Amazon Prime will be “the exclusive subscription streaming home” to three CBS summer series through 2018, including the forthcoming “BrainDead,” from “The Good Wife” producers Robert and Michelle King. The comic thriller, starring Mary Elizabeth Winstead as a Capitol Hill staffer who discovers that aliens have eaten the brains of several elected officials and top aides, will air in the summer of 2016. (The other two series have yet to be announced.)
The deal comes on the heels of Amazon’s exclusive licensing agreement with CBS to stream new episodes of the network’s titles “Under the Dome” and “Extant,” and also features the extension and expansion of CBS and Showtime films and TV series available via Prime, including the original “Twin Peaks”—the revival of which David Lynch currently has in the works for Showtime, and is slated to debut in 2017—”The Tudors,” “I Love Lucy,””The Amazing Race,” and “Inside Llewyn Davis.”
The move marks yet another attempt by Amazon to compete for cord-cutters in the changing television landscape. In addition to its growing slate of original programming, including critically acclaimed dramedies “Transparent” and “Catastrophe,” Prime also offers episodes of HBO series such as “Sex and the City” and “The Wire.” How the agreement will effect CBS’ own nascent attempt to compete in the digital realm, the $5.99/month subscription on demand service CBS All Access, is less clear. The Amazon partnership appears to be designed to build buzz for CBS’ summer series, possibly with an eye to drawing viewers into watching live.
As the jockeying for position among traditional networks, cable companies, premium channels, and streaming services continues, experimentation reigns in both production and distribution—at least for now.