Amazon confirmed today that of the 14 pilot episodes pitched last month by Amazon Studios, its division for developing exclusive movies, comics and television shows, only five have been commissioned for a full season.
Alpha House, a show about four misfit US senators who rent a house together in Washington DC, is arguably the most high-profile show to be green-lighted. It will be joined by Betas, a comedy about four friends who want to launch a new mobile social networking app in Silicon Valley.
The remaining six comedy pilots have not been given the go-ahead, however. Among those on the cutting room floor is Zombieland, a reboot of the horror-comedy film that shared the same name back in 2009, as well as Onion News Empire.
Annebots, Creative Galaxy and Tumbleaf, meanwhile, have all been commissioned for a full series from the pool of pilot shows aimed specifically at children.
Amazon Studios will now begin production on a full series of episodes for each show, which will air exclusively on Prime Instant Video later this year and throughout the early part of 2014. Scheduling for LOVEFiLM, the European movie rental and on-demand streaming service owned by Amazon, has not yet been revealed.
Amazon entered the content production race in a big way last month when it uploaded pilot episodes for all 14 shows. Amazon customers were encouraged to watch the pilots and submit relevant comments, with the promise that this feedback would be used to decide which shows are commissioned.
“We are thrilled at the enthusiastic customer response to our first original pilots,” Roy Price, Director of Amazon Studios said. “We built Amazon Studios so that customers could help decide which stories would make the very best movies and TV shows.
“It’s exciting to see the process in motion, doing exactly what we set out to do. The success of this first set of pilots has given us the push to try this approach with even more shows—this is just the beginning.”
Amazon never confirmed exactly how many of these pilots it would commission, so it’s interesting to see that only five have been green-lighted in total. This could be due to budget constraints, or a representation of the feedback given by Amazon customers.
The handful of shows being produced by Amazon should give the company a reasonable chance of landing a commercial hit. None of them appear to have the same ludicrously high production values as House of Cards or upcoming horror-thriller series Hemlock Grove, both produced by Netflix, but it’s certainly a start.
The end-game will inevitably be to have a range of shows which are highly sought after by consumers, and potentially commissioned for follow-up series. If this happens, it will increase the perceived value of both Prime Instant Video and LOVEFiLM Instant, the Amazon-owned streaming service available only in the UK, Germany and Scandinavia.
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