EXCLUSIVE: Amazon Studios Europe Boss Georgia Brown has said “broadcasters and streamers were not investing enough in the non-scripted space” when she joined five years ago, as the SVoD prepares to unveil a suite of true crime docs with a variety of different tones.
Speaking exclusively to Deadline after this morning’s UK Showcase event, Brown described Amazon Europe’s decision to “put the same care, attention and love into non-scripted as scripted” over the past five years as “rare.”
“Traditionally, I don’t think broadcasters and streamers have done that so much,” she said.
“When I joined, other players weren’t making the [non-scripted] shows I wanted to make. There was so much heat on scripted, making bigger-budget scripted, putting bigger stars in scripted, and it felt like a golden moment for drama.”
She cited Amazon’s range of sports docs including forthcoming Paul Pogba show The Pogmentary along with reality franchises such as LOL: Last One Laughing and the recently-debuted Lovestruck High.
Brown added: “I hired a non-scripted team commissioning team before scripted because I saw a white space joining from [non-scripted powerhouse] Fremantle and it was evident to me that broadcasters and streamers were not investing enough in the non-scripted space. There was a clear way you could elevate [non-scripted] for audiences because audiences love this content.”
Brown conceded streamers such as Netflix have started investing more in these non-scripted genres during her tenure.
She was speaking alongside Head of UK Commissioning Dan Grabiner, who teased a suite of true crime docs that will potentially sit within one all-encompassing strand. Two true crime docs, The Disappearance of Patricia Hall (working title) and Three Mothers (working title), were unveiled at the Showcase.
“There are a handful of these true crime docs on their way,” added Grabiner, who said they will differ in tone and more information will be forthcoming soon.
“There’s plenty of true crime around but if you’re a true crime fan then you can watch all day long. We’re looking for a twist, something different.”
The streamer is producing at least 50 UK shows this year but the pair said this number is being used simply as a rough guide, with Brown adding: “People don’t remember the number, they remember the breathtaking narrative of the one show they really enjoyed.”
More generally, Grabiner and Brown stressed several times that they are seeking shows that introduce a twist to an established genre.
One such show is Jungle, from new-to-TV outfit Nothing Lost, a futuristic grime/drill hybrid drama-musical that was teased during the Showcase.
Grabiner said he is hoping Amazon can kickstart a generation of young creatives making TV for the first time in this vein and its suite of training initiatives are helping deliver.
“There’s an incredible younger dynasty coming up who are so confident in their vision,” added Brown. “We’re working with creatives who want to revolutionize the way content is thought about. None of us have collectively done enough of this in the past and the longevity of the industry comes down to people in positions like ours who need to put our hands together and focus on that generation.”
Creating Jungle was essentially like “making a music video in six parts,” she added, and Amazon decided against pairing Nothing Lost with an established drama indie to allow their creativity to shine through.
Speaking during the Showcase, Jungle’s Junior Okoli said Amazon had been “brave” by taking on an idea that was difficult to sell.
“We wanted to create something beautiful with a strong message and Amazon said ‘we see that.’,” he explained.
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