By Sahil Patel
Amazon Studios wants a high-profile comedy show — bigger than any of the ones it’s already producing.
This news comes from Variety, which reports that the Netflix rival is raising the pilot budgets for its next wave original comedies to somewhere between $2 million and $4 million. If a project needs even more money — say for an action-adventure comedy series or a reboot of a top movie franchise — Amazon Studios would be willing to go higher, according to the report.
While it’s unclear how close Amazon is to landing such a project, the move would be a clear signal that the company is ready to rise to the level of Netflix — and by extension, cable TV. While the company’s recently launched “Transparent” debuted to widespread critical acclaim, and political comedy “Alpha House” boasts a stellar cast anchored by John Goodman, Amazon’s original programming has yet to capture the attention of the public in a way that Netflix has with “House of Cards” and “Orange Is the New Black.” Funding more expensive shows, presumably with bigger-name talent attached, would go a long way in bridging the gap.
Overall, Amazon Studios wants to fund four-to-six pilots, and commission three-to-four to series, per the report.
Earlier this year, Amazon stated that it expects to earmark around $100 million for original programming in the third quarter.
Most recently, Amazon Studios greenlit two pilots to series: Steven Soderbergh’s coming-of-age comedy “Red Oaks” and the Ron Perlman-starring drama “Hand to God.”