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Amazon Pulls Plug on David O. Russell Project; ‘Romanoffs’ Moving Forward Without TWC

David O. Russell

Amazon has dropped its plans for an untitled drama series from David O. Russell, and will move forward with another series whose status had been uncertain, Matthew Weiner’s “The Romanoffs.”

Amazon Studios no longer plans on moving forward with the David O. Russell Project,” an Amazon spokesperson said in a statement. “As for ‘The Romanoffs,’ Amazon intends to move forward without the involvement of The Weinstein Company.”

Both projects has been set up as co-productions with the Weinstein Company. Their status was upended this week as TWC became overwhelmed by the sexual-abuse scandal that forced the company’s co-founder, Harvey Weinstein, out. Amazon on Wednesday said that it was reviewing the status of both series. The company repeated that assertion yesterday in a statement announcing the suspension of Amazon Studios president Roy Price, who also faces allegations of sexual harassment.

Although “The Romanoffs” is already in production, with Weiner directing, the financial support TWC was supposed to deliver for both shows never materialized. Amazon will now take over as sole producer on “The Romanoffs,” but chose not to do so on the Russell project.

That decision appears to scuttle what would have been the first television series for actor Robert De Niro, who was set to star alongside Julianne Moore. The Russell project is now dead, according to a joint statement released by representatives for Russell, De Niro, and Moore, saying, “We support Amazon’s decision as in light of recent news and out of respect for all those affected we have decided together that it is best to not move forward with this show.”

The programming decisions continue the reordering of Amazon Studios’ house that began yesterday, when it suspended price amid renewed allegations that he harassed “The Man in the High Castle” producer Isa Hackett.

Under Price, Amazon Studios found some scripted programming success with series such as “Catastrophe,” “Bosch,” and Golden Globe winners “Mozart in the Jungle” and “Transparent.”

But Amazon failed to capture broad attention with its naturalistic niche hours and half hours. This summer, Amazon founder Jeff Bezos mandated a shift of resources to developing genre programming with the potential for broader appeal. The Russell project and “The Romanoffs”had been greenlit prior to that mandate.

Programming struggles were inflamed by allegations of misconduct by Price, whom Hackett accused of pressuring her for sex and making multiple lewd and offensive statements.

No timetable has been set for Price’s return. On Thursday, Albert Cheng, COO of Amazon Studios, was named interim president.