Sketch Comedy Show ‘Kids in the Hall’ Making Comeback on Amazon Prime

The sketch comedy series “The Kids in the Hall” will be making a comeback on Prime Video.

With the return of all of the original stars, the eight-episode Amazon Original series, which will be a continuation of the original show, will be available to Prime members in Canada and around the world in more than 200 countries and territories.

First premiering in 1989, the original Emmy Award-nominated “The Kids in the Hall” starred Canadian comedians Dave Foley, Kevin McDonald, Bruce McCulloch, Mark McKinney and Scott Thompson, who will be reprising fan-favorite characters (and assuming some new ones) for the series’ next iteration. The original series earned multiple Gemini Awards along with the cast being honored with the Canadian Screen Awards Icon Award in 2019.

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The series will be executive produced by “Saturday Night Live” creator Lorne Michaels.

“Even after 30 years, ‘The Kids in the Hall’ has retained its brilliance and originality,” Michaels said in a statement. “We are happy to be bringing back all of the original ‘Kids’ for the new series.”

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“We’ve been investing in Canada for several years and are excited to add to that momentum by making ‘The Kids in the Hall’ the first Canadian Amazon Original series,” said James Farrell, VP of international originals for Amazon Studios, in a statement. “‘The Kids in the Hall’ is an iconic show with a deep-rooted fan base. Several of our global hits, including ‘The Boys,’ ‘Tom Clancy’s Jack Ryan’ and ‘The Expanse’ have been filmed in Canada, and we are looking forward to continuing our work with talented producers and crew teams across the country to bring this series to our Prime members around the world.”

 

Amazon Greenlights Four New Local Latin-American Originals

Amazon has greenlighted four new local original series from Argentina, Chile and Colombia, marking the first-ever locally produced Amazon Originals to launch in these countries that will also be available exclusively on Prime Video in more than 200 countries and territories worldwide.

The four scripted series announced consist of Argentinean original “Iosi, El Espía Arrepentido (“Iosi, The Repentant Spy”), a spy thriller; the Chilean originals “La Jauría” (“The Pack”), a mystery thriller, and “Colonia Dignidad” (“Dignity Colony”), a docuseries exploring the hidden truths behind one of Chile’s most dangerous cults; and the Colombian original series “Noticia de un Secuestro” (“News of a Kidnapping”), a suspenseful drama based on the non-fiction book by Gabriel García Márquez.

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“We know our Prime Video audiences across Latin America are eager for local shows from the best local voices, and we couldn’t be more excited to introduce these first local series for Argentina, Chile and Colombia that already have some of the most locally renowned directors and talent attached,” said James Farrell, head of international Amazon Originals, Amazon Studios, in a statement. “And in addition to delighting local audiences, we’re thrilled to be able to bring the work of these talented local writers, directors, producers and actors behind each series to an international audience of more than 100 million Prime members worldwide.”

Netflix’s ‘Insatiable’ Top Binge, ‘Living With Yourself’ Top ‘Show on the Rise’ on TV Time Charts

Netflix’s “Insatiable” took the top spot on the “Binge Report,” while the service’s “Living With Yourself” led the “Shows on the Rise” on the TV Time charts for the week ended Oct. 20.

TV Time is a free TV viewership tracking app that tracks consumers’ viewing habits worldwide and is visited by more than 1 million consumers every day, according to the company. The weekly “Binge Report” ranks shows with the most binge sessions. A binge session is when four or more episodes of a show are watched and tracked in the app in a given day. The “Shows on the Rise” chart is calculated by determining the week-over-week growth in episodes watched for a given program.

The second season of “Insatiable,” about a once-overweight beauty queen seeking revenge, hit screens Oct. 11. Following “Insatiable” at No. 2 on the binge chart was another Netflix show, the global original “Baby,” the second season of which debuted Oct. 18. The Italian series is a coming-of-age story that explores the unseen lives of Roman high schoolers.

“Baby” also took the No. 4 spot on the “Shows on the Rise” chart, which was led by Netflix’s “Living With Yourself,” which also hit screens Oct. 18. The new Netflix show stars Paul Rudd as a man struggling in life. When he undergoes a novel spa treatment that promises to make him a better person, he finds he’s been replaced by a new and improved version of himself. Amazon’s new show, “Modern Love,” which debuted Oct. 18, took the silver on the “Shows on the Rise” chart. The American romantic comedy series stars Anne Hathaway, Tina Fey, Dev Patel, Catherine Keener, Andrew Scott and John Slattery. Taking the bronze on the “Rise” chart was HBO’s “Watchmen,” based on the graphic novel. It debuted Oct. 20 and stars Regina King.

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Top Binge Shows Week Ended Oct. 20 by Share of Binges:

  1. “Insatiable” (Netflix) — 4.56%
  2. “Baby” (Netflix) — 2.76%
  3. “Friends” (NBC) — 2.46%
  4. “The Hook Up Plan” (Netflix) — 2.23%
  5. “Big Mouth” (Netflix) — 1.79%
  6. “Brooklyn Nine-Nine” (NBC) — 1.76%
  7. “Peaky Blinders” (BBC One) — 1.70%
  8. “The Big Bang Theory” (CBS) — 1.47%
  9. “Grey’s Anatomy” (ABC) — 1.43%
  10. “Lucifer” (Netflix) — 1.30%

 

Top Shows on the Rise Week Ended Oct. 20 by Rise Ratio:

  1. “Living With Yourself” (Netflix) — 100%
  2. “Modern Love” (Amazon) — 99.9%
  3. “Watchmen” (HBO) — 99.9%
  4. “Baby” (Netflix) — 98%
  5. “The House of Flowers” (Netflix) — 95.8%
  6. “Impulse” (YouTube Premium) — 92.1%
  7. “The Purge” (USA) — 86%
  8. “Saint Seiya” (TV Asahi) — 65.9%
  9. “Arrow” (The CW) — 57.5%
  10. “Charmed” (The CW) — 41%

Amazon to Produce First Australian Original Series With Rebel Wilson

Australian actress, writer and producer Rebel Wilson (Pitch Perfect, The Hustle, Isn’t It Romantic) has signed on to host and executive produce the first Australian Amazon Original series “LOL: Last One Laughing.”

The comedy-variety series, produced with Endemol Shine Australia, will feature a star-studded cast of 10 Australian comedic actors and stand-ups competing to make each other laugh first. The final comedian left standing will win the grand prize of $100,000 (Australian).

The six-part series will premiere exclusively on Prime Video in more than 200 countries and territories in 2020.

“I’m thrilled to be joining the Prime Video family of creators and talent,” said Wilson in a statement. “I’ve already had the chance to work with Alexa — she’s great — and on Audible, so working with Prime Video seemed like an obvious choice. I can’t wait to see what these talented Australian comedians come up with and how far they’ll go to take home the prize.”

“LOL: Last One Laughing” follows the format of the Amazon Original series from Japan, “Hitoshi Matsumoto Presents Documental,” produced by and starring comedian Hitoshi Matsumoto. The format was also launched in Mexico with comedian Eugenio Derbez as host. The series in Japan and Mexico are currently on their seventh and second seasons, respectively.

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“We’re excited to bring ‘LOL: Last One Laughing’ to our Prime members in Australia and around the world,” said James Farrell, head of international originals for Amazon Studios, in a statement. “Customers in Japan and Mexico have told us they love ‘Documental’ and ‘LOL: Last One Laughing.’ Australia was an easy choice as the next country to bring this to and Rebel Wilson was at the top of our list to host and star. We think our Prime members are going to love it.”

IHS Markit: Amazon and Netflix Ramp Up Global Production

Since rolling out worldwide in 2016, streaming-video giants Amazon and Netflix are building their presence in local country markets with a growing amount of original content, according to IHS Markit.

Netflix launched 1,257 hours of original first-run content in 2017, well ahead of Amazon Prime Video’s 285 hours, according to IHS Markit. Netflix has also dramatically increased that content outside the United States, with 402 hours launching last year.

International content accounted for 40% of Amazon’s total original first-run output last year, compared to 32% for Netflix, according to IHS.

“The availability of local content is primarily how both platforms adapt their services to various countries, along with local currency pricing, local-language websites, dubbing and subtitling,” according to an IHS release.

Netflix global original production has jumped from the first season of “Lilyhammer” in 2012 to 300 titles in 2017.

“Offering content that is locally made, but which plays worldwide, is just one of the methods Netflix, in particular, has revolutionized the TV programming business,” according to IHS.

Amazon has stepped up original production, but is well behind Netflix in overall volume, IHS noted. Amazon Prime Video also produced a single international title in 2012, renewing a cancelled BBC series, “Ripper Street,” and the company has gone on to launch 56 such original titles in 2017.

“Netflix and Amazon have cast a wide net, in terms of program genres, commissioning dramas and comedies, children’s live action and animation, documentaries and rights to theatrical movies,” said Tim Westcott, director of research and analysis, channels and programming, IHS Markit, in a statement. “Both companies have also dabbled in reality TV, and they are expected to move further into this area in the future.”

According to the Channels and Programming Intelligence Service from IHS Markit, at the end of last year, Netflix had 52.8 million online streaming video subscribers in the United States. Netflix international subscriptions outstripped those in the United States in 2017, with 57.8 million at the end of the year. Amazon Video subscribers in the United States reached 30.2 million in 2017. Amazon Video, having switched on globally later than Netflix, is well behind in terms of subscribers outside the United States, which totaled just under 15 million at the end of last year.

“In the linear TV era, channels produced programming primarily for domestic consumption, with international sales an often lucrative — but definitely secondary — revenue stream,” Westcott said in a statement. “The time-lag between U.S. and international release also encouraged piracy of hit shows, like HBO’s ‘Game of Thrones.’ Now, both Amazon and Netflix are originating programming in order to capture a global audience, releasing their originals on the same day and date in multiple territories. This also means that non-U.S. programming has the potential to find an audience in the world’s largest entertainment market — one where subtitled or dubbed programming has been almost unheard-of outside the art-house cinema circuit.”

Amazon Prime Video Viewership Revealed

Amazon Prime Video reportedly generated 26 million initial viewers for original programs in early 2017, including 5 million viewers for top shows such as “The Man in the High Castle,” “Transparent,” “Mozart in the Jungle,” and ‘The Grand Tour.”

Subscription streaming video heavyweights Netflix and Amazon Prime Video have staunchly refused to reveal viewership (or ratings) for their ad-free original programs, citing lack of required advertiser justification. It’s a stance that irritates ad-supported TV broadcasters beholden to live-or-die ratings.

Now, internal documents obtained by Reuters reveal in part why original programing is driving Netflix and Amazon to spend $8 billion and $5 billion, respectively, on programing in 2018: New subscribers. It’s growth that drives revenue – and that’s what Wall Street loves.

With Prime Video a free component of Amazon’s $99 annual Prime free two-day shipping membership program, original episodic programs and movies drive subscriber growth, which in turn drives growth of other items on Amazon – including movies.

Unlike Netflix, which reveals (if not champions) subscriber data, Amazon refuses to disclose Prime membership data, which was estimated to top 54 million in the United States at the end of 2015, according to a Consumer Intelligence Research Partners survey.

In a separate 2016 survey from “CutCableToday” of 380 Prime members, 40% said they rented or bought movies not available on Prime Video from Amazon Instant Video on a monthly basis. The survey also found that 20% of Prime members don’t use Prime Video.

“When we win a Golden Globe, it helps us sell more shoes,” Amazon founder/CEO Jeff Bezos told a 2016 tech confab. It’s an outlook CFO Brian Olsavsky drones on monotonously in Amazon’s conference calls.

Reuters reported that “High Castle,” which is an adaption of Philip Dick’s 1962 alternate historical fiction showcasing Axis powers Germany, Japan and Italy having won World War II, cost $72 million in first season production and marketing.

It reportedly generated 1.15 million new Prime subscribers, or about $63 in subscriber acquisition costs – 36% below the annual Prime membership fee.

Amazon Acquires Rights to Produce Space Opera TV Series From Writer Iain Banks

Amazon Studios has acquired the global television rights to the first novel from the space opera “Culture” series by Scottish writer Iain M. Banks.

Consider Phlebas features Banks’ fictional interstellar utopian society the Culture, in which a highly advanced and progressive society ends up at war with the Idirans, a deeply religious, warlike race intent on dominating the entire galaxy. The story centers on Horza, a rogue agent tasked by the Idirans with the impossible mission of recovering a missing Culture “Mind,” an artificial intelligence many thousands of times smarter than any human — something that could hold the key to wiping out the Culture altogether.

The series will be adapted by Dennis Kelly with Plan B Entertainment slated to produce and the estate of Iain Banks attached as executive producer.

“The story of the Culture is so rich and captivating that for years Hollywood has been trying to bring this utopian society to life on the screen,” said Sharon Tal Yguado, head of scripted series at Amazon Studios, in a statement. “We are honored that we have been chosen, along with Dennis Kelly and Plan B Entertainment, to make Consider Phlebas into a television series we think will be loved by fans for years to come.”

“Iain Banks has long been a hero of mine, and his innate warmth, humor and humanism shines through these novels,” Kelly said in a statement. “Far from being the dystopian nightmares that we are used to, Banks creates a kind of flawed paradise, a society truly worth fighting for — rather than a warning from the future, his books are a beckoning.”

Prime Originals are available for Prime members to stream using the Prime Video app for TVs, connected devices and mobile devices, or online at Amazon.com/originals, at no additional cost to their membership.