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Amazon’s Roy Price Defends Deals With Woody Allen, ‘Top Gear’ Hosts

TCA 2105: Original-content chief fields questions on controversial creators

Roy Price, head of Amazon Studios, defended his decisions to work with Woody Allen and the hosts of “Top Gear” on new series Monday at the Television Critics Association’s summer press tour.

Price began his executive session, where he was flanked by drama head Morgan Wandell and comedy head Joe Lewis, by announcing that Allen had almost completed the scripts for the first season of the Amazon original series he created. That show, Price said, is scheduled to begin production at the end of this year and premiere in the second half of 2016.

Price was asked shortly thereafter whether he had considered accusations that surfaced last year that Allen had molested his daughter before cutting a deal with the filmmaker earlier this year for a original series.

“Woody Allen is one of the greatest filmmakers America has ever produced. People are going to be talking about Woody’s films for a long, long time,” Price said. He added, “I think you have to look at the whole picture, focus, yeah, take everything into account. Our focus is on the fact that he’s a great storyteller.”

Price also drew questions regarding Amazon’s deal, announced in July, with former “Top Gear” hosts Jeremy Clarkson, James May and Richard Hammond for a new series. The hosts were forced out of the long-running BBC show after Clarkson punched a producer. “Top Gear” had also drawn criticism for a segment mocking Mexicans. Price declined to speak to whether he spoke to the hosts about limitations for the new show’s content or their off-screen behavior.

“I can’t comment on all the details of our discussions or contracts or things like that, but we’re bullish on the show and think it will tour out well,” Price said.