Amazon's Tricky Pilot Process: The Results So Far

Alpha House Still - H 2015
Courtesy of Amazon

Alpha House Still - H 2015

Viewers play network exec with feedback, but executives sometimes go with their gut.

This story first appeared in the July 24 issue of The Hollywood Reporter magazine. To receive the magazine, click here to subscribe.

Most television pilots never make it to people's television sets. But at Amazon, which releases its pilots for free on Prime Instant Video and solicits viewer feedback, the audience plays network executive — with mixed results so far.

Initial viewers didn't love eventual breakout Transparent, for instance, so Roy Price and his team weigh the audience ratings together with viewership, social media buzz, critical response and their own gut instincts before making decisions on series pickups.

"I loved the idea that some of my favorite critics could see it within minutes," says Transparent creator Jill Soloway. THR breaks down the streaming service's five pilot cycles and the series they have generated.