Amazon Orders First Drama Pilots, Licenses

Internet retailer steps up battle with Netflix in original dramas with pair of hour-long pilots

Amazon Studios is stepping up competition with Netflix’s originals by greenlighting production of its first two hour-long drama pilots — apocalyptic thriller “The After” from Chris Carter (“The X-Files”) and cop procedural “Bosch” — and also announced an exclusive streaming pact for TNT’s “Falling Skies” for its subscription-video service.

“The After,” which follows eight strangers fighting for survival in a “violent world that defies expectations,” was written and directed by Carter, exec produced by Marc Rosen of Georgeville Television and produced by Gabe Rotter.

“Bosch” is based on Michael Connelly’s best-selling Harry Bosch book series and scribed by Eric Overmyer (HBO’s “The Wire” and “Treme”). Henrik Bastin of Fabrik Entertainment (“The Killing”) is producing and Jim McKay will direct.

As with Amazon Studios’ previous pilots, anyone on the Internet will be able to watch the pilots and provide feedback that the company will use to determine which pilots to produce as series. The dramas are scheduled to stream exclusively on Prime Instant Video and Amazon’s LoveFilm in the U.K. in early 2014.

SEE ALSO: Step Aside, Netflix: Amazon’s Entering the Original Series Race

In November, Amazon is expected to premiere its first original series, both half-hour comedies: “Alpha House,” a political satire starring John Goodman as a GOP senator who rooms with three other pols; and “Betas,” set in the world of Silicon Valley startups.

“We are very excited to be working with creators like Michael Connelly and Chris Carter, both epic storytellers in their own right,” Roy Price, head of Amazon Studios, said in a statement. “For the first time we are bringing Amazon customers hour-long programming and we can’t wait to hear what they think of these new stories.”

Separately, Amazon announced that beginning this Saturday, season 3 of TNT’s drama “Falling Skies,” which finished its broadcast run three months ago, will be available on Prime Instant Video for Amazon Prime members. TNT this summer ordered a fourth season of “Falling Skies” from exec producer Steven Spielberg and DreamWorks Television.

The Internet retailer has exclusive subscription VOD rights to “Falling Skies,” including the first two seasons, to let customers catch up on the entire series to date. Series stars Noah Wyle as leader of human resistance against an alien invasion.

Amazon’s original productions and exclusive content are available to members of Prime, which provides free two-day shipping on select items for $79 per year as well as Prime Instant Video and other perks. The company had nearly 11 million Prime members at the end of the second quarter of 2013, analyst firm Morningstar estimates; Amazon does not disclose figures for Prime but said it added “millions” of new members in the third quarter.

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