Amazon eyes original comedy series ‘Browsers’

Netco close to greenlight for project originally developed at CBS

In a sign that Amazon is getting serious about fielding original programming, the Internet giant is said to be close to greenlighting a musical comedy series dubbed “Browsers.”

The single-camera project from scribe David Javerbaum and 3 Arts Entertainment was originally developed last year at CBS, but it didn’t get beyond the script stage. “Browsers” revolves around four interns working at a Huffington Post-esque website, with musical elements woven into the narrative.

Amazon and Javerbaum’s reps at CAA declined comment on the project, while 3 Arts did not return a call seeking comment.

It’s not entirely clear whether Amazon is eyeing a pilot or launching straight into episodes for “Browsers.” Also uncertain is the exact distribution plan for the program.

Amazon Studios, the company’s development unit for original programming, announced in May that it was open to comedy and kids TV ideas for distribution on its own platform. But in an unorthodox move contrary to traditional development, scripts were solicited via an open submission process and made available on the site, where users could provide feedback. The unit had already launched similar efforts on the film side in the late 2010, which has yielded a growing slate of projects.

Amazon is looking to follow in the footsteps of Netflix and Hulu, which have subscription VOD services that are mixing a growing number of original series in with their deep library of licensed TV and movies in a bid to differentiate themselves from the competition.

Amazon’s originals will likely end up on both its a la carte offering, Amazon Instant Video, with thousands of catalog TV and movies, as well as Prime, which is a value-add to its annual membership program that entitles subs to free two-day shipping of retail purchases.

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