Amazon Studios has been through much-publicized upheaval during the past few weeks with the ouster of president Roy Price and two other top executives last month. But as far as Amy Sherman-Palladino is concerned, it’s the most hospitable place she’s ever worked.
“I’m used to fighting for everything,” Sherman-Palladino told the crowd at Village East Cinema at Monday night’s premiere of her period dramedy “The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel. “I’m used to saying things like ‘It’s Connecticut — we need snow’ and hearing ‘No! ‘ER’ gets the snow.’ “
Sherman-Palladino couldn’t say enough about how much she enjoyed working with Marc Resteghini, Amazon’s head of current hourlong series (“He’s a very smart dude”), and she gave a shout out to the work done on “Mrs. Maisel’s” behalf by Amazon’s head of casting, Donna Rosenstein. And she choked up in professing her gratitude to “Mrs. Maisel” producer Dhani Gilbert (“I love you Dhani. Do not ever leave me. HBO cannot have you back”).
These were welcome sentiments no doubt for Amazon brass given the drama in the office and the criticism leveled by other showrunners at the previous regime. Albert Cheng, Amazon Studios chief operating officer who was tapped interim head after Price’s departure, said the focus around the office is firmly on moving forward under the direction of scripted chief Sharon Tal Yguado and unscripted boss Heather Schuster.
“We have a lot of work to do,” Cheng told Variety. “We’ve got two great people in place. … Now we’re just trying to get our work done.”
A big step in that direction is the mammoth rights deal that Amazon just set with the J.R.R. Tolkien estate and Warner Bros. TV for the rights to the evergreen “Lord of the Rings” franchise. Cheng wouldn’t comment on the Deadline report that the IP rights fee alone was $250 million for multiple series commitments. But he indicated that “LOTR” and its global halo was a worthy investment. It’s no secret that Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos has expressed his desire for more spectacle on Amazon’s air.
“It has rich stories in it ready to be mined for more television series,” Cheng said. “It has a great number of fans.”
“Mrs. Maisel” begins its two-season run on Nov. 29.