8:19am PT by Hilary Lewis , Kate Stanhope
Amazon Sets Fall Pilot Season, Including Glenn Close-Starrer 'Sea Oak'
Amazon is including the Glenn Close-starrer Sea Oak as one of three half-hour shows in its forthcoming fall pilot season.
The first episode of that show, along with pilots for Bridget Everett and Michael Patrick King's Love You More and the Detroit comedy The Climb, will debut on Amazon Prime Video on Nov. 10.
The genre-bending comedy Sea Oak is based on a short story of the same name by author and creator George Saunders, with the pilot directed by Atlanta's Hiro Murai and executive produced by Murai, Jonathan Krauss and showrunner Evan Dunsky. Lael Smith and Keir McFarlane serve as co-executive producers. The show follows Close's working-class, Rust Belt protagonist Aunt Bernie, who dies in a home invasion but comes back from the dead full of rage determined to get the life she never had, making a range of demands upon her two nieces and quasi-stripper nephew who live in the Sea Oak subsidized housing complex.
Detroit comedy The Climb comes from The Mark Gordon Company and creator and star Diarra Kilpatrick. The show follows an office assistant who seeks internet fame. Chris Robinson directed the pilot, which was filmed on location in Detroit, with Christina Lee serving as showrunner on the first episode.
Love You More comes from creators Everett, King, Goldthwait and Carolyn Strauss. The half-hour centers on Karen Best (Bridget Everett), a big girl with a big personality and a big love of chardonnay, which occasionally causes her to make some big mistakes with men. However, Karen also has a big heart, which comes in handy for her job as a counselor at an independent living residence for young adults with Down syndrome. Her ability to stand up for all the little people in life sometimes manifests into a fantasy rock music number, where we discover she also has a big and beautiful voice. Warner Bros. TV will co-produce the series with Amazon Studios. King will serve as showrunner and exec-produce with director Goldthwait. Everett will serve as a co-executive producer.
"We're excited about, and committed to, telling diverse and risky stories from the best storytellers in the world," said Amazon Studios' head of comedy, drama and VR Joe Lewis. "We can’t wait for customers to see these incredible new universes from Diarra, Bridget, Michael and George.”
The three half-hour pilots follow the March premieres of hourlong pilots including The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel, from Gilmore Girls creator Amy Sherman-Palladino, which earned a rare two-season pickup at the company a month later. Amazon has yet to make a decision on the others, Budding Prospects, The Legend of Master Legend and Oasis.
In recent years, Amazon has moved away from the pilot season model that it first began using in 2014, instead opting to give straight-to-series orders on originals including Goliath, Carlton Cuse's upcoming Jack Ryan remake, Matthew Weiner's Romanoffs anthology series and an untitled comedy series from Fred Armisen and Maya Rudolph.
The fall pilot season comes amidst a major programming shift at Amazon Studios as the company focuses on looking for the next big breakout in the vein of HBO's Game of Thrones. In recent months, the company has canceled several series including The Last Tycoon and Z: The Beginning of Everything. There has also been some executive shuffling at the company, with studio head Roy Price resigning last week after he was accused of sexual harassment by a producer on Man in the High Castle. Longtime Amazon exec Morgan Wandell is leaving for Apple to serve as head of international and creative development, worldwide video.