Amazon's Head of Comedy Talks "Experimentation" With Release Schedule

"I'm really excited to try something different and put this out this way," the studio's head of comedy, Joe Lewis, said Monday at TCA when discussing 'The New Yorker Presents.'
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To binge or not to binge?

That's the question every streaming company faces in the current era of #PeakTV. While Netflix has turned 'binging' into an event thanks to the all-at-once release model with series like House of Cards and Orange Is the New Black, Hulu has gone the opposite course, releasing new episodes of original series like The Mindy Project at one episode a week.

However, Amazon is aiming for somewhere in the middle.

"I think we're always going to be open to experimentation," Joe Lewis, the company's head of comedy, said Monday at the Television Critics Association winter press tour. "I think the idea that the second release pattern after weekly being binge is the final word on it — I'm just not sure that that’s the case."

The company has so far released seasons of its original series all at once, such as with Transparent and Bosch, among others. However, The New Yorker Presents will debut on Feb. 16 with three new episodes. Two new episodes at a time will be released every week thereafter.

"I think for every show, same way we think about every creator, we think about how we should release it," Lewis said. "I'm really excited to try something different and put this out this way."

From Going Clear filmmaker Alex Gibey, The New Yorker Presents is a half-hour docuseries centering on the award-winning magazine. The series will include poems, documentaries, interviews and other materials from the magazine.

Earlier during Amazon's TCA presentation, Bosch executive producer Michael Connelly discussed how the writers of the sophomore noir crime drama have embraced Amazon's all-at-once release strategy. "We have a mindset when we're ending our episodes of 'how do we keep it going,' " he said.

Added showrunner Eric Overmyer: "Michaels' books are page-turners and I think we have tried to replicate that."

At TCA's summer press tour, Hulu's senior vp and head of content Craig Erwich spoke about the value of releasing shows weekly.

"We want to give viewers an opportunity to discover their favorite shows every week. Like you, we value the shared experience and the joy of the water cooler experience that is television," Erwich said. "We want to give you, the writers, time to discover and hopefully celebrate these shows as well," 

The debate between release strategies heated up last June when Orange Is the New Black creator Jenji Kohan publicly lamented Netflix's binge model.

"I miss having people on the same page," Kohan told THR at the time. "I do miss being able to go online and have the conversation the day after."

Netflix has only veered from its tried-and-true release schedule once, for the Jennette McCurdy sci-fi series Between, which simultaneously aired on Canadian Television.

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