Continuing its investment in original content, Amazon today announced it is greenlighting “Zombieland,” a new comedy series based on the Columbia Pictures movie of the same name, which will be made available for free to Amazon Instant Video and LOVEFiLM UK subscribers. This is the seventh original comedy series added to Amazon Studios’ lineup, which also includes six children’s pilots, previously announced.
Like competitors Netflix and Hulu, Amazon has been swiftly moving to fund and sign deals to bring both original and licensed content to its Amazon Instant Video service. In addition to deals for popular shows like Downtown Abbey, its original production arm, Amazon Studios, has already begun production of six other comedy shows, including Alpha House, Browsers, Dark Minions, Onion News Empire, Supanatural and Those Who Can’t. Though these shows are not household names at this time, Amazon has managed to sign some big-name actors for leads – for example, John Goodman, known for Roseanne, The Big Lebowski and most recently, Argo, will be starring in Alpha House.
Not all of Amazon Studios’ pilots are guaranteed to make it to “air,” so to speak, however. The company will determine which of the thirteen originals make it into full-season productions, based on customer feedback. It’s a similar process to how TV pilots are traditionally launched, except that this time around, its Amazon customers who are helping to make the final call.
With Zombieland, Amazon Studios is taking a slightly different angle on original content. Instead of having to build up buzz around new, unknown shows, it’s hoping to capitalize on name recognition the film has already earned.
According to Amazon’s announcement, the Zombieland pilot comes from the film’s creative team, including writers Rhett Reese and Paul Wernick (G.I. Joe: Retaliation, The Joe Schmo Show), and producer Gavin Polone (Gilmore Girls, Curb Your Enthusiasm). Eli Craig (Tucker and Dale vs. Evil) is directing. The role of Tallahassee will be played by Kirk Ward (The Island), Maiara Walsh (Desperate Housewives, Switched at Birth) is cast as Wichita, Tyler Ross (Milkshake) will play Columbus, and Izabela Vidovic has the part of Little Rock.
“Zombieland is a fan favorite and we can’t wait to see where this story line goes in a serialized format,” said Roy Price, Director of Amazon Studios. “We’ve been announcing a lot of exciting exclusive content for Prime Instant Video, like Downton Abbey, Under the Dome, and Justified, and we think adding original shows to that lineup is going to make Prime even more enticing for customers.”
Besides TV pilots, Amazon Studios has also been experimenting with crowdsourced content, like digital comic Blackburn Burrow, for example. It also optioned Seed, an Amazon-published, Southern horror novel, now getting a big-screen adaptation.