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While Amazon's first slate of original series mostly fizzled—perhaps because it still hasn't picked up Onion News Empire—the online giant is resolute in its plans to do to the television industry what it's currently doing to the publishing industry, picking up three new comedy pilots. The first is from cousins Jason Schwartzman and Roman Coppola, plus Broadway writer/director Alex Timbers (Bloody Bloody Andrew Jackson, The Pee-Wee Herman Show), and explores the seamy world of sex and drugs backstage at the symphony. Mozart In the Jungle will be based on the memoir of oboist Blair »
It's official: Amazon Studios is adding three comedy pilots to the mix. The streaming service has ordered to pilot Mozart in the Jungle, The Outlaws and Transparent. The pickups come as Amazon Studios is poised to launch its first original scripted comedies, Alpha House and Betas, in the fall. The three projects join a rapidly growing slate as the service continues to bulk up on originals to compete with fellow streaming companies Netflix and Hulu. Mozart in the Jungle is written by Oscar-nominated writer-director Roman Coppola (Moonrise Kingdom, The Darjeeling Limited) and reteams him with actor-musician Jason Schwartzman,
- Lesley Goldberg
Exclusive: Jeffrey Tambor, who starred in Amazon’s comedy pilot Onion News Empire, is set to topline another half-hour Amazon pilot, Jill Soloway’s Transparent. Also cast in the pilot is Gaby Hoffman (Veronica Mars movie). I hear that Tambor is still under option for Onion, which is under consideration for a pickup, so if both pilots go to series, he would do both. Transparent centers on Mort (Jeffrey Tambor) who gathers his three adult kids — Ali (Hoffman), Sarah and Joshua — for a talk about the future, but everyone is shocked to learn that it’s not a financial inheritance at stake, but rather the complex legacy of a secret life as a transgender. Everyone’s relationship — to the world, themselves, and each other — through the lens of boundaries, intimacy, sex and gender — is about to change. Soloway is writing and directing the pilot, using much of the same team »
- NELLIE ANDREEVA
Showtime is developing a drama about a Venice Beach gym in the 1970s, Pump, according to The Hollywood Reporter. The show would have Arnold Schwarzenegger as a producer and in a recurring role. Couldn’t they just remake Shaping Up instead?
Yeah, if you felt the need to call out Adam Levine for muttering, “I hate this country.” in response to an audience vote that Levine disagreed with on The Voice, you need to work on your understanding of context. Regardless, Levine has issued a clarifying statement.
At least I got a reason to look through pictures of Adam Levine
Amazon has ordered its first original series, after making the pilots available for people to watch and judge for themselves. The new series includes the John Goodman comedy Alpha House, Silicon Valley sitcom Betas along with children’s series Annebots, Creative Galaxy and Tumbleaf. Sadly, the Cheyenne Jackson-starring »
- Lyle Masaki
It’s all Greek to Amazon — at least when it comes to the retail site’s first original series for adults.
The company announced today that it has chosen five of the 14 pilots it posted online in April to become full-blown series: Alpha House, a political comedy created by Doonesbury’s Garry Trudeau that stars John Goodman (and features a cameo by Bill Murray); Betas, a Silicon Valley-set comedy starring Ed Begley Jr.; and Annebots, Creative Galaxy, and Tumbleaf, three series aimed at kids.
Each show proved popular with Amazon customers, whose feedback was taken into account during the selection process. »
- Hillary Busis
With Netflix getting ready to unveil its next exclusive series, Amazon is quietly moving forward with its pilot development process. Last month, Amazon Studios debuted 14 pilots online and has since been sifting through viewer and executive feedback to determine which will go to series. Meanwhile, Netflix, the main competitor to Amazon Instant Video, the online retail giant’s streaming service, is getting ready to premiere the fourth season of "Arrested Development" on May 26. The company, which saw a spike in subscription growth after the debut of its original series “House of Cards” earlier this year, has been heavily promoting the return of the former Fox series. Amazon, meanwhile, hasn’t matched that buzz with its slate of pilots, despite the presence of prominent actors such as Jeffrey Tambor, who stars in "Onion News Empire" -- and "Arrested Development" -- and John Goodman, who stars in the Garry Trudeau-created pilot "Alpha House. »
The great Amazon pilots experiment is coming to an end, which means you have only until May 19 to watch, review, and love Onion News Empire. (We might be a little biased here.) We've got an interview coming up next week—along with an entire week of Arrested Development-related stuff—with Jeffrey Tambor, who so enjoyed his experience on Onion News Empire that he called it "one of my three tremendous loves," along with The Larry Sanders Show and Arrested Development. If that ain't an endorsement, I don't know what is. You've got three more days »
It takes a special person to be a great Listening Intern. It’s not just about listening — also smiling, nodding, and silently showing profound interest in what is being said (as seen in Onion News Empire, one of Amazon’s original comedy pilots.)
Think you’ve got what it takes? The Onion is hiring a Listening Intern. Get the details here. »
Been dreading the final countdown to Season 4 of "Arrested Development"? Fortunately a whole batch of new images has been released from the upcoming episodes that show the Bluths will remain as crazy as ever when they return. Make sure to look at them slowly, because you just might blue yourself.
Among the new pictures, released by Entertainment Weekly, are shots of Jason Bateman talking with Isla Fisher's new character. Does this mean she could play his love interest? Maybe. There's also a behind-the-scenes photo showing series creator Mitch Hurwitz directing Kristen Wiig and Seth Rogen in Lucille Bluth's flashback sequence. Seriously, it's amazing. Make sure you check out all the new "Arrested Development" images here.
"It took about maybe five minutes. »
Exclusive: Onion, Inc. has signed with Wme. The agency will represent The Onion brand in areas including scripted and non-scripted television, digital media, and public appearances. The Onion satire news organization reaches over 10 million fans per month via a family of digital properties including TheOnion.com and AVClub.com. The Onion recently produced the Amazon Originals pilot, Onion News Empire, a behind-the-scenes look at a cable news network starring Jeffrey Tambor, Chris Masterson, William Sadler and Cheyenne Jackson. The pilot is in consideration for a series pickup and currently available for viewing on Amazonoriginals.com. The company’s previous TV efforts include the 2011 series Onion SportsDome on Comedy Central and Onion News Network on IFC. The Onion also has a popular channel on YouTube and has spawned several bestselling books, an original movie and a wide variety of advertising content via their Onion Labs production house. The Onion began as »
- NELLIE ANDREEVA
Truth. Ethics. Teamwork. It’s obvious which of these things drives the Onion News Network team — none of them. (Unless by “truth” you mean “truly amazing ratings.”)
Will Graham and Dan Mirk tell the story of these fine journalists in Onion News Empire, one of 14 Amazon original pilots now playing for free at Amazon Instant Video and LOVEFiLM. Viewer response will help determine which of these shows return with full seasons.
How do you describe your show?
“Onion News Empire” is about ambitious reporters and anchors working for the world’s most terrifying cable news channel. It’s a comedy that thinks it’s a very self-important drama — so it looks and feels like a combination of an Aaron Sorkin show and a Shonda Rimes show, »
Daniel Mirk: Behind The Scenes At The Onion News Empire:
To celebrate the launch of the Onion News Empire on Amazon, here are a few photos I took on set. These will be marginally more interesting if you have seen the show, so if you have not already seen it then go see it dummy.
Here is the Onion News Van which whisks away little Courtney…
With the recent release of House of Cards and Hemlock Grove, Netflix has established serious interest in the original programming market. Amazon, another major player in online streaming services with Prime Instant Video, has made the first major step to follow suit. Late last week, 16 pilots were made available for free streaming on Amazon – 8 comedies and 6 children’s series. Most buzz has surrounded the pilot for Zombieland, a series written by the creators of the 2009 film of the same name. But some of the other pilots feature experienced production and acting credits (notably John Goodman in Alpha House and Jeffrey Tambor in Onion News Empire). Amazon is letting viewers fill out mini-surveys for each pilot as a means of collecting feedback to help decide whether or not a series gets picked up for a full season. Sound On Sight is here to offer some feedback for the comedy pilots:
- Sean Colletti
Not since American Idol has the media industry offered TV lovers such an awesome choice. You’ve heard of choose your own adventure books? Well, Amazon Studios is inviting viewers to choose their own series. There are 14 pilots to choose from, and your vote will help Amazon decide which ones to order up for full series status to be available on Amazon Instant Video.
Accessing the hopefuls online is easy. Simply access the Amazon Instant Video app via the website amazonoriginals.com. Among your choices is the pilot we reported on previously, called Zombieland. And yes, its based upon funny zombie slaying film of the same name.
Roy Price, director of Amazon Studios, told EW, “Doing multiple pilots allows us to be experimental. If you put all your chips in on a small number of shows you’ve got to be psychic — we’re not psychic. But we do have »
- Sasha Nova
The Onion's online presence has slowly crept outward from a home website to a plentiful YouTube channel to a consistently hilarious Yahoo mockmentary to, most recently, an Amazon pilot. Amazon Video is the home of Onion News Empire, a sitcom that skewers every aspect of our biased, shallow, sensationalist news media. The show takes place in the newsroom of Onion News Network, making it a fake show about a fake show. It blends The Onion's consistently clever fake headlines with some smart, Colbert-esque satire of the modern news reporting process. The first episode can be viewed for free by Amazon Prime customers, and the trailer is available for free on The Onion's YouTube channel. The Onion has never been big on star power, with most of its articles lacking bylines. Onion News Empire, on the other hand, boasts an impressive cast, including Jeffrey Tambor as an unyieldingly cutthroat anchor, Cheyenne Jackson as his airheaded, »
- Sam Gutelle
About Zombieland: Four survivors are killin’ zombies and searching for a place to call home. Based on the movie of the same name. http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00CE18P0K
About Betas: In Silicon Valley, the right algorithm can make you a king. And these four friends think they’ve finally cracked the code. http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00CDBX1PA
About Onion News Empire: The journalists at the Onion News Network will do anything to stay at the top of their game. http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00CDBUCOI
Browsers: Fresh-faced interns face the music – and sing along with it – as they launch their careers, and their grown-up lives in Manhattan. »
AmazonStudios is taking a more unusual approach by letting viewers decide what they want to keep watching. The company has kicked off its screening process this weekend by unveiling its inaugural slate of 14 pilots — eight comedies and six kids shows, all made available for free on AmazonInstant Video, LoveFilm UK and LoveFilm Germany. Viewers are being invited to watch the pilots and Amazon is welcoming feedback from its audience. According to Deadline, the company will evaluate feedback from an online panel recruited on Amazon preview as well as traditional offline focus groups to decide if they greenlight a series or not. The highest-profile series is Zombieland, but the two that look most interesting are Alpha House, starring John Goodman with cameos by Bill Murray and Stephen Colbert; and Onion News Empire. Amazon has not yet decided how many of the shows will make the cut, nor when they will premiere. »
- Kyle Reese
Our sister site The Onion has been hard at work piloting a new series for Amazon—one of a whole bunch of pilots that the once-and-future bookseller put into motion recently. Onion News Empire stars Jeffrey Tambor (from, you know, Arrested Development) as the top-dog reporter at the Onion News Network, a news empire so huge you can barely see the top of it. (The jokes in the actual show are much better than that.) Amazon is letting viewers decide which of these pilots will go to series, so for God's sake, go let them know how much you »
Amazon Studios’ inaugural slate of 14 pilots are now available at Amazon Instant Video, through any Amazon Instant Video app and at amazonoriginals.com. All of the pilots can be accessed for free, and customer feedback provided after each pilot is viewed will help determine which shows Amazon Studios will order to series.
Among the prospective shows are eight adult comedies and six children’s programs. Amazon’s comedy roster, in particular, is packed with stars. Alpha House stars John Goodman and Mark Consuelos with an appearance by Bill Murray, the musical Browsers features Tony-winner Bebe Neuwirth, and Jeffrey Tambor is »
- John Mitchell
Duck season. Rabbit season. Duck season. Rabbit season. Pilot season. It's that time again, when the networks cast, film, and deliberate on a new slate of potential TV shows. (Here is a rundown of this year's dramas and comedies.) Amazon.com, which had recently decided to throw its hat in the television business, is subverting the process, putting all fourteen of its pilots (eight comedies and six animated) online for people to watch and judge for themselves. Amazon will partially base which ones they pick up by the audience comments. We already told you about the Zombieland adaptation, but you can also watch the John Goodman–starring Alpha House (about a Washington, D.C. house where several senators live together), the Jeffrey Tambor–starring Onion News Empire (about the behind-the-scenes goings-on of the Onion News Network), and the many others over at Amazon Instant Video. One features a drop-in from Bill Murray, »
- Jesse David Fox
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