Amazon Studios is entering the YA series space by ordering three pilots — Panic, from writer Lauren Oliver based on her best-selling book and producers Joe Roth & Jeff Kirschenbaum; The Wilds from Sarah Streicher (Daredevil), producer Jamie Tarses and ABC Signature; and College, from 6 Balloons filmmaker Marja-Lewis Ryan and producers Channing Tatum and Jill Soloway.
New Amazon Studios head Jennifer Salke signaled the move into the YA arena in her interview with Deadline earlier this month. “I feel like (YA) is a white space that we’re not in,” she said. “I think we have a huge opportunity with young adults, who will view up, and I think it extends up into audiences of women in their 30s as well if we do more. We have a couple of ideas there, and I wanted to make a couple of pilots so that I could see the execution before we decided. Those are things you can control the cost on because they’re a younger cast, and at the same time they’re original and high quality.”
As we reported in November, Amazon has moved away from public pilot seasons, which had been the streaming service’ trademark early on. The three YA pilots will not be made available for customers to watch and vote on. Instead, they will be evaluated internally for series consideration.
“We see YA programming as a big opportunity to expand our entertainment offerings for Prime Video and we are actively pursuing projects that spark conversation and co-viewing,” said Albert Cheng, Amazon Studios’ Co-Head of Television.
Panic, The Wilds and College all mark the first television projects for their creators.
“We’re excited to explore the point of view of Lauren, Sarah, and Marja who are fresh and distinct voices in television,” said Nick Hall, Head of Alternative Scripted Programming, Amazon Studios. “They are creating content for a younger audience that will also transcend cross-generationally, and we look forward to bringing this new perspective to our Prime audience.”
Written and created by Oliver based on her novel, Panic centers on a forgotten rural town where every year the graduating seniors risk their lives in an illegal, high-stakes game to win life-changing money–and a chance to escape. Anonymous judges force the players through a series of challenges that will compel them to confront their deepest fears – and upend their ideas of who they are, who to trust, and who they might become. This year, 47 players will compete for the biggest pot ever. All of them will be changed. Only one will win.
Oliver executive produces with Joe Roth & Jeff Kirschenbaum of Roth Kirschenbaum Films (Maleficent 2, The Voyages Of Doctor Dolittle) and Elle Triedman (Siren, Revenge). Alyssa Altman serves as co-executive producer along with Lynley Bird of Glasstown Entertainment, the company led by Oliver and Lexa Hillyer.
The Wilds, a co-production with ABC Signature Studios, is written by Streicher. It centers on a group of teenage girls from radically different backgrounds who find themselves stranded on a remote island, unaware that they’ve just become the subjects of an elaborate social experiment. Part survival drama, part dystopic slumber party, The Wilds explores the past and present struggles of these young women, offering up a vivid portrayal of what it means to grow up female in our time – whether you are lost in the wilderness or not.
Streicher executive produces with Jamie Tarses’ Fanfare and Dylan Clark Productions.
Created by Marja-Lewis Ryan, College digs beyond the headlines that make college campuses ripe for drama and steps inside the shoes of six roommates as they hook up, mess up and grow up on their own terms.
College is a joint production between Free Association and Topple Productions, with Channing Tatum (6 Balloons), Jill Soloway (Transparent), Reid Carolin (6 Balloons), Andrea Sperling (Transparent), and Peter Kiernan (6 Balloons) as executive producers.
Tatum and Carolin produced Ryan’s film 6 Balloons, which was recently released on Netflix. Soloway is under an overall deal with Amazon for her company, which she runs with Sperling.