback would help determine which shows will go into full-season production and roll out to Amazon Prime members. Candidates for full-season rollouts are five adult-targeted shows: a police story (Bosch); an apocalyptic drama (The After); a sports-themed show (The Rebels); a dark comedy (Transparent); and a sex, drugs and classical-music ensemble (Mozart in the Jungle).

This is the second batch of pilots Amazon has prereleased to subscribers. Last summer, it dropped 14 pilots that yielded five series: political comedy Alpha House, with John Goodman; Silicon Valley-themed Betas; and three kids’ series. Amazon has not yet said whether any of those shows will see a sophomore season.

No one knows how many of the 10 new Amazon pilots will actually go into series production.

Already, though, Amazon’s biggest subscription video-on-demand competitors are out of the blocks with new, original scripted series for the year.

Sony Pictures Television-owned Crackle green-lighted new seasons of Cleaners and Chosen to air in 2014, as well as a movie sequel to the 2001 comedy Joe Dirt.

Hulu Plus is slated to premiere Deadbeat, a supernatural-themed co-production with Lionsgate. The $7.99/month subscription service will also return some shows launched in 2013, including The Wrong Mans; the Seth Meyers-produced animated superhero series The Awesomes; Hispanictargeted drama East Los High and Western comedy Quick Draw.

Netflix on Valentine’s Day will launch the second season of Emmy-winning House of Cards and has already green-lighted a third season for the political drama. Netflix also renewed the Golden Globe-nominated Orange Is the New Black and horror-themed series Hemlock Grove for a second season, and picked up Starz’s Marco Polo project, to launch later this year.

Amazon’s decision to let viewers determine its original programming lineup may be a good strategy to build viewer loyalty. But the service’s deliberate pace in rolling out full seasons of shows makes it difficult to keep up with the over-the-top Joneses on the original-programming front.

September