Amazon is finally prepared to fully jump into the world of original programming with the debut of Alpha House and Betas coming later this month.
After an exhaustive process that included shooting pilots, and then letting customers vote on which ones they liked enough to go on to a full season order, Amazon will launch Alpha House – the story of four senators living in a house together – on Nov. 15, and Betas, which focuses on 20-somethings in Silicon Valley trying to launch a new social network, on Nov. 22. The plan calls for the first three episodes of each series to be launched on their debut days and will be available to all Amazon customers. Subsequent episodes of each will be released one per week and will only be available to Amazon Prime subscribers. Roy Price, Director of Amazon Studios, said of this release model, "We're constantly experimenting and trying new things—and we're eager to hear customers' feedback on this model."
While it's good to see Amazon finally getting these shows off the ground, the release schedule does definitely fly in the face of the successful model Netflix has been using where it drops all episodes of its original series at once. Price said of this decision that it was an effort to build up anticipation and discussion around the series. Considering Amazon is not known for original content yet, this actually may not be the worst idea for the company.
Amazon is currently working on a new grouping of pilot shows, so it appears that the retailer is in this for the long haul. Now it is just down to seeing if the quality is good enough for them to continue trying.
Amazon Original Series Alpha House and Betas to Premiere This Month
Alpha House to debut November 15; Betas to debut November 22
The first three episodes of each series will be available for free for all Amazon customers, with additional episodes available each week for Amazon Prime members
SEATTLE–(BUSINESS WIRE)–Nov. 4, 2013– (NASDAQ: AMZN)—Are you an Alpha or a Beta? You can decide this month when the four senators-turned-unlikely-roommates of Alpha House and the endearing, young tech industry entrepreneurs of Betas come back to Amazon in 11-episode series. Alpha House debuts November 15 and Betas will follow on November 22.
The first three episodes of each show will be available to all Amazon customers for free via Amazon Instant Video on Kindle Fire, iPad, iPhone, Roku, Xbox 360, PlayStation 3, Wii and Wii U, and other connected devices, and online at www.amazon.com/AIV. After that, one episode of each show will become available weekly, exclusively on Prime Instant Video. Customers who are not already Prime members can sign up for a trial at www.amazon.com/prime. Those who haven't already viewed the pilot episodes—or those who want to relive them ahead of the series debuts—can access them now on any Amazon Instant Video app or at www.amazon.com/AIV.
"Based on customers' enthusiastic response to the pilot episodes we are counting down the days until we can share more of the political and entrepreneurial exploits of our Alpha House and Betas characters. Our goal is to make great TV shows that customers will love and we hope they're going to love these shows," said Roy Price, Director of Amazon Studios. "We will release three episodes upfront for all customers so they can try out the shows and get to know the characters. Then we will release new episodes via Prime Instant Video week by week so that customers can chat about the shows and build up anticipation. We're constantly experimenting and trying new things—and we're eager to hear customers' feedback on this model."
Alpha House, which was written by Academy Award nominee and Pulitzer Prize winner Garry Trudeau and produced by Trudeau, Elliot Webb and Jonathan Alter, is a comedy about four misfit senators (John Goodman, Clark Johnson, Matt Malloy and Mark Consuelos) who rent a house together in Washington DC. The roomies are joined by Cynthia Nixon (Sex and the City), Amy Sedaris (Strangers with Candy), Wanda Sykes (Curb Your Enthusiasm), and Julie White (Go On), who share in the outrageous—and sometimes all-too-real—follies of Washington politics.
"The first season is about the fight for survival among incumbent Republican senators first elected in the pre-Tea Party era. Even though they're all solidly conservative, three of the four senators living in Alpha House are facing strong primary challenges from the right. The struggle to hold onto their core values drives both the comedy and the drama in our show," said Garry Trudeau. "We think we've kept the show realistic in its essential details, while taking broad satirical liberties you might expect. We also tried to make a few political points along the way, but mostly, we wanted the show to be as much fun for the audience as we and the cast had making it."
Set in the land of Silicon Valley start-ups, Betas, written by Evan Endicott and Josh Stoddard, follows four friends as they attempt to strike it rich with a new mobile social networking app. Joe Dinicol, Karan Soni, Jon Daly, Charlie Saxton, and Maya Erskine star in the show, with special appearances from Ed Begley Jr. (Arrested Development, St. Elsewhere). Michael Lehmann directs and produces the show along with Emmy Award winners Alan Freedland and Alan Cohen, and Academy Award nominee Michael London.
"We're thrilled that Amazon has given us the creative freedom to produce a show like Betas," said Alan Freedland. "And we're excited for audiences to watch it on their TVs, tablets, phones…and devices not yet invented."