Amazon Studios Ends Open Call For Script Submissions


If you were thinking of submitting your original script to Amazon Studios, now is a better time than ever to send it in. Amazon announced that they are ending their open call for script and concept submissions.
The studio born out of the e-commerce giant made the announcement on their website on Friday. Launched in 2010, the open submission program allowed aspiring writers to submit their scripts and concepts for TV and film, giving them the chance to become the next best…

Amazon Studios Shakes Up Under Jen Salke: Albert Cheng Named Co-Head of TV


Amazon Studios has restructured its TV division under the leadership of Jennifer Salke.

Albert Cheng, who had been serving as interim chief since Roy Price’s exit amid sexual misconduct allegations, has been named co-head of television. In addition to his role as COO, Cheng will oversee day-to-day oversight of the business, creative and production units.

The studio is currently on the hunt for Cheng’s partner, a position expected to be filled in the coming months.

Also Read: Amazon Cancels ‘Mozart in the Jungle’ After Four Seasons

“I’m delighted that an opportunity for Albert to be elevated within the Television Studios has been created. His business acumen, collaborative nature and clear goals toward continued success make him an invaluable team player as we move forward,” Salke said in a statement.

Additionally, Amazon has realigned its scripted series development team as follows:

Sharon Tal Yguado, who had been serving as interim head of comedy and drama since the departure of Joe Lewis, will oversee one-hour genre programming, including event series in the areas of science fiction, fantasy and supernatural.

Marc Resteghini will serve as head of drama, overseeing all non-genre one-hour programming. Gina Kwon and Ryan Andolina will be co-heads of comedy. This Includes both single and multi-camera formats

Also Read: Amazon Has Half as Many Paid Streamers as Netflix – But 50 Percent More Than Hulu (Report)

Nick Hall will serve as head of alternative, including YA, specialty series and supporting efforts to drive talent and new ventures to the service. Georgia Brown will be the point UK-originated series, which includes sourcing, developing and producing series originating overseas. She will also retain her responsibilities for EU Originals (for Germany, France, Italy and Spain).

Heather Schuster remains head of unscripted and Melissa Wolfe remains head of kids programming.

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Amazon Cancels ‘Mozart in the Jungle’ After Four Seasons


“Mozart in the Jungle” is ending its four-season run, marking the first cancellation under Amazon’s new chief Jennifer Salke, the streaming network confirms.

“Yes, we are not continuing past this season,” a Amazon spokesperson tells TheWrap.

“We are so proud of the four seasons we made of this show and are grateful to the cast, crew, fans and Amazon for writing this symphony with us. We hope people will keep finding the show for years to come,” executive producers Paul Weitz, Will Graham, Roman Coppola and Jason Schwartzman said in a statement.

Also Read: Amazon Has Half as Many Paid Streamers as Netflix – But 50 Percent More Than Hulu (Report)

Salke — who stepped in to oversee all television and film production at Amazon in February after serving six years as entertainment president at NBC – has voiced her intent to pivot the Amazon from niche projects to big-budget epics ala “Game of Thrones.”

The comedy-drama series was inspired by “Mozart in the Jungle: Sex, Drugs, and Classical Music,” the 2005 memoir of oboist Blair Tindall. Gael Garcia Bernal, Lola Kirke, Saffron Burrows, Hannah Dunne and Peter Vack also star.

The first season of “Mozart” was both a critical darling and a hit with viewers, having won two Golden Globes — one for Best Television Series – Comedy or Musical and a second for Garcia Bernal for Best Actor — and scoring a 95 percent rating on Rotten Tomatoes and a 73 out of 100 on Metacritic.

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Viola Davis to Star in Amazon Film ‘Troupe Zero’


Viola Davis is attached to star in “Troupe Zero,” an upcoming feature film from Amazon Studios, TheWrap has learned.

Davis will lead the project directed by female filmmaking team Bert & Bertie, an individual familiar with the production said. The script is by Lucy Alibar, who was nominated for the best adapted screenplay Oscar in 2013 for “Beasts of the Southern Wild.”

Reps for Amazon Studios and Davis did not immediately comment on the matter.

Also Read: Viola Davis to Hollywood: If I’m the ‘Black Meryl Streep,’ ‘Pay Me What I’m Worth’

“Zero” follows a group of “delightful misfits living in a town in South Georgia during the ’70s,” according to one synopsis. No start date has been set thanks to Davis’ current shooting schedule.

Academy Award winner Davis, one of the most sought-after actresses working, recently spoke out about pay disparity for women of color in Hollywood.

“What they’re getting paid — which is half of what a man is getting paid — well, we get probably a tenth of what a Caucasian woman gets. And I’m No. 1 on the call sheet,” Davis said of African-American women in an interview for Women in the World.

“I got the Oscar, I got the Emmy, I got the two Tonys. I’ve done Broadway, I’ve done Off Broadway, I’ve done TV, I’ve done film. I’ve done all of it,” said Davis. “And yet, I am nowhere near them, not as far as money, not as far as job opportunities. Nowhere close to it.”

See her full comments here.

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Inside the Fight for ‘Transparent’: Jill Soloway’s Turmoil Over Jeffrey Tambor


“Transparent” creator Jill Soloway struggled for months to find a way forward with or without her Emmy winning star Jeffrey Tambor and address the concerns of a politically passionate core audience, TheWrap has learned. The actor was fired by studio Amazon on Thursday.

Tambor’s dismissal is a move that echoes that of numerous Hollywood men who stand accused of inappropriate workplace behavior — which Tambor vehemently denies — but Soloway hoped for a scenario that would satisfy his accusers and allow him to finish his work as trans matriarch Maura Pfefferman, numerous insiders said.

As recently as last week, Soloway was seeking “a third way” through a crisis so many in show business have recently faced, one of the individuals told TheWrap. Amazon instructed Soloway and her writers room to prepare for several outcomes, a second insider said, including storylines that would exclude Tambor’s character entirely or phase him out as early as the upcoming season’s third episode.

Also Read: Jeffrey Tambor Disappeared From ‘Stalin’ Movie Poster

Having Tambor appear only in flashbacks as his pre-transition character Mort Pfefferman was also discussed, given the increased pressure on Hollywood to stop casting cisgender actors in trans roles, the individual added.

Representatives for Tambor and Soloway did not immediately respond to TheWrap’s request for comment on the matter, nor did Amazon Studios spokespeople.

Tambor was accused in November of harassing two trans women on the “Transparent” set, including costar Trace Lysette and his personal assistant Van Jones. A third woman unrelated to the production later came forward, makeup artist Tamara Delbridge.

While Soloway was empowered creatively during the crisis, the contents of Amazon’s investigation ultimately led them to fire Tambor on Wednesday, the insider said. Soloway does not know what was discovered in the investigation, they said.

News of Tambor’s firing leaked Thursday before the full cast had been informed. Soloway praised the decision and the accusers for their “courage in speaking out” as “an example of the leadership this moment in our culture requires.”

Tambor issued a blistering response that blasted the studio as “biased” and specifically called out Soloway.

“I am profoundly disappointed in Amazon’s handling of these false accusations against me. I am even more disappointed in Jill Soloway’s unfair characterization of me as someone who would ever cause harm to any of my fellow cast mates,” Tambor said in a statement.

Also Read: Jeffrey Tambor Out at ‘Transparent’ After Sexual Harassment Investigation

“I can only surmise that the investigation against me was deeply flawed and biased toward the toxic politicized atmosphere that afflicted our set,” he added.

Soloway has a legacy at stake when it comes to “Transparent.” The drama was not only the first original streaming series for Amazon, it evolved the portrayal of trans people and explored intersectional identities through the filter of a family drama. She’s won two Primetime Emmys for directing the series, and Tambor has two Emmys in the best actor category for playing Maura.

That she would seek a “third way” to remedy the misconduct claims would also have been groundbreaking, as many in Hollywood have complained that responses have been extreme to any accusation of sexual misconduct, no matter how unproven or relatively slight, since the Harvey Weinstein scandal broke last October.

Kevin Spacey was written out of his Netflix drama “House of Cards” and replaced in the film “All the Money in the World.”  HBO took a wait-and-see approach with James Franco, who will return to his series “The Deuce” after he was accused of abusing actresses on the set of an indie film he directed. The accusations against both actors differ greatly, of course, but the responses stand.

It’s unclear what direction the show will go in, though the writers room will be active in the coming days and the show is still eyeing a September premiere

Related stories from TheWrap:

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