Amazon greenlights 6 original comedy pilots for Prime users

Amazon to yuck it up with a half dozen comedy pilots
Amazon to yuck it up with a half dozen comedy pilots

That smiling Amazon logo will soon be laughing, as six original comedy pilots were announced today for its Prime Instant Video service in the U.S. and Lovefilm in the U.K.

The online store touted its open-door development process in picking the six comedies, having crowdsourced 12,000 movie scripts and 2,000 series pilots over a two-year period.

"Since launching our original series development effort, we have received more than 2,000 series ideas from creators around the world with all different backgrounds," said Director of Amazon Studios, Roy Price, in a press release.

"We are extremely excited to begin production on our very first set of pilots."

The pilots are...

Most of the crowdsourced creators with "different backgrounds" have one thing in common - you've probably seen their work before.

Alpha House was written by Doonesbury cartoonist Garry Trudeau and follows four senators living together in a rented Washington, D.C. house. This political satire's pilot may or may not end in a fiscal cliffhanger.

Big Bang Theory co-stars Kevin Sussman and John Ross Bowie also successfully submitted a pilot, the animated Dark Minions. It's being produced by Reno 911's Principato-Young Entertainment.

The Daily Show's Kristen Schaal will join Butter scriptwriter Jason Micallef in producing a second animated pilot for Amazon, Supernatural. It's about two mall-working divas defending humanity against - what else - the supernatural.

Another Daily Show writer, 12-time Emmy-winner David Javerbaum, is penning Browsers, a musical comedy set at a news site and directed by 30 Rock's Don Scardino.

The Onion, the satirical news source (and sometimes "official" news source dubiously picked up by Iran and North Korea), will create The Onion Presents: The News. It's supposed to be a smart, fast-paced scripted comedy that goes behind the scenes of the network and its "journalists."

Pilot Those Who Can't and writers Andrew Orvedahl, Adam Cayton-Holland and Benjamin Roy are the biggest beneficiary of Amazon's open-door process.

Their original comedy is described as being about "three juvenile, misfit teachers who are just as immature, if not more so, than the students they teach."

Amazon users pick a pilot for a full season

When the free comedy pilots appear on Amazon Instant Video, the site's customers will be able to provide feedback to determine which series the studio will produce in full.

Adding to the Amazon Prime perks, completed seasons will be exclusive to paying members of the expedited shipping and Instant Video service.

The online retailer said that the six original comedy pilots announced today are in addition to 14 projects that were submitted to Amazon Studios and have already optioned for development.

"Amazon has been so innovative and successful in so many realms," said Doonesbury and Alpha House creator Garry Trudeau. "It's impossible not to get excited about its new venture into online programming."

So, unlike Netflix CEO Reed Hastings, it appears as if Trudeau doesn't think Amazon's online video service is a confusing mess and wasting money on streaming.