Stirring more laffers into its potential original series lineup, Amazon Studios has greenlit production of three new half-hour comedy pilots.
The pilots will be available free on Amazon Instant Video early next year, following the Internet retailer’s model of letting customers watch and provide feedback — which Amazon says it will use to decide which ones to turn into full series. The move shows Amazon is angling to get traction with shorter comedy series, which are cheaper to produce than dramas.
The three new comedy pilots are: “Mozart in the Jungle,” written by Roman Coppola (“The Darjeeling Limited”), Jason Schwartzman (“Moonrise Kingdom, Rushmore) and Alex Timbers (who co-directed play “Peter and the Starcatcher”); “The Outlaws,” written by Jeremy Garelick (“The Break-Up”) and Jon Weinbach; and “Transparent,” written and directed by Jill Soloway (“Six Feet Under”).
This fall, Amazon Studios will debut its first two full comedy series — “Alpha House,” written by Garry Trudeau and starring John Goodman, and “Betas,” set in the world of Silicon Valley startups — available exclusively on Prime Instant Video and Amazon’s LoveFilm in the U.K.
Amazon is bulking up on originals as it battles Netflix, which has taken the lead with high-profile exclusive shows including “House of Cards” (for which director David Fincher won an Emmy) and “Orange Is the New Black.” Amazon in May picked five series from the initial batch of 14 pilots to produce as full series. Its strategy is to drive customers to sign up for the $79-per-year Amazon Prime shipping program, which includes access to the video-streaming service.
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Amazon’s three additional comedy pilots represent diverse approaches to the genre.
“Mozart in the Jungle,” based on the memoir by Blair Tindall, is “all about sex, drugs — and classical music,” the show’s creators say. “The Outlaws,” scribed by Jeremy Garelick and Jon Weinbach, follows a pro football team from the perspective of both the players and the back office; creative team also includes Matt Alvarez and former New York Giants player Michael Strahan (host of “Live with Kelly and Michael”).
“Transparent,” meanwhile, is described as a darkly comedic story about an L.A. family “with serious boundary issues.” Pilot stars Jeffrey Tambor, Judith Light, Gaby Hoffmann, Amy Landecker and Jay Duplass.
Amazon Studios also recently announced six new kids’ pilots: “Gortimer Gibbon’s Life on Normal Street,” “Grid Smasher,” “Hard-Boiled Eggheads,” “The Jo B. & G. Raff Show,” “Wishenpoof!” and “The Maker Shack Agency” from Electus.