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Amazon is beefing up its slate of original programming for 2016.
Hours after renewing prestige historical series The Man in the High Castle, the company has also renewed coming-of-age comedy Red Oaks, drama Hand of God and children’s show Tumble Leaf, The Hollywood Reporter has confirmed.
Additionally, the company handed out series orders to eight new projects, including Highston, One Mississippi, Z: The Beginning of Everything, Good Girls Revolt and Patriot, as well as children’s series Danger & Eggs, If You Give a Mouse a Cookie and Niko and the Sword of Light.
Hand of God, starring Ron Perlman and Dana Delany, hails from writer Ben Watkins (Burn Notice). The pilot for the dramatic thriller, which centers on a law-bending judge who suffers a mental breakdown, was directed by Marc Forster (World War Z).
Executive produced by Steven Soderbergh and David Gordon Green, Red Oaks is a comedy-of-age set in 1980s New Jersey starring Jennifer Grey, Richard Kind, Paul Reiser and breakout Oliver Cooper. The series is created by Gregory Jacobs (Magic Mike XXL, The Knick) and Joe Gangemi (Eliza Graves).
Drew Hodges’ preschool stop-motion animated series Tumble Leaf, which returns for a third season, hails from Bix Pic Entertainment.
The new series are as follows:
From Bob Nelson (Nebraska), directors Jonathan Dayton and Valerie Faris (Little Miss Sunshine) and executive producer Sacha Baron Cohen, Highston is a family comedy centered around 19-year-old Highston Liggetts (Lewis Pullman), who has a number of celebrity friends that only he can see. His parents, played by Mary Lynn Rajskub and Chris Parnell, force him to get psychiatric help, but his uncle Billy (Curtis Armstrong) thinks he’s fine. The pilot guest-stars Shaquille O’Neal and Red Hot Chili Peppers bassist Flea, and was written by Nelson, directed by Dayton and Faris and executive produced by Cohen, Todd Hoffman (Love Stinks), Nelson and Todd Schulman (Bruno).
One Mississippi, executive produced by Louis C.K., Tig Notaro and Diablo Cody, was co-written by Notaro and stars the comedian in a semi-autobiographical story of a woman who, still reeling from her own declining health, returns to her childhood hometown of Bay Saint Lucille, Mississippi to deal with the unexpected death of her mother, the one person who actually understood her. Casey Wilson stars as Tig’s girlfriend Brooke, Transparent‘s Noah Harpster plays Tig’s older brother and The Devil Wears Prada‘s John Rothman plays her emotionally distant stepfather. Nicole Holofcener helmed the pilot. The comedy, which was initially set up as a script deal at FX but moved to Amazon, hails from C.K.’s FX Productions-based Pig Newton banner. Dave Becky of 3 Arts and Blair Breard (Louie) are also executive producers.
Z: The Beginning of Everything is a half-hour bio-series based on the life of Zelda Fitzgerald (Christina Ricci) and her passionate love affair with author F. Scott Fitzgerald (Gavin Stenhouse). Z was written by Dawn Prestwich (The Killing) and Nicole Yorkin (The Killing), directed by Tim Blake Nelson (Anesthesia), and executive produced by Ricci, Pam Koffler and Christine Vachon (Still Alice) of Killer Films.
Set in 1969, Good Girls Revolt centers on a group of young female researchers at “News of the Week” who seek to be treated fairly, a pursuit that ultimately upends marriages, careers and various relationships. Inspired by landmark sexual discrimination cases chronicled in Lynn Povich’s The Good Girls Revolt, the project features actors playing a number of real people including Eleanor Holmes Norton (Joy Bryant) and Nora Ephron (Grace Gummer). Jim Belushi will play Wick McFadden. The pilot also features Pitch Perfect‘s Anna Camp, Weeds‘ Hunter Parrish, Silicon Valley‘s Chris Diamantopoulos, Erin Darke and Genevieve Angelson. A co-production with TriStar Television, Good Girls Revolt was written by Dana Calvo (Made in Jersey), directed by Liza Johnson (Return), and executive produced by Calvo, Lynda Obst, Darlene Hunt (The Big C), Don Kurt (Justified) and Jeff Okin (Dark Skies).
Patriot is a political thriller starring Lost alum Terry O’Quinn. In it, the Emmy winner plays a State Department director of intelligence and the father of intelligence officer John Tavner (Australian newcomer Michael Dorman), whose latest assignment is to prevent Iran from developing a nuclear weapon. The cast also includes Michael Chernus, Kathleen Munroe, Ailette Opheim and Kurtwood Smith. Patriot was written and directed by Steven Conrad (The Secret Life of Walter Mitty), and executive produced by Conrad, Gil Bellows (Temple Grandin), Glenn Ficarra, Charlie Gogolak and John Requa.
Based on the famous children’s book If You Give a Mouse a Cookie, it hails from Emmy-winning writer Ken Scarborough and has been picked up for 26 episodes.
Aimed for kids ages 6-11, Danger & Eggsis produced by Yo Gabba Gabba! producer Puny Entertainment and voiced by comics Aidy Bryant and Eric Knobel.
Niko and the Sword of Light, an adaptation of the comic book, comes from writer Rob Hoegee.
Amazon has not yet announced return dates or premiere dates for these series.
The series pickups comes as Amazon prepares for a big 2016. In addition to earning Golden Globe nominations for both Transparent and Mozart in the Jungle, the company is getting ready to launch one of its most high-profile series to date: David E. Kelley’s The Trial starring Billy Bob Thornton. The series was the first not to go through Amazon’s traditional pilot process, which allows viewers to vote on their favorites.
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