Amazon unveils 2016 comedy pilot line-up

How do you choose between Jill Soloway and Jean-Claude Van Damme? The SVOD looks for help in greenlighting its next big hit.
July 21, 2016

Three new half-hour comedy pilots are coming to Amazon Video and subscribers to the service are once again invited to review the shows to help determine which will become an Amazon original series.

All of the pilots come from noted creators, including Peter Atencio (Key and Peele), Ben Edlund (Supernatural), Barry Josephson (Bones), Ridley Scott (The Martian), and Jill Soloway, pictured (Transparent). The shows also feature well-known talent drawn from digital and traditional platforms.

The comedy slate is set to debut Aug. 19 in Amazon’s SVOD markets in the U.S., U.K., Germany, Austria, and Japan.

Included in the lined-up:

  • I Love Dick, based on the feminist novel by Chris Kraus of the same name about a couple’s marital struggles in the artistic and academic community of Marfa, Texas. The pilot is directed by Soloway and written by Sarah Gubbins. Soloway also serves as executive producer, along with Gubbins and Andrea Sperling. Kevin Bacon (The Following), Griffin Dunne (Dallas Buyers Club), Kathryn Hahn (Transparent) star.
  • Jean-Claude Van Johnson, where martial arts film star Jean-Claude Van Damme (JCVD) operates under the alias of “Jean-Claude Van Johnson” to serve as the most dangerous undercover private contractor in the world. Phylicia Rashad (Creed) also stars. The show is executive produced by Atencio, Scott, David W. Zucker (The Man in the High Castle) and Van Damme. From Scott Free Productions, the pilot is directed by Atencio and written by Dave Callaham (Mortal Kombat).
  • The Tick, an offbeat and dark superhero tale based on the acclaimed comic. Peter Serafinowicz (Guardians of the Galaxy), Griffin Newman (Vinyl), Jackie Earle Haley (Watchmen), and Yara Martinez (Jane the Virgin) are among the series’ stars. Executive producers include Edlund, Josephson and Barry Sonnenfeld (A Series of Unfortunate Events). Edlund also serves as writer, with Wally Pfister (The Dark Knight) directing. The Tick is a co-pro with Sony Pictures Television.

As it’s done in the past, Amazon is giving its streaming subscribers the opportunity to help choose which of the pilots will go on to series.

The SVOD has used the same customer-feedback strategy to greenlight some of its most-popular (and critically acclaimed) shows to date, including Soloway’s multi Golden Globe and Emmy-winning series Transparent, as well as Mozart in the Jungle, and The Man in the High Castle (currently the record holder as the most-streamed Amazon Original Series ever by Prime members globally, according to Amazon’s own data).

“Nowhere else will voices as influential as Jill Soloway and Jean-Claude Van Damme share a stage,” said Joe Lewis, head of half-hour series for Amazon Studios, in a statement. “And that’s just the Js. We’re excited to bring such a diverse slate of pilots to customers and we can’t wait to hear what they think.”


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