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One of Roy Price’s final pilot orders is moving forward at Amazon Studios.
New Amazon Studios head Jennifer Salke on Saturday announced that the retail giant/streamer has handed out a 10-episode series order to Upload, a sci-fi romantic satire from Greg Daniels (The Office).
The project is a single-camera sitcom that takes place in the near future, where people who are near death can be “uploaded” into a virtual afterlife of their choice. Set in 2033, the secretly romantic Brooklyn-born Nora (Andy Allo, Pitch Perfect 3) works customer service for a luxurious virtual reality environment. When handsome L.A. party boy Nathan’s (Robbie Amell, The DUFF) self-driving car crashes, his high-maintenance girlfriend uploads him permanently into Nora’s VR world.
Daniels, who created the series, penned the script and will serve as showrunner after directing the pilot for the comedy, which was one of the last pilots greenlighted by former Amazon Studios head Price, who was ousted last year following sexual harassment allegations. Daniels’ producing partner Howard Klein (The Office, King of the Hill) will also executive produce.
“Amazon is the perfect place to make Upload because of their strong creative team, and because it’s a company that could actually one day host a digital afterlife,” Daniels said. “If I get in good with them, I’m hoping for a big discount on my first thousand years.”
Upload reunites Daniels with both Salke and Amazon co-head of television Vernon Sanders, with whom Daniels worked on the NBC/Universal TV comedies The Office and Parks and Recreation. Salke recruited Sanders to Amazon after he stepped down as head of current programming at NBC in November so he could return to his roots as a producer with an overall deal with studio Universal Television.
“I’m thrilled to be once again working with Greg and Howard on this new series,” Sanders said. “They’ve made some of the best comedies of the last three decades, and I know our Prime Video customers are in for a treat when Upload premieres.”
Upload was the last remaining pilot greenlighted at Amazon under Price’s “democratic” process in which viewers were able to stream and vote on which should go through. Multiple insiders at the time noted the process was largely for show and rarely impacted series pickup decisions under the Price regime. Before Salke and Sanders started, Amazon passed on all of its current pilots, save for Upload and Making Friends from How I Met Your Mother creators Carter Bays and Craig Thomas. Salke passed on the latter after taking over at Amazon.
For Daniels, the Upload pickup arrives less than two months after TBS reversed course on its third-season renewal decision for the alien-abduction comedy People of Earth. Meanwhile, NBC is rumored to be developing a reboot of The Office. It’s unclear if Daniels will be involved as the network and original producers Universal TV have yet to comment on the idea.
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Thomas Brodie Sangster