Back in April, Amazon launched a new initiative asking its online users to provide feedback on fourteen pilots (six of which were children’s shows) made for the internet giant and its subsidiary LoveFilm. Now the results are in, the opinions have been processed and the online retailer has commissioned five of its shows to full series – to be aired exclusively on Amazon’s Prime Instant Video and LoveFilm later this year and in early 2014.
Argo actor John Goodman’s Alpha House – a new comedy about four senators sharing a house together in Washington DC – is the highest profile pilot to receive the green light with plans to shoot twelve additional episodes to be made available this November.
Silicon Valley-based Betas starring Ed Begley Jr is the only remaining commission from the original eight adult pilots to receive a full series. The sitcom about four friends and their attempts to strike it rich with a new mobile social networking app also stars Jon Daly, Joe Dinicol, Charlie Saxton and Karan Soni.
Among the brace of high profile contenders who failed to make the cut are Onion News Empire starring Arrested Development’s Jeffrey Tambor, a TV pilot of successful 2009 movie Zombieland and Browsers – a musical comedy starring Bebe Neuwirth.
From the six children’s pilots tested by users, the three continuing to full run are science-based series Annebots, animated interactive art adventure Creative Galaxy and stop motion pre-school series Tumbleaf, which follows a small blue fox named Fig.
While today’s announcement confirms the fate of the original fourteen episodes, director of Amazon Studios, Roy Price, indicated the company’s plans to continue the initiative in the future following the recent advances made by its competitors, Netflix and Hulu:
“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.”
Alpha House Creator Garry Trudeau shared his relief at the news, stating, “We’re thrilled to have emerged safely from this harrowing exercise in online democracy. All of us at Alpha House thank both Amazon and its wise and wonderful customer base for such a happy outcome.”
Betas executive producer, Michael London, added “After many sleepless nights scrutinising the number of stars we were getting online, we’re excited that both Amazon and the Amazon customers have given us a vote of confidence to move forward with a full season of Betas. This is only the beginning for our young social media players and we are excited to push them out in the big world to see if they sink or swim.”
Sign up to the Radio Times newsletter for the latest TV and entertainment news