Behind Jeff Bezos’ Failed Plan to Create Amazon’s Own ‘Game of Thrones’ | Video

Available to WrapPRO members

Unhappy with Amazon’s TV slate, Bezos outlined a 13-point checklist of content themes for his executives to follow, author Brad Stone tells TheWrap

Being one of the most powerful companies on the planet wasn’t enough for Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos: He also wanted a bona fide hit TV series to call his own. The problem for Bezos, though, was Amazon’s shows weren’t cutting it.

As “Amazon Unbound” author Brad Stone told TheWrap during a recent interview, Bezos decided to take matters into his own hands. Back in late 2016 and early 2017, Bezos made it his mission to help Amazon Studios develop its own “Game of Thrones”; Amazon’s “Man in the High Castle,” as Stone explained, wasn’t Bezos’ cup of tea.

Stone shared what happened next: Bezos “brings the whole [Amazon Studios] team to Seattle and says, ‘I know how you do this!’ He reels off a list of 13 things he thinks are the foundation for any big franchise, movie or property: a charismatic protagonist, a threatening antagonist, world-building, cliffhangers, a love interest, high stakes for society — I’ve got the whole list in my book. And the funny thing is, the Amazon Studios executives had to go back and, when they proposed new shows, they would have to check off on this list of 13 things which things the show had and which it didn’t. And if it didn’t have them, they had to explain it.”

man in the high castle
Bezos was not a fan of Amazon’s “Man in the High Castle,” which depicted an alternate reality where the Axis powers prevailed in World War II (Amazon Studios)

Since then, Amazon has had its fair share of hits, including Emmy-winning comedy series like “Fleabag” and “The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel.” But the tech giant is still searching for its own epic franchise that captures pop culture in the way “Game of Thrones” did. (Amazon is betting its upcoming “Lord of the Rings” series can seize that precious gold ring.) And Bezos’ checklist… that wasn’t a hit. The Amazon Studios team eventually “kind of rebelled” against Bezos’ game plan, Stone said, “because they felt you can’t reduce creative storytelling to a formula.”

That experience, Stone added, highlighted the chasm between Amazon’s creative team in L.A. and the “bean-counters and technologists” at the company’s Seattle headquarters.

Stone touched on that issue and much more in his recent video interview with TheWrap. Other topics include: How Bezos’ personality compares to other tech big wigs; how Amazon’s market value increased 16-fold in the last decade to $1.6 trillion; and what makes Andy Jassy, who is set to replace Bezos as Amazon’s chief executive this summer, tick.

You can check out the full interview by clicking the video above. And be sure to check out Stone’s new book, “Amazon Unbound: Jeff Bezos and the Invention of a Global Empire,” for more great stories on the tech giant.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.