Amazon Studios TV Chief on ‘The Boys’ Viewership, Spinoff Premiere Plans and Becoming the Hot New Home of Genre TV

In a move that shocked no one, Amazon Prime Video renewed its Emmy-nominated, adult superhero series “The Boysfor a fourth season Friday, just one week after the third season debuted its first trio of episodes and saw a 17% increase in viewership from Season 2.

Getting to work on another installment of the “The Boys,” created by “Supernatural” mastermind Eric Kripke and based on the comics by Garth Ennis and Darick Robertson, is the latest decision made by Amazon Studios to support what has stealthily become its first-ever franchise. It’s also symbolic of the streamer’s overall programming strategy heading into the fall debut of “The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power.”

“We’re just really excited. I’ve been thrilled to be witness to all of the magic that Eric and the team have created,” Vernon Sanders, head of global television at Amazon Studios, told Variety Thursday. “And I’m really excited about more of the genre content that we have coming. We are the new place for genre.”

Nicknamed the “VCU” by those at Amazon, a nod to both Marvel’s MCU and “The Boys” fictional superhero company Vought, “The Boys” universe currently consists of three shows: the mothership series, the animated anthology “The Boys Presents: Diabolical” and the upcoming untitled superhero college spinoff.

The commitment Amazon has put into a franchise that has already garnered them six Emmy nominations, including drama series for Season 2 of “The Boys,” is just one example of how dedicated the streamer is to embracing and elevating genre content.

There’s, of course, “The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power,” Amazon’s most high-profile project ever and reportedly the most expensive TV series in history. But Amazon also has “The Wheel of Time” and “Carnival Row;” the upcoming “Fallout” series from “Westworld” creators Jonathan Nolan and Lisa Joy; the Russo Brothers’ multi-series global title “Citadel;” Neil Gaiman’s “Good Omens” Season 2 and “Anansi Boys;” plus the streamer is in talks for a “God of War” show.

See more from Variety‘s interview with Sanders below.

Very excited about the Season 4 renewal! Karl Urban had hinted it it, but we all thought it was inevitable. Were you waiting to be able to announce it with what was sure to be an impressive Season 3 opening weekend?

We have been talking about it for quite a while. There’s so many steps. Eric laid out an incredible story for Season 4, so that was really exciting. And the rest has just been details that we’ve been sorting out between Eric and the show and the studio [Sony Pictures Television]. But we’re all in lockstep and cannot wait to get working on Season 4.

Let’s talk about that, how long are we going to have to wait for Season 4?

We should put it out as soon as Season 3 is done, right? We should have episodes right away?

I like that idea.

I can’t even tell you exactly when Season 4 is coming, but I am excited that we’re going to have our new show, our spinoff series, coming at some time next year. And I think that’s going to be really, really great and satisfying. And what we’ve been seeing so far on that one is fantastic. So I can’t wait.

When are you going to tell me what the spinoff is called?

I almost did! I almost said it, and I caught myself.

You can tell me, it’s fine, I won’t tell anyone.

You’ll keep the secret? OK. No, we have a title, but I don’t know if we’ve fully locked it in yet. So we will get back to you quickly with that. But it’s awesome, we’re in production now and it’s going great. And I think it’s everything that everyone loves from “The Boys,” but a completely new spin. We just love what Eric and all of his incredible team and cast, what they’ve been able to put out, it’s just a true original.

The viewership growth stats you’ve released don’t include actual streaming numbers. Amazon Studios chief Jennifer Salke had previously shared on social media a Variety story about Nielsen’s “Reacher” streaming numbers, so can you talk about what viewership looked like for “The Boys” Season 3 opening weekend, in relation to what Nielsen put out and Salke promoted for “Reacher’s” opening weekend?

I will say that Nielsen’s measuring system is probably a little different than ours, so I don’t know exactly what Nielsen is going to say [for ‘The Boys’ Season 3]. But both shows are really big shows. It’s probably worth noting that “Reacher” was released as a binge release and “The Boys” is releasing weekly, so some of those things make it different. But the fact “The Boys” grew season over season is incredible. Season 2 for us was huge, so to see it grow from there is impressive. That’s probably an understatement.

How long do you see “The Boys” going? I know this is a franchise for Amazon with “Diabolical,” which I hope is going to get a Season 2 renewal soon, and now the upcoming spinoff. So what do you see the future of “The Boys” looking like? Is Season 4 just the next season, or the final season, or the middle of many seasons? 

We really would love to hear from Eric and the team about their vision for it. I think there is more story to tell. The fact that we have the spinoff coming and “Diabolical,” it has been great to see how many people who dipped into Season 3 of “The Boys” are now coming to those “Diabolical” episodes, so that’s awesome as well. We’re seeing real spikes with prior seasons of “The Boys” and “Diabolical” and we think there’s lots of story to tell. We’re waiting to hear from Eric about his plans there. But I think there will be more “The Boys” content for years to come.