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Amazon is ending online voting for its TV pilots

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In favor of internal metrics


For the last six years, Amazon has turned over the decision to greenlight some of its original shows to its customers, putting the pilots for its shows online for a popular vote. Yesterday, Amazon says that it is ending the practice in favor of its own metrics.

At its presentation at the Television Critics Association yesterday, studio head Jennifer Salke says that while they’ll “never say ‘never’,” they’ve begun using their “own testing barometers and some user data,” to make the determination for what to pick up, rather than a popular vote.

But it doesn’t seem as though the voting process itself is at fault in and of itself, however. Albert Chang, the company’s co-head of television, said that pilots themselves are becoming less of the equation, as Amazon and other outlets like AMC have increasingly opted to bypass the pilot process and use a writer’s room to develop an entire series or season and just pick up the entire project at once. Chang says that the pilot process simply took too long for viewers, who would watch the pilot, then wait for it to be picked up and produced.

Over the years, Amazon’s pilot season has brought the company some of its bigger shows, such as Transparent, Man in the High Castle, The Tick, and others, although not all pilots get made — the company seems to have dropped an intriguing pilot for a show called Oasis, for example. But with the company making huge investments in a range of new shows, such as an adaptation of Tolkien’s Middle-earth, Ringworld, Snow Crash, Utopia, The Peripheral, Tales from the Loop, and others, it makes sense that it’ll take the decision out of the hands of viewers and into those of the studio.