Amazon Unveils First 2015 Pilots, Including First Docu-Series

/ Nov 11, 2014


Amazon Studios has unveiled the lineup for its first pilot season of 2015 — and if my math is correct, its fourth pilot season overall.

Scheduled to debut on Amazon Instant Video in the US, UK, and Germany early next year, Amazon’s new slate includes the company’s first original documentary series “The New Yorker Presents,” which will be produced in partnership with Jigsaw Productions and Conde Nast Entertainment.

Other notable collaborators include Carlton Cuse (“Lost”) and Randall Wallace (“Braveheart”), who are behind the Civil War-era drama “Point of Honor,” Ridley Scott and David W. Zucker, who are adapting Philip K. Dick’s Hugo Award-winning novel “The Man in the High Castle,” and Shawn Ryan (“The Shield”) and Cris Cole (“The Bill”), who are producing the hour-long dark comedy “Mad Dogs.”

In total, Amazon’s first 2015 pilot slate is comprised of four hour-long and three half-hour shows, spanning the drama, sci-fi, comedy, and documentary genres.

Here’s a rundown of what’s coming:

“Cocked”: An hour-long dark comedy created by Sam Baum (“Lie to Me”) and Sam Shaw (“Manhattan” — the TV series), “Cocked” follows a family man and “corporate lapdog” who’s forced to leave the big city and return home to rural Virginia to help his family’s gun business. What follows is a clash of cultures as his wife and kids clash with the world he left behind. The pilot stars Sam Trammell (“True Blood”), Jason Lee (“My Name Is Earl”), Brian Dennehy *”The Good Wife”), Laura Fraser (“Breaking Bad”), and Dreama Walker (“The Good Wife”), and is directed by Jordan Vogt-Roberts (“Skull Island”). Erwin Stoff, Shaw, and Baum are executive producers.

“Down Dog”: The half-hour comedy centers on a teacher at a yoga studio, whose good looks and winning smile have allowed him to coast through romances and random jobs. A breakup with his older girlfriend, who also happens to own the yoga studio, throws his life out of order. The pilot stars Josh Casaubon, Paget Brewster (“Criminal Minds”), Lyndsy Fonseca (“How I Met Your Mother”), Will Greenberg (“Halt and Catch Fire”), Kris Kristofferson (“Lone Star”), and Alysia Reiner (“Orange Is the New Black”). The pilot is written by Robin Schiff (“Are You There, Chelsea?”), directed by Bradley Siberling (“Lemony Snicket’s A Series of Unfortunate Events”), and produced by Bob Cooper (“RFK”) and Michael Fuchs (“Death in the Modern Age”).

“Mad Dogs”: An hour-long dark comedy from Cris Cole based on the UK series of the same name, “Mad Dogs” centers on the reunion of a group of underachieving forty-something friends. A celebration of an early retirement of an old friend devolves into a nightmare of lies, deception, and murder. Pilot stars Steve Zahn (“Dallas Buyers Club”), Billy Zane (“Twin Peaks”), Romany Malco (“Weeds”), Michael Imperioli (“The Sopranos”), and Ben Chaplin (“World Without End”). It’s directed by Charles McDougall and co-produced with Sony Pictures Television. Executive producers include Cole, McDougall, Shawn Ryan, Marney Hochman (“Last Resort”), Andy Harries (“DCI Banks”), and Suzanne Mackie (“All in Good Time”).

“The Man in the High Castle”: This adaptation of Philip K. Dick’s novel of the same name considers the question of what would happen if the Allies had lost World War II. Taking place 20 years after the war, the US and much of the world has been divided by Japan and Germany. But tension between the two remaining superpowers is mounting. The series provides a view of this world through the eyes of a collection of characters. Stars include Alexa Davalos (“Mob City”), Rupert Evans (“The Village”), Joel De La Fuente (“Hemlock Grove”), Rufus Sewell (“Eleventh Hour”), and DJ Qualls (“Z Nation”). The pilot is directed by David Semel (“Heroes”), and written by Frank Spotnitz (“The X-Files”). Executive producers include Semel, Spotnitz, Ridley Scott, David W. Zucker, Christopher Tricarico, and Stewart Mackinnon and Christian Baute of Headline Pictures. Jordan Sheehan of Scott Free Production is co-executive producer. Isa Dick Hackett and Kalen Egan will executive produce and co-executive produce, respectively, on behalf of Electric Shepherd.

“The New Yorker Presents”: This half-hour documentary series will look to bring the pages of The New Yorker “to life” via series of short films, sketches, and interviews. Co-produced by CNE and Jigsaw Productions, the pilot features a short film starring Alan Cumming (“The Good Wife”) and Brett Gelman (“Go On”), based on a story by Simon Rich (“SNL”) and directed by Emmy winner Troy Miller (“Arrested Development”). Other elements include a mini documentary by Jonathan Demme (“The Silence of the Lambs”) and interview with famous performance artist Marina Abramovic. Pilot is executive produced by Alex Gibney, Dave Snyder, and Dawn Ostroff.

“Point of Honor”: An hour-long drama, “Point of Honor” centers on a Virginia family divided by the Civil War. The pilot stars Nathan Parsons (“True Blood”), Christopher O’Shea (“Baby Daddy”), Annabelle Stephenson (“Revenge”), Riley Voelkel (“The Newsroom”), and Hanna Mangan Lawrence (“Old School”). It’s directed by Randall Wallace (“Braveheart”), and written by Wallace and Carlton Cuse (“Lost”). Cuse, Wallace, and Barry Jossen (“Sex and the City”) are also executive producing “Point of Honor,” which is being co-produced with ABC Signature Studios.

“Salem Rogers”: This half-hour comedy stars Leslie Bibb (“About a Boy”) as an overconfident and blunt former supermodel, who is forced to face her past and re-enter the real world after 10 years at a posh rehab center. Trying to get back in the game, she tracks down her former assistant, played by Rachel Dratch (“SNL”), who has built a new career writing self-help books. Other stars include Jane Kaczmarek (“Malcolm in the Middle”), Harry Hamlin (“Mad Men”), Brad Morris (“Cougar Town”), and Scott Adsit (“30 Rock”). The pilot is written by Lindsey Stoddart, executive produced by Will Graham (“The Onion News Network”), and directed by Mark Waters (“Mean Girls”). “Salem Rogers” is notable for coming out of Amazon Studios’ online screenplay submission program.

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