Bouyed by the critical success of many of its digital originals, notably Emmy-winner Transparent, Amazon has given the greenlight to another dramatic series.
Sneaky Pete will debut exclusively on Prime Video in the U.S., U.K., Germany, Austria and Japan in 2016, and comes from executive producers David Shore (House), Bryan Cranston (Breaking Bad), Erin Gunn (Battle Creek) and James Degus (All the Way). The pilot episode, currently available on Amazon Video and featuring a special appearance by Cranston, was directed by Seth Gordon (Horrible Bosses), who also executive produces the show.
The series, a co-production with Sony Pictures Television, will star Giovanni Ribisi (Avatar), Marin Ireland (Side Effects), Margo Martindale (The Millers), Peter Gerety (Prime Suspect), Libe Barer (Parenthood) and Shane McRae (Still Alice). The story revolves around a con-man (Ribisi) who, after leaving prison, takes cover from his past by assuming the identity of his cellmate, Pete. He moves in with Pete ‘s unsuspecting family and is roped into the family’s bail bond business.
Sneaky Pete will be available for Prime members through the Amazon Video app for TVs, connected devices and mobile devices, or online. Amazon has not yet made public the series’ premiere date, not the number of episodes in the pilot season.
The announcement of the new series adds to Amazon’s growing library of originals. In October, the company confirmed it would bring The Man in the High Castle, a series based on the Phillip K. Dick novel of the same name, to the Prime service, as of Nov. 20.
Transparent, which was recently greenlit for a third season, is the company’s biggest success to date. The series won Amazon its first (and second) Emmy this year for the performances of series’ lead Jeffrey Tambor and Bradley Whitford, who had a regular guest role. The show also took home three Creative Arts Emmys.
Also promised in 2016 are the second seasons of Bosch and romantic comedy Catastrophe, along with the debut season of The New Yorker Presents and Mad Dogs.
In an earlier interview with StreamDaily, Peter Csathy, CEO of the L.A.-based Manatt Digital Media, said SVOD services are taking their cue from television networks and putting their money into original content.
Originals, Csathy said, may result in a financial loss, but it’s a necessary loss to attract viewers: “It should be seen as a marketing expense to bring people in and retain them.”