Billionaire monkeys and flying sheep are among the characters whizzing around in the shows picked to possibly go into production and flesh out Amazon's Instant Video offerings.
Amazon's "Amazon Studios" project has announced the first four TV series it will develop: three animated shows and a mockumentary, all of which were pitched by way of the Amazon Studios Web site.
The Studios project announced last month that it was looking for comedies and kids shows. The Studios effort -- which hitherto had been focused on short and feature-length films -- is designed to provide original programming for Amazon's Instant Video service.
Amazon Studios works differently than traditional Hollywood production companies in that it solicits original scripts via the Web -- writers can have their pitches reviewed publicly or by the studio staff. If a project gets picked to be moved along to the Studios' Development Slate, the creators receive $10,000, and the show may eventually be produced.
Here are the creators' descriptions of the first four chosen shows. "Buck Plaidsheep" is for kids; the others are for adults.
Amazon Instant Video is looking to compete with rival offerings from Netflix, Hulu, and YouTube, all of which are developing their own programming. The services need to differentiate themselves, and to flesh out their content without having to lean too much on traditional Hollywood studios -- some of which have been holding back prime programming from streaming services so they can distribute it themselves.