Amazon has secured exclusive subscription VOD rights to FX’s Cold War-era spy thriller “The Americans” — along with nonexclusive rights to “How I Met Your Mother” and other programming — through a deal with 21st Century Fox, as the e-commerce company stockpiles more content for its Prime Instant Video service to fight Netflix.
“The Americans” is available to Amazon Prime customers starting Thursday (Feb. 6). The deal comes as season 2 of “The Americans,” starring Keri Russell and Matthew Rhys, is set to debut Feb. 26 on FX. The Amazon agreement was announced by 21st Century Fox chief operating officer Chase Carey on the media conglom’s earnings call.
In addition to “The Americans,” Prime customers starting in March also will have instant access to five other series: the first eight seasons of “How I Met Your Mother” from 20th Century Fox Television, as well as “It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia,” “The League,” “Louie” and “Archer.” Amazon’s deal for those series is nonexclusive.
“The Americans,” selected as one of AFI’s top 10 TV series of 2013, is set in the early 1980s and revolves around a pair of KGB spies posing as a married couple in the Washington, D.C. area. Skein is produced by Steven Spielberg’s Amblin Television.
Separately, Amazon Studios on Thursday launched 10 pilots — including Chris Carter’s supernatural thriller “The After” and cop drama “Bosch,” written by Eric Overmyer and Michael Connelly — in its second wave of pilots. The studio will use viewer feedback to determine which shows to greenlight as full series; those will be available to members of Prime, Amazon’s free-shipping program that includes unlimited access to streaming video titles.
Amazon’s Prime Instant Video competes with Netflix, and in addition to its nascent originals Amazon has been steadily adding licensed content to the service including exclusive pacts for PBS’s “Downton Abbey,” NBC’s “Hannibal” and Warner Bros.’s “Veronica Mars” TV series, among other shows.
Prime is $79 per year in the U.S., but Amazon last week said it was considering hiking the fee as much as 50% because of rising fuel costs and usage.