I’ve learned that Amazon has given a pilot order to Mad Dogs, based on the British black comedy/thriller series. The original show’s creator, Cris Cole, wrote the adaptation and is executive producing with The Shield creator Shawn Ryan for Sony Pictures TV, where Ryan is under an overall deal. Emmy winner Charles McDougall is set to direct. The project was originally set up at FX as a potential limited series last year. The U.S. version follows the reunion of four fortysomething guys who head to Belize to visit their old school friend, when things take an unexpected and dark turn. (Check out a trailer for the UK version below.) British production company Left Bank, which is behind the original series, is co-producing with Sony.
Mad Dog premiered in 2011 and aired for four seasons (a total of 14 episodes) on Sky1. Sony TV previously did a pilot for Amazon based on the feature Zombieland. Mad Dogs joins a growing roster of comedy and drama pilots from Amazon’s third pilot season that include The Cosmopolitans, Hand Of God, Red Oaks, Hysteria, Cocked, Point Of Honor, Salem Rogers: Model Of The Year 1998, Down Dog, The Outlaws and Really.
When Amazon brought its new comedy series Transparent to Summer TV Press Tour 2014 today — it’s from Jill Soloway (Afternoon Delight, Six Feet Under and United States of Tara), and explores the family dynamic when three adult siblings (Amy Landecker, Jay Duplass, Gaby Hoffman) learn their father (Jeffrey Tambor) is a transwoman — one TV critic wanted to discuss Tambor wearing dresses.
The critic said he’s seen Tambor in dresses a lot and asked the actor to explain/discuss. “Are you talking about Hill Street Blues,” Tambor asked.
“And Arrested Development — I’ve seen you in dresses a very long time,” the critic responded. Read More »
Alpha House creator Garry Trudeau has no idea how many people are watching the Amazon streamed program.
“We don’t know,” he told TV critics at Summer TV Press Tour 2014. “One of the interesting things about working for Amazon is it’s kind of a black box. We don’t know what the metrics are. We’re just thrilled when they say the audience likes it and they want to put together another season. We’re not really part of appraising the show… We just try to make the best show we can.”
Amazon Studios comedy chief Joe Lewis had opened the session talking about the audience’s acceptance of the show; one TV critic, who noted competitor Netflix is “very mysterious about how many people are watching” its program, asked, Lewis, “Do you know how many people are watching, and will you tell us?” Read More »
Amazon should refund millions of dollars to parents charged for unauthorized purchases by their kids, the Federal Trade Commission says in a complaint it filed today at a U.S. District Court in Washington state. The agency is concerned about in-app orders in games, where it says Amazon keeps 30% of the charges. Kids often didn’t know that real money was involved when they played games for “virtual items within the apps such as ‘coins,’ ‘stars,’ and ‘acorns’ without parental involvement,” the FTC says. The problem goes back to November 2011 when Amazon introduced in-app charges to its Appstore, without password requirements. “Even Amazon’s own employees recognized the serious problem its process created,” says FTC Chairwoman Edith Ramirez. “We are seeking refunds for affected parents and a court order to ensure that Amazon gets parents’ consent for in-app purchases.”
Amazon told the FTC in a letter last week that it would defend itself against the charges, which it called “deeply disappointing.” Its policies were “responsible, customer-focused and lawful” and included “prominent notice of in-app purchasing, effective parental controls, real-time notice of every in-app purchase, and world-class customer service,” it says.
But the FTC complaint paints a different picture with the app for “Ice Age Village” which enables players to make virtual purchases for items in the game without charge using “coins” and “acorns.” The problem is that it also allows users to buy these coins and acorns “using real money on a screen that is visually similar to the one that has no real-money … Read More »
Amazon today made it official: it has added the hour-long dramatic thriller Hysteria, from Amazon Studios, Universal Television, and Alcon Television Group, to its third pilot season. From Shaun Cassidy, and starring Mena Suvari, James McDaniel, Josh Stewart, Adan Canto, Laura San Giacomo, and T.R. Knight. Hysteria takes viewers to Austin, Texas, where members of a girls’ competitive dance team are stricken with a strange, psycho-physiological illness that manifests in violent fits and spasms. Neurologist Logan Harlen (Suvari) is called back to her hometown to investigate the cause. Fighting her own demons (and the growing manipulation of a brother on death row), Logan develops an uneasy suspicion that the hysteria surrounding the girls might actually be linked to social media and her own tragic past.
The show is written by Cassidy, who executive produces alongside Adam Schroeder, Sharon Hall, Andrew Kosove, Broderick Johnson, Bryan Zuriff, and Director Otto Bathurst. Customers will once again be invited to watch and provide feedback on the pilots they want to see turned into full series, which will then become available on Prime Instant Video. Hysteria joins The Cosmopolitans, Really and Hand Of God for Amazon’s third pilot season, which will debut later this year on Amazon Instant Video.
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CBS Films said it has secured rights to the trilogy of Atlantis sci-fi novels by A.G. Riddle, a serious deal for a self-published series that has been a fixture on Amazon‘s eBook sales charts. The first book in the series, The Atlantis Gene, was published in March 2013, and the plot revolves around a brilliant geneticist and an international counterterrorism agent who team to thwart a global pandemic and solve the greatest mystery of all time: the truth behind the origins of humanity. The Atlantis Plague followed in November 2013, and last month came The Atlantis World; the first and third books are currently in the Amazon eBook Top 12 in the sci-fi/fantasy category. Read More »
Amazon Unveils 3D Fire Phone
Deadline's David Lieberman and Dominic Patten discuss Amazon's new 3D Fire Phone and whether the high end smartphone's features will justify its cost.
Related: Amazon Shares Rise After It Introduces Feature-Packed 3D Fire Phone
Here are two important questions consumers will have to address as they judge Amazon‘s just-unveiled Fire Phone — a high end smartphone that most notably offers no-glasses-needed 3D images (with a process called Dynamic Perspective) and sensors so users can control the screen with head and eye gestures. Will the battery be powerful enough to handle all of its features? And will the impressive array of photo taking , media consuming, and shopping features justify the price: $199 (32 GB storage) or $299 (64 GB) with a two-year contract with AT&T? (Early buyers can get 12 months of access to Amazon Prime.) Investors apparently believe the package is a winner: Amazon shares are up 2.8% — with the increase coming after CEO Jeff Bezos began to describe his new product. Read More »
One week after declaring war on Amazon, Stephen Colbert announced on his show last night that his campaign had resulted in the ordering of 6,400 copies of Edan Lepucki’s new novel California from the independent bookstore Powell’s Books. While maybe an impressive number in the book publishing world, where 15,00o books sold can land you on the New York Times bestseller list, it sounded on TV like a small-ish result for a campaign involving Colbert’s rabid follow-him-anywhere fans.
Related: Stephen Colbert Declares War On Amazon (Video)
To that point, Colbert told his followers, “You know what would really show Amazon that we will not lick their monopoly boot? If we put California on the New York Times bestseller list!” (watch the video below). But Colbert also broadened the game, telling viewers they could continue to order from Powell’s via ColbertNation.com — or, if they’d rather, through other indie bookstores, naming as examples Parnassus Books in Nashville, Politics and Pros in Washington, D.C., and Rainy Day Books in Kansas City.
Colbert began his campaign to give his publisher, Hachette a leg-up in its contract battle with Amazon; last week he urged viewers to stop ordering from Amazon and to purchase Hachette-published California, from first-time novelist Lepucki, from Powell’s. Read More »
Paul Reiser has been cast in Amazon Studios’ comedy pilot Red Oaks, exec produced by Steven Soderbergh and exec produced/directed by David Gordon Green. Set in summer 1985, Red Oaks centers on 20-year-old David Myers, who takes a job as an assistant tennis pro at the predominantly Jewish Red Oaks country club in New Jersey and tries to figure out what kind of life he wants to lead. Reiser – who is repped by Gersh, New Wave and Jeff Finkelstein – plays Getty, the wealthy and incredibly snobbish president of the club’s board. He recently wrapped production in Blumhouse’s 6 Miranda Drive, has two Sundance movies, Whiplash, which also screened in Cannes, and Life After Beth, and is in talks for Beg the Devil. In TV, he will recur on new FX comedy series Married.
Smash alum Raza Jaffrey has joined Showtime drama Homeland in a major recurring role for the upcoming fourth season, which is set in the Middle East. He will play Aasar Khan, a decorated Lieutenant Colonel working for Pakistan’s ISI intelligence service. He is repped by Gotham, Principal and United in London.
The New York Times says the retailer is — part of its effort to secure a bigger piece of the sales, similar to its showdown with Hachette Book Group. And that looks accurate: Amazon‘s pages for disc Warner Bros releases including The Lego Movie (out on June 17), 300: Rise Of An Empire (June 24), Winter’s Tale (June 24), Transcendence (July 22), and Looney Tunes The Platinum Collection 3 (August 12) tell potential buyers to “Sign up to be notified when this item becomes available.” They also aren’t listed on a page for pre-orders. By contrast, Walmart, >Best Buy, and Target’s sites enable customers to preorder discs of the movies. Complaints from consumers on Amazon’s message boards indicate that it began to clip preorders for Warner Bros releases in May.
Related: Stephen Colbert Declares War On Amazon (Video)
Amazon’s curtailing of preorders for Hachette books raised questions about whether the retailer has too much muscle to set terms with its suppliers — what’s known as monoposony power. Amazon controls about half of all book sales in the U.S. Read More »
UPDATED WITH TWITTER CAMPAIGN INFO: Comedy Central’s Stephen Colbert last night urged his viewers to boycott Amazon because, “I just found out it’s deterring customers from buying books from Stephen Colbert.” Amazon is in a battle with Colbert’s publisher Hachette, and has been accused of refusing orders for upcoming Hachette books, raising prices, and deliberately delaying shipments — sometimes by 3-4 weeks. (Amazon lists the ship date on orders for Colbert’s book, America Again: Re-Becoming the Greatness We Never Weren’t, as “two to four weeks”). “This is a big blow to my bottom line,” Colbert said, announcing he had made arrangements through a large independent Portland-based bookstore called Powell’s Books to sell copies of a new Hachette release, California, by Edan Lepucki, on his show’s website. He also urged viewers to download a sticker — also available on his site, that says “I Didn’t Buy It On Amazon” to slap on all their books and other products. “Watch out Bezos — this means war!” Colbert warned Amazon founder and CEO Jeff Bezos. (See the video below.)
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The mega-retailer appears ready to jump into the market on June 18 with an Android-powered device made by Foxconn, Bloomberg reports. Amazon seemed to tip its hand today on Twitter: One tweet includes a picture of what looks like the corner of the back of a smartphone with a link for people to request an invitation to a June 18 event in Seattle with company founder Jeff Bezos. Another has a video showing people looking down at an unseen device in their hands that appears to follow their eyes as they move side to side. “Find out what these Amazon customers are talking about,” says the tag line.
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Spanish actor Felix Gomez has landed a series regular role on ABC Family drama pilot Stitchers. Written by Jeffrey A. Schechter (Overruled), Stitchers follows a young woman recruited into a covert government agency to be “stitched” into the minds of the recently deceased, using their memories to investigate murders and decipher mysteries that otherwise would have gone to the grave. Gomez, repped by SDB Partners and Symington Talent Management, will play college professor Dr. Jerome Smallwood, who teaches a grad course in computer science, in which Kirsten and her roommate, Camille, are students. Smallwood is smart and good at his job, but he’s no match for Kirsten, who can out-hack him and out-think him.
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Amazon, NBCUniversal Ink U.K. Streaming Deal
Amazon and NBCUniversal have finalized a UK instant video subscription deal that will make hundreds of episodes of U.S. TV series available on Prime Instant Video. Amazon is bringing multiple seasons of such NBCUniversal shows as Suits, Grimm and Parks And Recreation to the UK’s largest movie and TV streaming subscription service. Also included in the deal are renewals of series such as Battlestar Galactica, Heroes, The Office (U.S.) and 30 Rock. Read More »
In this week’s podcast, Deadline Executive Editor David Lieberman and host David Bloom catch up on several big developments in the fast-changing business of video delivery. The two Davids talk everything from the controversy over the FCC’s latest net-neutrality proposals to what the Supreme Court oral arguments on Aereo suggest about a coming decision and a potentially very big content deal between HBO and Amazon that Apple downplayed. They also check in on the latest in Time Warner Cable’s efforts to push its Los Angeles Dodgers channel, and Netflix’s possible price hike for newcomers after another big quarter.
Deadline Big Media podcast 82 (.MP3 version)
Deadline Big Media podcast 82 (.M4A version)
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In this week’s podcast, Deadline’s executive editor David Lieberman and host David Bloom wrap up the latest in the big Aereo case before the U.S. Supreme Court later this month, including briefs from an unexpected collection of supporters and financial backer Barry Diller’s comments on the TV service’s future if it loses. The two Davids also weigh Amazon’s rather tardy arrival as a purveyor of video-streaming devices with this week’s launch of the Amazon Fire TV; the Tribune Co.’s evolution as its digital wing buys one TV-oriented data company and relaunches another; and Discovery’s latest in a flurry of deals, as it launches a digital studio in partnership with two big-name Hollywood veterans, Ron Howard and Brian Grazer.
Listen to the podcast in your choice of audio formats here:
Deadline Big Media podcast 79 (.MP3 version)
Deadline Big Media podcast 79 (.M4A version)
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Here’s Amazon‘s long-awaited answer to Apple TV — and other streaming devices including Google’s Chromecast and Roku TV. It’s a lot more expensive than the $35 Chromecast, but Amazon says that its Amazon Fire TV packs better technology and offers access to more services — including access to Amazon Instant Video, Netflix Showtime Anytime, Hulu Plus, and WatchESPN (but not HBO GO) — as well as potentially thousands of games. The Fire comes with 2GB of memory, a quad core processor, and dual band Wi-Fi. CEO Jeff Bezos boasts that the voice search feature “actually works” which means “no more typing on an alphabet grid.” The remote control works even if it isn’t pointed directly at the device. And for those who have state-of-the-art home theaters, it outputs 1080p HD video and Dolby Digital Plus surround sound. As you might expect from a data-driven company, Amazon Fire has a feature that tries to predict the movies and TV shows you’ll want, and buffers them so they’re ready when you are. It also offers the company’s X-Ray service that enables users to see info about movies, TV shows and music (including lyrics for karaoke fans) — but not its full array of retail products. It syncs with the Amazon Cloud Drive so users can access their personal photos and videos.