Amazon passes on 2017 comedy pilots
James R | On 19, Dec 2017
Amazon has passed on all of its comedy pilots released this autumn.
Amazon’s pilot season format has been a key part of developing original shows for Amazon Prime Video, with individual episodes released publicly online and audience feedback used to determine which would most likely be successful as a full series. That approach has given Amazon some of its best original shows, including Transparent, The Man in the High Castle, Bosch and Mozart in the Jungle.
The latest batch included Sea Oak, starring Glenn Close as a zombie, Love You More, from Patti Cake$’ Bridget Everett and Sex and the City‘s Michael Patrick King, and Diarra Kilpatrick’s The Climb. You can read our reviews of them here. None of them, however, will be developed into a fully fledged series, according to Deadline. That is perhaps less an indicator of quality or reception, though, and more an indicator of Amazon Studios’ shifting focus.
Amazon has been increasingly vocal on moving away from its pilot system to a more traditional development process, as it seeks to create not just award-winning shows but also shows that will generate water cooler buzz among fans – for all its success, Amazon Studios is yet to have its own equivalent of Game of Thrones or Stranger Things. As part of that creative shift, it has begun inking deals with creators directly, from The Walking Dead’s Robert Kirkman to Gilmore Girls’ Amy Sherman-Palladino. It has also paid an exorbitant sum for the rights to a Lord of the Rings TV series.
Amazon has also seen a major overhaul of its executive staff too, after boss Roy Price and deputy Joe Lewis exited in the wake of the Harvey Weinstein scandal. While largely unconnected to the creative rethink, the result is a changed studio at a time when the entertainment industry is undergoing a much-needed shake-up. Amazon now has two active pilots left over from the previous regime: Upload, a comedy from The Office creator Greg Daniels, and Making Friends, from How I Met Your Mother creators Carter Bays and Craig Thomas. Amazon is also reportedly yet to make a decision regarding the future of Jill Soloway’s I Love Dick and Tig Notaro’s One Mississippi.