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Amazon Prime Instant Video to Stream Comedy Pilots

20 Dec, 2012 By: Erik Gruenwedel

Pilots represent the SVOD service’s first original programming

Amazon Studios Dec. 20 said it has approved the production of pilot episodes for six original comedy series to be screened on Amazon Prime Instant Video. Pilots receiving the best viewer response will go into full-season production.

Completed seasons will be available to Prime members through Prime Instant Video and LoveFilm Instant in the United Kingdom.

The pilots were selected from thousands of submissions Amazon Studios solicited online from anyone interested in creating episodic programming. The open call, which circumvents Hollywood’s typical agent, showrunner protocol of content production, attracted industry veterans and unknowns.

The comedies represent the first original programming for Amazon's SVOD service, underscoring a trend spearheaded by Netflix's production of original series "Lilyhammer," "House of Cards," "Hemlock Grove," "Arrested Development" and "Orange Is the New Black." Cable networks HBO, Showtime, Starz and AMC have popularized original programming as a lure to attracting and retaining monthly subscribers.

Amazon pilot “Those Who Can’t” is written by Andrew Orvedahl, Adam Cayton-Holland and Benjamin Roy (Grawlix), who were discovered in Amazon Studios' ongoing open call. It is a comedy about three juvenile, misfit teachers who are just as immature, if not more so, than the students they teach.

Other pilots include “Alpha House,” 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 Emmy-winning comedy writer David Javerbaum (“The Daily Show”) and directed by Don Scardino (“30 Rock”), 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” is written by “Big Bang Theory” co-stars Kevin Sussman and John Ross Bowie. It’s an animated workplace series about two slackers just trying to make a paycheck working an intergalactic warship.

“The Onion Presents: The News” is a fast-paced scripted comedy set behind the scenes of The Onion News Network that shows how far journalists will go to stay at the top of their game. The pilot is from The Onion’s Will Graham and 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”).

“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,” Roy Price, director of Amazon Studios, said in a statement. “The comedy pilots will begin production shortly. We want Amazon customers to help us decide which original series we should produce.”

About the Author: Erik Gruenwedel

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