EagleTribune.com, North Andover, MA

May 30, 2013

Amazon picks up five original shows for its video service

By Ryan Faughnder
Los Angeles Times

---- — LOS ANGELES — The votes are in.

Weighing comments from users, Amazon has given the green light to five new shows for its Prime Instant Video service.

The programs, including a John Goodman comedy about misfit roommate senators and a kids program about a young scientist, will be the online retailer’s first original series as the company follows Netflix Inc. and Hulu LLC into the business of creating its own programming to stream on the Web.

Amazon in April posted 14 TV pilots and asked viewers to critique them. The company used the responses to choose which shows it will air this year or in early 2014.

“It’s exciting to see the process in motion, doing exactly what we set out to do,” Roy Price, director of Amazon Studios, said in a statement. “The success of this first set of pilots has given us the push to try this approach with even more shows.”

In addition to Goodman comedy “Alpha House” and science-based children’s show “Annebots,” Amazon picked up Silicon Valley comedy “Betas,” a kids animated interactive art series “Creative Galaxy” and a puppet animation show called “Tumbleaf.”

Among those not selected were “Zombieland,” based on the apocalyptic cult film of the same name, and “Browsers,” a musical comedy about four young professionals in their first jobs.

Amazon also put out an open call for pilot scripts, encouraging creators to submit their work through the Amazon Studios website. Amazon has received about 3,600 script submissions for new shows.

“Alpha House,” created by Pulitzer Prize-winning cartoonist Garry Trudeau, follows a group of senators who live together in a rented house in Washington, D.C. “Betas” follows four friends as they try to strike it rich with a new social networking app.

Amazon’s push into original programming is similar to Netflix, which just released new episodes of “Arrested Development” and earlier this year premiered the political drama “House of Cards” starring Kevin Spacey.

Price in April said Amazon wasn’t looking to enter the original content market with a network-defining show like “House of Cards” and wanted to take risks with multiple series.

The company also has 24 movies slated for development.