Looking for a more potent weapon to wield against its primary streaming rival, Netflix, Amazon has hired the co-creator of the reality TV shows Survivor and The Apprentice as part of an effort to “make their House of Cards.” According to TechCrunch, a source familiar with the matter has confirmed both the hiring of the co-creator of the popular reality shows, Conrad Riggs, as well as the fact that Amazon hopes Riggs’ experience could spawn a much-needed hit for its Prime Instant Video service.
To be clear, it would appear the House of Cards quote is in reference not to the show’s thematic content, but its immense success. Since its debut, the political thriller has helped Netflix gain not only a loyal viewership for its own studio productions, but also credibility with the traditional TV industry powers that be, and the public at large. Amazon apparently came to the conclusion that Riggs’ knack for crafting hit reality shows makes him a prime candidate for putting out an original series that could elevate its programming to the next level.
There are hardly any specifics related to which project (or projects) Riggs will be working on at this point, so we don’t know if Amazon is planning on breaking into reality territory. Regardless, the producer certainly has his work cut out. Simply churning out another House of Cards – a tentpole for Netflix’s growing studio, and winner of the first Emmy for a Web-based series – is much easier said than done. Neither of Netflix’s biggest competitors in the market, Amazon, or Hulu Plus, have hosted similar successes, and both services have found the goal of raising original projects from the ranks of online obscurity to stand with traditional TV programming tough going.
In related news, Netflix has pulled in another score for its ever-expanding vault of unoriginal programming. The service procured exclusive streaming rights to the UK hit, Happy Valley, a six-part BBC mini-series that debuted across the pond earlier this year to impressive ratings. Netflix will premiere the show exclusively in the U.S. and Canada on August 20, according to coverage from CNET.