Jeff Bezos says the company is moving in a new direction.
Amazon Studios has issued a Season 2 renewal to The Tick but series One Mississippi, I Love Dick, and Jean-Claude Van Johnson have all been canceled. The company is in the process of finding a new head of programming after Roy Price and his top lieutenant Joe Lewis were fired amid sexual harassment and conflict of interest claims, and The Hollywood Reporter points out that all three of these canceled shows were greenlit by the ousted pair. It is not known how many people tuned in for the comedies, as Amazon doesn’t release viewing numbers, but they believed for whatever reason these shows had run their course.
One Mississippi was created by and starred Tig Notaro, who based it on her own life. The series, which ran for two seasons, was also produced by FX Productions and Louis C.K., who lost his employment with that company after it was publicly confirmed that he had been sexually harassing women for years. Notaro had been very outspoken about the comedian despite C.K. being a prominent figure in strengthening her career. At this point, Amazon is likely trying to get away from as many sexual assault cases as possible as they recover from their own fallout.
I Love Dick was Jill Soloway’s follow-up to Transparent (also on Amazon) and starred Kevin Bacon alongside Kathryn Hahn. Based on the feminist novel of the same name, the series depicts a struggling married couple and their obsession with a professor named Dick (Bacon). I watched the pilot of I Love Dick, as there was an excitement to seeing another series from Soloway, but whatever goodwill was built from the first episode was lost for me by the time the rest of the first season arrived. As Amazon moves into more straight-to-series orders and away from the faulty pilot season program, this might not be as big a problem for other shows.
Jean-Claude Van Johnson saw the return of Jean-Claude Van Damme and ran for one season. The series emphasized the action movie icon’s status as a famous actor and martial arts pro who comes out of retirement to chase a woman. And he was also an undercover private contractor who solved crimes on the side. Jean-Claude Van Johnson is funny in practice, but the idea was already showing signs of fatigue after the first episode. It would’ve made for a great VOD movie, just enough for the premise to shine through, but without having to overstay its welcome through an entire series.
The only Amazon comedies exclusive to the service now are the two British imports Catastrophe and Fleabag, the Emmy-award winning Transparent (which also may not return), recent Golden Globe and Critics’ Choice Award winner The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel, and the aforementioned The Tick. Amazon passed on three of its five comedy pilots from the last season and will continue to search for winning shows. Given the success of newcomer Mrs. Maisel, though, they seem to be heading in the right direction.
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