EXCLUSIVE: I have learned that Amazon Studios has opted not to pick up any of the three comedy pilots that were part of the current fall 2017 pilot season. That includes Sea Oak, starring Glenn Close; Love You More, from Patti Cake$’ Bridget Everett and Sex and the City‘s Michael Patrick King; and Diarra Kilpatrick’s The Climb. There is no renewal decision yet on comedy series One Mississippi, and Amazon has yet to weigh in on the future of I Love Dick.
The decision to pass on the three comedy pilots comes as Amazon Studios is in the midst of a major executive overhaul. The pilots premiered on Amazon Prime Video on November 10, just a couple of weeks after the men who had greenlighted them, Amazon Studios head Roy Price and his top lieutenant, head of comedy and drama development Joe Lewis, exited in short succession in the wake of the Harvey Weinstein scandal. A search is underway for a new Amazon Studios head.
Over the past year or so, Amazon Studios had been shifting away from pilots toward straight-to-series orders. And as signaled by Price in August, the company made a programming course correction with a new focus on big, genre drama series as exemplified by the company’s recent big bet on a Lord of the Rings series.
When Amazon entered the original-series arena five years ago under Price, the company put its own twist on the traditional development model with pilot seasons that featured the streaming service uploading its completed pilots onto Amazon Prime Video “for all customers to stream.” As I reported last month, the streaming service is considering no longer making some or all of its pilots available for public viewing.
Amazon has two active pilots at the moment, also ordered by the previous regime: Upload, a single-camera comedy pilot from The Office creator Greg Daniels, and Making Friends, a multi-camera one from How I Met Your Mother creators Carter Bays and Craig Thomas along with Seth Rogen and Evan Goldberg, marking the streamer’s first multi-cam pilot. The latter has cast Adhir Kalyan and Gorogia King as leads.
Sea Oak, from short-story writer and creator George Saunders, starred Close as Aunt Bernie, a working-class woman in a Rust Belt city who dies tragically in a home invasion and comes back from the dead full of rage, determined to get the life she never had. Hiro Murai directed and Jonathan Krauss executive produced and through his Affiliated Pictures banner.
The Climb hailed from creator and star Kilpatrick (American Koko, The Last O.G.) and the Mark Gordon Co. The Detroit-set comedy followed an office assistant who seeks an extraordinary life through Internet fame.
Love You More stared Everett as Karen Best, who works as a counselor at an independent living residence for young adults with Down syndrome. Bobcat Goldthwait directed.