Amazon Studios taps the Onion, Daily Show writers, others for comedy pilots

Gigaom

Amazon Studios, Amazon’s film production division, will produce pilots for six original comedy series, the company announced Thursday — including shows from the Onion, “Doonesbury” writer Garry Trudeau and Daily Show writer David Javerbaum.

In May, Amazon Studios invited developers to submit proposals for original children’s and comedy shows. The program is an effort to create original content while cutting out the middleman — big studios and networks. Creators get $10,000 if a show is optioned, and “a $55,000 payment, up to 5 percent of Amazon’s net receipts from toy and t-shirt licensing, and other royalties and bonuses” if a series is produced. In addition to the pilots announced today, Amazon previously optioned 14 other projects.

The pilots will be posted on Amazon Instant Video, where customers can watch them for free, and “viewer feedback will help determine which series Amazon Studios should produce. Completed seasons will be exclusively available to Prime members through Prime Instant Video and Lovefilm in the U.K. for free.”

Here are the six pilots:

Alpha House

Alpha House was written by Academy Award nominee and Pulitzer-Prize winner Garry Trudeau (Doonesbury, Tanner ’88). Alpha House follows four senators who live together in a rented house in Washington DC.

Browsers

Written by 12-time Emmy-winning comedy writer David Javerbaum (The Daily Show) and to be directed by Don Scardino (30 Rock), Browsers is a musical comedy set in contemporary Manhattan that follows four young people as they start their first jobs at a news website.

Dark Minions

Written by Big Bang Theory co-stars Kevin Sussman and John Ross Bowie, Dark Minions is an animated workplace series about two slackers just trying to make a paycheck working an intergalactic warship. The pilot will be produced by Principato-Young (Reno 911).

The Onion Presents: The News

The Onion Presents: The News is a smart, fast-paced scripted comedy set behind the scenes of The Onion News Network that shows just how far journalists will go to stay at the top of their game. The Onion Presents: The News is from The Onion’s Will Graham & Dan Mirk (The Onion News Network, The Onion Sportsdome).

Supanatural

Supanatural is an animated comedy series about two outspoken divas who are humanity’s last line of defense against the supernatural, when they’re not working at the mall. The series, written by Lily Sparks, Price Peterson and Ryan Sandoval, will be produced by Jason Micallef (Butter) and Kristen Schaal (The Daily Show).

Those Who Can’t

Written by Andrew Orvedahl, Adam Cayton-Holland and Benjamin Roy (Grawlix), who were discovered through Amazon Studios online open door process, Those Who Can’t is a comedy about three juvenile, misfit teachers who are just as immature, if not more so, than the students they teach.



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