This story has been updated from 10:38 am EST to include more information about Amazon's pilot shows in the fifth and sixth paragraphs .
In a bid to go head-to-head with Netflix (NFLX) - Get Report and its popular original House of Cards series, Amazon on Monday green-lighted six more original series, following their successful pilots, which will be available exclusively on Amazon Prime Instant Video. Amazon did not give a timeframe on when the series would be launched.
Among the new shows are two hour-long dramas. The After, from Chris Carter, the legendary creator of TheX-Files, follows eight strangers who are thrown together by mysterious forces and must help each other survive in a violent world that defies explanation. The second drama, Bosch, will be around Michael Connelly's best-selling book series about a relentless LAPD homicide detective working to solve the murder of a 13-year-old boy while standing trial for the murder of a serial killer.
Other primetime shows include Mozart in the Jungle, a behind-the-curtains look at classical music and Transparent, about a family full of secrets. Amazon is also becoming increasingly active in the children's programming space. Among the approved pilots are Wishenpoof!, about a girl with magic wishes and Gortimer Gibbon's Life on Normal Street, about a boy named Gortimer. This summer, Amazon will premiere its first three kids' series Creative Galaxy, Tumble Leaf and Annedroids exclusively on Prime Instant Video. Each show will focus on important skills for children -- science, arts and critical thinking -- and will foster creativity by promoting learning through play, the company said.
Amazon had launched the original shows as part of 10 pilots on Feb. 6 to U.S. and U.K. users. The shows were the second set of series pilots the e-retailer embarked on under Amazon Studios.
Amazon said separately that back by popular demand, Alpha House, starring John Goodman, Mark Consuelos, Clark Johnson and Matt Malloy, was approved for a second season. The actors will reprise their roles as four misfit Republican Senators living under one roof in Washington, D.C. Production for the next season is slated to start this summer. Alpha House, along with popular tech comedy Betas and Creative Galaxy, Tumble Leaf and Annedroids were a part of the original pilot programming.
Since its launch, Alpha House has become the most popular TV season on Amazon Instant Video and has collected over 6,000 five-star reviews, Amazon said. It's written by Academy Award-nominee and Pulitzer Prize-winner Garry Trudeau and produced by Trudeau, Elliot Webb and Jonathan Alter.
Amazon Prime is the e-retailer's popular two-day shipping service, which also offers members access to unlimited instant streaming of movies and TV shows, as well as books through the Kindle library and special offers. Earlier this month, Amazon raised the price of its subscription service, Amazon Prime by $20 to $99 a year, to account for increased shipping and fuel costs.
Amazon launched Amazon Studios in 2010 to develop feature films and episodic series. The company says anyone can upload a script, and will then be notified within 45 days if that script is optioned. Since 2010 more than 8,000 movie and approximately 2,000 series projects have been submitted to Amazon Studios. Seattle-based Amazon continues to invite creators to upload proposals for comedy and children's programming, specifically.
"We had a tremendous response to Amazon Studios' latest pilots -- in fact, double the number of customers watched these pilots compared to our first season and they posted thousands of heartfelt reviews with pleas for us to continue these shows," said Roy Price, Director of Amazon Studios. "Now the fun really begins--Amazon will be working with some of the most talented casts and creators in the business to bring six new shows exclusively to tens of millions of Prime members worldwide. These series, along with our summer kids programming, will give customers a lot of viewing choices."
--Written by Laurie Kulikowski in New York.
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