Amazon moving ahead with five original TV series

Wed May 29, 2013 4:36pm EDT
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By Alistair Barr

SAN FRANCISCO (Reuters) - Inc said on Wednesday that it will make five original TV series, having used viewer feedback to pick the shows from a group of 14 pilots filmed by the world's largest Internet retailer earlier this year.

The chosen series are: "Alpha House", a political comedy starring John Goodman; "Betas", a comedy about start-up culture in Silicon Valley; "Annebots", a kids' show about robots; "Creative Galaxy", an animated art adventure series; and "Tumbleaf", another kids' show about a small blue fox named Fig.

These are the first TV series ever made by Amazon and represent a major foray into original programming delivered over the Internet, stepping up competition with Netflix Inc and Hulu.

The new series will be shown exclusively on Amazon's Prime Instant Video service later this year and in early 2014, the company said. Prime Instant Video is free for members of Amazon's Prime service, which offers two-day shipping and other benefits in the United States for $79 a year.

Amazon posted all 14 TV pilots online for anyone to watch in April and encouraged viewer feedback. The company analyzed the reviews and other data, such as how long people watched, to try to pick shows that are more likely to do well as full series.

A pilot is an initial trial show designed to test interest in a new TV series.

"We're thrilled to have emerged safely from this harrowing exercise in online democracy," said Garry Trudeau, the Pulitzer-Prize winning cartoonist who created and wrote "Alpha House," a live-action show starring John Goodman about a group of U.S. senators who live together.

Amazon will shoot 10 more episodes of "Alpha House" to complete the first season, which will air starting in November.   Continued...

A zoomed illustration image of a man looking at a computer monitor showing the logo of Amazon is seen in Vienna November 26, 2012. REUTERS/Leonhard Foeger