Amazon TV Pilots: Watch Shows for Free and Vote

Dennis Faas's picture

Amazon plans to broadcast pilot episodes for 14 new television shows, with viewers deciding which programs deserve to become a full-length series.

The pilots will air free-of-charge on in the United States. In the United Kingdom, viewers can watch the content on 'Lovefilm'. Although you'll need to register an account to see the shows, you won't need to have a paid subscription to Amazon Prime or Lovefilm to watch these episodes.

Although Amazon will be asking for feedback, it isn't simply having a "winner takes all" vote to decide a winner. Instead, it will look at responses and decide which shows should get a full season of around 13 episodes.

There's no fixed number for how many shows will be picked up in this way: Amazon has simply hinted it will likely include a few of them. Those shows that become running series will then be available only to subscribers. (Source:

Zombies, Politicians Both Featured By Amazon

There's a wide range of shows up for discussion, ranging from a spin-off of the movie "Zombieland," to a musical comedy about a news-based website. There's also a "behind the scenes" drama set in the offices of satirical publication The Onion.

The most high-profile offering is "Alpha House," starring Bill Murray and John Goodman. It's a show about four Senators sharing a house in Washington, DC. The line-up also includes six shows aimed at children and one that won a contest for entries by Amazon users.

Amazon isn't simply sticking to English-speaking audiences, either. It's planning to translate all 14 shows into German to get feedback from Lovefilm Germany customers.

Pilot Process Raises Cost Concerns

Critics have questioned whether the process will be successful, arguing that the public may pick a show that's too expensive to convert into a full-length series. There's also concern that, even after this process is complete, people still won't purchase a subscription to Amazon's TV service. (Source:

Nevertheless, Amazon is hardly alone in trying to get people to ditch cable and satellite in favor of Internet TV. YouTube has spent millions of dollars on around 100 "channels" of original programming, while video-streaming service Netflix recently unveiled the high-profile Kevin Spacey series, "House of Cards".

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