Amazon Shifts Focus Towards Event Dramas

Amazon Studios has set a new mandate this week in its creative output, with plans for a major shift in the way it does original series.

In short, they’re set to more aggressively pursue big scale, high-end drama series with global appeal – effectively they want to find the next “Game of Thrones,” “Big Little Lies,” “The Handmaid’s Tale” or “Stranger Things”.

Variety reports that CEO Jeff Bezos has tasked Amazon Studios chief Roy Price with honing the focus of the brand to stretch beyond the U.S.-centric comedies and dramas they have now which include the likes of “Transparent,” “The Grand Tour,” “Bosch,” “The Man in the High Castle,” “The Tick” and “Mozart in the Jungle”.

That is part of the reason for the scrapping of the second season of “Z: The Beginning of Everything” as the road is being cleared for new projects. At the same time, a significant number of current prospects in development are also likely to be scrapped.

New stuff that is being planned includes a comedy starring Fred Armisen and Maya Rudolph, and a Seth Rogen-produced comic book adaptation eyed as a straight-to-series order (not unlike AMC’s “Preacher”).

The most high profile and seemingly fully formed though is Paul Attanasio and Wong Kar-wai’s “Tong Wars,” a period drama blending the history of Chinese immigration to the U.S. with a gritty crime saga. Attanasio is penning and Wong will direct.

Amazon has already made moves in this direction, picking up many of the international rights to the likes of “Preacher” and “American Gods” which both have reportedly performed very well for the service.

The service is expected to still proceed with its already in production new series in 2018 though including Amy Sherman-Palladino’s “The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel,” the John Krasinski-led adaptation of Tom Clancy’s “Jack Ryan”, Matthew Weiner’s “The Romanoffs” anthology series, and David O. Russell’s untitled crime drama starring Robert De Niro and Julianne Moore.