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'Alpha House' returns with midterm elections and Bill Murray

Big names and big competition are brewing when Alpha House returns for its second season.

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Amazon picks up six pilots, second season of 'Alpha House'

The Amazon original Alpha House garnered over 6,000 five-star reviews during its first season, and it’s not stopping now: Amazon announced today that the political comedy is getting a second season.

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Amazon re-introduces 'Alpha House,' explains distribution strategy -- EXCLUSIVE CLIP

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Amazon enters the original programming game Nov. 15, when the first few episodes of Alpha House — a foul-mouthed political comedy from the mind of Doonesbury creator Garry Trudeau — officially premiere on the retailer’s main site. The series stars John Goodman, Mark Consuelos, Matt Malloy, and Clark Johnson as four Republican senators who share the same D.C. rental. Bill Murray makes a memorable cameo in Alpha‘s pilot, already available for free viewing on Amazon’s Prime Instant Video; future episodes will feature even more boldfaced names, including Cynthia Nixon and Wanda Sykes as a pair of formidable Democratic senators, Amy Sedaris as the wife of Malloy’s Nevada senator, and Haley Joel Osment as a reporter from Reno.

Though Amazon’s chief rival Netflix famously follows a simultaneous release model for its original series, Amazon has a different distribution strategy. As of the 15th, the website will offer the first three episodes of Alpha for free. Subsequent episodes will be released week by week — and available only to Prime Instant Video subscribers.

Why stretch out distribution in this manner? “Releasing all episodes at once delays launch and doesn’t allow customers to binge view any sooner,” Amazon Studios head Roy Price explains to EW via email. “Also, it makes it hard to talk about a show with your friends because you never know how many episodes they’ve watched — and that’s part of the fun of a TV show. On the latter point, at first it was a hunch but then we confirmed it by looking at social conversation on Twitter and Facebook: shows that are binge-released tend to have unusually rapid, sometimes precipitous declines in public conversation.”
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Amazon picks up 'Alpha House' with John Goodman, 'Betas,' 3 children's shows

It’s all Greek to Amazon — at least when it comes to the retail site’s first original series for adults.

The company announced today that it has chosen five of the 14 pilots it posted online in April to become full-blown series: Alpha House, a political comedy created by Doonesbury‘s Garry Trudeau that stars John Goodman (and features a cameo by Bill Murray); Betas, a Silicon Valley-set comedy starring Ed Begley Jr.; and Annebots, Creative Galaxy, and Tumbleaf, three series aimed at kids.

Each show proved popular with Amazon customers, whose feedback was taken into account during the selection process. Amazon says that full series of all five will air exclusively on Prime Instant Video late this year and in early 2014, though no specific premiere dates have been set yet. READ FULL STORY

FIRST LOOK: Amazon pilots starring Jeffrey Tambor and John Goodman

Make room, Netfix! Amazon is the latest streaming service trying its hand at original content. The mega-retailer plans to debut 12 pilots — six children’s series and six comedies — this spring, including Alpha House featuring John Goodman, and Onion News Empire with Jeffrey Tambor. We’ve got your first look at both below. READ FULL STORY

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