Amazon announces six new original TV shows

Not ready to get left behind by Netflix and Hulu, Amazon has announced that it, too, will produce new exclusive content for subscribers to enjoy, but with a little bit of an American Idol-esque twist: This time, viewers will get to decide which of six potential pilots will be made into a full series.

Amazon Studios, the original film and series development and production arm of the Seattle-based Internet giant, will produce pilots for six different original comedy series from both well-established and up-and-coming creators. Each pilot is available on Amazon Instant Video for free, with viewer feedback deciding which show will get a full series order from the company. The completed series, however, will be exclusive to just Amazon Prime customers in the United States and LoveFilm customers in the United Kingdom.

Roy Price, Director of Amazon Studios, explained that the six pilots were chosen from literally thousands of submissions following the company’s request for material back in May. “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,” he said in the company’s official announcement of the pilots, adding that the company is “extremely excited to begin production on our very first set of pilots.” 

The talent behind the pilots is surprisingly impressive – including Pulitzer-Prize winning Doonesbury creator Garry Trudeau, an Emmy-winning writer from The Daily Show, cast members from The Big Bang Theory, and a new series from The Onion – suggesting that choosing between the six shows may be harder than one might initially think. According to the May request, each of the creative teams behind the pilots received $10,000 in payment for the pilot, with an additional $55,000, plus five percent from any merchandise on top of other potential royalties and bonuses, should the show get picked up for a series run.

The six pilots up for consideration are:

  • Alpha House: 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 D.C.
  • Browsers: 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.
  • Dark Minions: 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 NewsThe 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).
  • SupanaturalSupanatural 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.

Amazon Studios is continuing to invite submissions for new series.

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