Amazon Studios to Develop Original Comedies and Kids Series

Roy Price Headshot - P 2012

Roy Price Headshot - P 2012

Much as it has done in the film space, Amazon is attempting to democratize the TV development process by letting creators submit their proposals for audience review.

Amazon Studios is pushing into television development with original comedy and kids programming.

Much as it has done in the film space, the year-and-a-half-old studio is opening its development process to creators and the audience members who choose to critique their work. Beginning on Wednesday, creative types will be able to upload their TV proposals, with the best projects to be distributed through Amazon Instant Video.

Borrowing from the open source philosophy that has produced results for Silicon Valley, Amazon Studios director Roy Price says that the goal is to democratize the process. Like its movie experiment, which initially met with criticism from a collection of established Hollywood writers who publicly blasted the crowd-sourcing strategy, audience members will not only share their top-line feedback -- "I liked it," "I didn't like it" -- but also which aspects they feel are and are not working.

"I do think there's an important difference between a focus group of 10 people and having 100,000 people watch your pilot and give feedback," notes Price, who adds that he's been surprised by the audience's interest in the development and note-giving process thus far. Since Amazon Studios' late-2010 launch, more than 700 test movies and 7,000 scripts have been submitted; 15 movie projects are currently in development.

With its TV foray, being led by Joe Lewis, formerly of 20th Century Fox and Comedy Central, and National Geographic Kids' Tara Sorensen, Amazon Studios intends to option one new project to its development slate each month. If it chooses to produce the series, the creator will then receive a $55,000 fee, up to 5 percent of Amazon's revenue from toy and T-shirt licensing and other royalties and bonuses. In order to submit, a project must have a five-page description, along with a 22-minute pilot script for comedies or 11 minutes for kids shows.

The projects can be submitted publicly or privately, and within 45 days Amazon Studios will do one of two things: either extend an option for $10,000 or invite the creator to add the project to the Amazon site. If it isn't optioned, the creators have the choice to pull it or keep it up to garner feedback.

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