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Amazon to make 2 original comedies, 3 kids shows

LOS ANGELES — Inc. said Wednesday that it will produce a pair of new comedy shows and three new kids’ shows for viewing on its video streaming service, capping a one-of-a-kind experiment that gave viewers a say in the selections.

The five shows were culled from 14 pilots that were put up for free on its website and made available over Amazon’s video apps on mobile devices and game consoles starting in April. Executives looked at ratings, reviews, and view counts in a process that upended traditional television show development. Traditional television studios generally screen pilot episodes before small focus groups and executives before determining which go into production.

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The shows announced are Amazon’s first original series.

Roy Price, director of Amazon Studios, said he was gratified that the pilots generated hundreds of thousands of views from people in the United States and Britain. He said the company looks forward to repeating the process.

“Once you have hundreds of thousands of people watch a specific pilot, you’re not talking about a focus group anymore,” Price said in a phone interview from Amazon’s Seattle headquarters. “You’re asking your actual audience how they feel about it.”

The comedies selected include “Alpha House,” created by Garry Trudeau and starring John Goodman. It is about four senators who rent a house together in Washington. Meanwhile, “Betas” follows four friends and the new mobile social networking app they are developing.

The new kids’ shows are “Annebots,” which centers on a young scientist and her robot helpers, “Creative Galaxy,” an animated series, and “Tumbleaf,” which is aimed at preschoolers.

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