Anyone who thinks online video isn't giving traditional television a run for its money, here's even more proof: Amazon has finally officially gotten on board the original content bandwagon, surveying a range of sitcoms and family-friendly shows for its online streaming service.
Providers like Netflix, Hulu and even YouTube have long been exploring original, professionally produced programming, and indeed, Amazon has been interested in making the move for a long time as well. But now its Amazon Studios has jumped in, ordering up six new pilots — and you get to choose which ones get picked up. Well, not you specifically, but the viewers get to weigh in and vote which, by the way, is an extremely savvy way to generate buzz and promote the programming.
Here's what's on the menu:
Alpha House — It's almost like The Real World, but for politicians. This is the story of four senators, picked to live in a house in D.C., to find out what happens when they stop being polite and get real. Well — sorta. It's not reality TV, but a scripted show by "Doonesbury" legend Garry Trudeau.
Browsers — Gleeks may be interested in this musical comedy that follows four young adults and their new jobs at a news website in New York City. And even if you hate music, but you may enjoy the quick witty quips from David Javerbaum, the former head writer at the Daily Show.
Dark Minions — If you ever wondered how working-class slackers would fare on an intergalactic warship, then you'll want to check out this new animated series from Big Bang Theory's Kevin Sussman (Walter) and John Ross Bowie (Kripke). (And that's not hokum.)
The Onion Presents: The News — Before Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert put Comedy Central on the fake news map, there was The Onion. This show pulls the curtain back, giving fans a behind-the-scenes look at The Onion News Network.
Supanatural — Another candidate that proves that Amazon must be totally nuts for the Daily Show: Kristen Schaal, comedienne and regular contributor, co-produced this animated series about a couple of divas who just happen to be "humanity's last line of defense against the supernatural."
Those Who Can't — The underdog of the lot might be this one, which comes by way of Amazon's open call for submissions. Andrew Orvedahl, Adam Cayton-Holland and Benjamin Roy, the three writers plucked from the competition, penned this series about immature teachers who are as — or more — juvenile than the students they're supposed to teach.
Let us know if any of these look intriguing to you. Or if you're looking forward to another show coming soon to the webs — ahem, Arrested Development — tell us in the comments below.
Prime Instant Video Greenlights Six Original Series Pilots for Production
Original series created by a mix of Emmy-winning writers, Academy Award nominees, TV stars, as well as newcomers discovered through Amazon Studios' open-door development process
Amazon Instant Video will host pilot episodes—and viewer response will help determine which series go into full-season production
SEATTLE–(BUSINESS WIRE)–Dec. 20, 2012– (NASDAQ: AMZN)—Amazon Studios, the original film and series production arm of Amazon.com, today announced that it plans to produce pilots for six original comedy series. The series come from a diverse set of writers including newcomers toHollywood and industry veterans with notable credits and awards. This marks the studios' first pilot production since expanding into original programming development earlier this year.
Once the six pilots are completed, they will be posted on Amazon Instant Video for Amazon customers to watch for free. Viewer feedback will help determine which series Amazon Studios should produce. Completed seasons will be exclusively available to Prime members through Prime Instant Video and LOVEFiLM in the UK for free.
"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, and we are extremely excited to begin production on our very first set of pilots," said Roy Price, Director of Amazon Studios. "The six comedy pilots will begin production shortly, and once they are complete, we plan to post the pilots on Amazon Instant Video for feedback. We want Amazon customers to help us decide which original series we should produce."
"Amazon has been so innovative and successful in so many realms, it's impossible not to get excited about its new venture into online programming. We look forward to partnering with Amazon's creative team, making a great show, and as the holidays approach, receiving free two-day shipping for the entire cast and crew," said Doonesbury creator Garry Trudeau, writer of comedy series 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 DC.
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.
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 News
The 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).
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) andKristen 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.
About Amazon Studios
Since its launch in November 2010, more than 12,000 movie scripts and 2,000 series pilot scripts have been submitted to Amazon Studios. The original series announced today will be added to the Amazon Studios series development slate, which currently boasts 14 additional projects that have been both submitted through the studios' website and optioned for development.
Amazon Studios continues to invite series creators to upload their proposals for comedy and children's programming at http://studios.amazon.com/getting-started/series or submit them privately via Amazon Studios.