Amazon to Make First Three Episodes of 'Alpha House,' 'Betas' Available for Free
Amazon has announced the premiere dates and distribution strategy for its first two original series: Alpha House and Betas.
The first three episodes of each show will be available for free, to all Amazon customers. After that, one episode will be rolled out each week via Amazon's Prime Instant Video. Alpha House, starring John Goodman, will debut on Nov. 15, with Ed Begley Jr.'s Betas premiering on Nov. 22.
Amazon's strategy falls in between that of a traditional network and streaming service Netflix, which makes every episode of its original series available at the same time.
The two comedy series are Amazon's first original programs as it competes with Netflix and Hulu.
"We will release three episodes up front for all customers so they can try out the shows and get to know the characters. Then we will release new episodes via Prime Instant Video week by week so that customers can chat about the shows and build up anticipation," Amazon Studios director Roy Price said in a statement. "We're constantly experimenting and trying new things -- and we're eager to hear customers' feedback on this model."
In addition to Goodman, Alpha House stars Mark Consuelos, Clark Johnson and Matt Malloy as four senators who rent a house together in Washington, D.C. Cynthia Nixon, Amy Sedaris and Wanda Sykes co-star in the series written by Oscar nominee and Pulitzer Prize winner Garry Trudeau and produced by Trudeau, Elliot Webb and Jonathan Alter.
Betas, written by Evan Endicott and Josh Stoddard, follows four friends as they try to strike it rich with a social networking app. Michael Lehmann directs and produces Betas along with Emmy winners Alan Freedland and Alan Cohen and Oscar nominee Michael London. In addition to Begley Jr., the Betas cast includes Joe Dinicol, Karan Soni, Jon Daly, Charlie Saxton and Maya Erskine.