Amazon is looking to win over new fans while they’re young with an order for three new pilots from young adult series.
Amazon Studios is going through a slight shake-up in its strategy and focus, since the online giant cleared house following allegations and controversy surrounding its former creative bosses. Now, Amazon Studios has appointed a new head, Jennifer Salke, and she has already made a mark, picking up The Expanse following its cancellation – cementing the online company’s commitment to high-profile genre projects, given its big-budget commitment to a Lord of the Rings series. Salke is also bringing a welcome dose of female talent to the industry, heading a team of mostly women within Amazon Studios.
The three projects she has ordered to pilot also highlight her focus on entering the young adult space. They hail from EPs that include Channing Tatum, Jill Soloway, Jamie Tarses and Lauren Oliver, and from a trio of young female writers, including Daredevil’s Sarah Streicher and Marja-Lewis Ryan (6 Balloons).
“Right now, one of the white spaces – besides this female space that I thought was lacking – is this sophisticated YA space,” Salke told THR in an interview. “I have Phoebe Zimmer and Nick Hall diving into that. We picked up two things and perhaps a third one in that space by young female writers that feel very addictive and sophisticated that have a young adult audience that’s an older audience as well.”
“We see YA programming as a big opportunity to expand our entertainment offerings for Prime Video, and we are actively pursuing projects that spark conversation and co-viewing,” added Albert Cheng, co-head of TV at Amazon Studios.
These new pilots also mark a step away from Amazon’s previous pilot model, which offered them up to the public for free to vote on and determine which gained a full series commission.
Here’s the rundown of what’s been ordered:
Created by Marja-Lewis Ryan, College digs beyond the headlines that make college campuses ripe for drama and steps inside the shoes of six roommates as they hook up, mess up and grow up on their own terms.
Produced by Channing Tatum and Jill Soloway (Transparent), College is a joint production between Free Association and Topple Productions and falls under Soloway’s overall deal with Amazon Studios.
Based on Lauren Oliver’s New York Times bestseller, Panic is set in a rural town where every year graduating seniors risk their lives in an illegal, high-stakes game to win life-changing money – and a chance to escape. Anonymous judges force the players through a series of challenges that compel them to confront their deepest fears and upend their ideas of who they are, who to trust and who they might become. This year, 47 players will compete for the biggest pot ever. All of them will be changed. Only one will win.
Panic is written and created by Oliver, EPed by Joe Roth and Jeff Kirschenbaum of Roth Kirschenbaum Films (Maleficent 2) with Alyssa Altman serving as co-executive producer.
A group of teenage girls from radically different backgrounds find themselves stranded on a remote island, unaware that they have just become the subjects of an elaborate social experiment. Part-survival drama, part-dystopian slumber party, The Wilds explores the past and present struggles of these young women to paint a portrait of what it’s like to grow up female in the modern age.
Written by Streicher, this is a co-production with ABC Signature and EP-ed by Streicher, Jamie Tarses’ Fanfare and Dylan Clark Productions.