When Amazon began producing their own original TV shows for Prime Video, they approached it differently by letting customers help decide which pilot episodes would be greenlit for a full series run. The pilot episode releases came in batches called a Pilot Season. According to a report by Deadline, Amazon is considering putting an end to Pilot Seasons and switching to a more traditional model where executives decide which shows are released based on private testing and research.
Amazon just released their most recent pilot season a few weeks ago, but it’s clear that more shows than ever are being greenlit straight-to-series without ever releasing a pilot. Out of the numerous Amazon original shows slated to be released in the future, only a small portion went through a pilot season, whereas most of Amazon’s early shows were up for public review before being greenlit.
Amazon currently has two unreleased pilots: a comedy called Upload from The Office creator Greg Daniels, and a comedy called Making Friends from How I Met Your Mother creators Carter Bays and Craig Thomas. While these would normally be included in an upcoming pilot season, there is reportedly discussion about not putting the pilots on Prime Video and making a series pickup decision privately, like traditional networks do.
While it can be nice for Prime members to get an early look at upcoming shows by viewing pilots, it can also be frustrating and disappointing to learn a pilot one enjoyed has not been greenlit. Making straight-to-series deals also seems to be a better way of attracting top talent to Amazon originals.