Wednesday, May 29th, 2013

Amazon Officially Picks Up 'Beta House' and 'Alphas' and Not 'Onion News Empire' and 'Those Who Can't'

Last month, online retailer Amazon.com unveiled its first-ever slate of original TV shows, promising a bright future for streaming television in which viewers' opinions will actually matter and determine the fate of shows unlike how things work on broadcast TV, which is held back by inaccurate Nielsen ratings and illogical decisions by network execs. Today, however, Amazon announced which shows it's picking up, and it seems like Amazon will prove to be just us frustrating and dismissive of good work as the big networks. Although news got out last week, Amazon officially announced today they've picked up the John Goodman Washington comedy Alpha House and the Silicon Valley sitcom Betas, both of which will debut their first seasons in 2014. Variety reports that Amazon has passed on pilots for Onion News Empire and Zombieland, the latter of which was previously reported along with news of Amazon rejecting the pilot Browsers. There's no official word on remaining pilots Dark Minions, Supanatural, and Those Who Can't, but Amazon's press release makes it sound as if Alpha House and Betas are the only shows from this batch that they're picking up at this point. It's a shame, in particular, that Onion News Empire, Those Who Can't, and Supanatural were not picked up today as they are three of the strongest pilots Amazon has. One of the drawbacks of making your pilot selection process public, which is something the networks don't do and possibly for good reason, is that audiences get to see when good stuff inexplicably doesn't make the cut.

Update: We hear that Onion News Empire may not be dead after all — we'll let you know when we hear for sure one way or the other.

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  • Candlestick

    Personally, I thought Those Who Can't was one of the weakest of the bunch… It's cool that they gave some new voices a shot, and hopefully they get to create more stuff, but that was a non-starter. The Onion was funny, but seemed to not quite know what it was. I'm disappointed we wont get to see the show figure itself out!

    Also, citing the lack of a pick-up for Mullaney as an "illogical decision" seems wrong to me… it's vry clear what their logic was. They were afraid they had another show that only a small niche of comedy fans would want and that would never help get them out of the hole they're in, so they passed. Just because it's a bummer of a decision creatively doesn't mean it's illogical.

  • Jake Bloo

    I cannot fathom how they decided not to move ahead with Onion News Network. It was great and funny. I hope IFC swoops in and grabs it.

  • Matthew W

    Supanatural and Onion News Empire were the two I was really rooting for, I hope they aren't both dead in the water at this point (at the very least, the Onion).

  • trans

    Onion News Empire was fantastic!!!! Big mistake.