Amazon Studios announced at the Television Film Critics press tour that the streaming service will no longer hold its annual Pilot Season events, when it would post television pilots for viewer feedback before deciding whether or not to pick certain programs up to series.  The main reason for dropping this process is time– it appears to take too long to gather reactions to certain pilots to get ensuing programs out to meet demand.  In addition, Amazon appears to be taking steps away from producing pilots in the first place and ordering certain shows straight to series.

The head of Amazon Studios, Jennifer Salke stated:

“I’d never say ‘never’ but that version is not something we’re doing.  We’ll use our own testing barometers and some user data but the public voting process has been set aside for now.”

Just last fall, Amazon issued a statement standing by the process of posting pilots for viewer reaction, saying “Amazon customer feedback on pilots has helped make some of the most critically acclaimed and popular series to date, including multi-Golden Globe- and Emmy-winning series Transparent, multi-Golden Globe-winning series Mozart in the Jungle, and the most-streamed scripted Amazon Original Series ever by Prime members globally, The Man in the High Castle, winner of two Emmys.”  The democratic process helped make participating viewers feel like a greater part of shows getting picked up, thus creating a greater sense of ownership.

But Amazon’s co-head of TV, Albert Chang now states:

“One of the things we learned is it took too long to get shows customers wanted.  You end up taking way too long to get the actual season done.”

In fact, Amazon is slowly shifting away from the traditional network tradition of creating a pilot which is then reviewed and picked up.  It seems that when it knows it has a hit on its hand, Amazon is likely to just order it straight to series, bypassing the pilot process altogether.  That was the case with their newest heavily-hyped series ‘Jack Ryan’ and the upcoming Lord of the Rings-based series.

Did you participate in Amazon’s Pilot Season events?  Are you sad to see that fan-interaction taken away?

Source: Entertainment Weekly