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Amazon Studios Boss Roy Price Exits Following Harassment Allegations; What’s Next for the Streaming Service

Listen: On KCRW's "Screengrab," a look at the future of Amazon Prime as it adjusts its programming strategy.

Jeff Bezos, Roy PriceAmazon Emmy Celebration, Arrivals, Los Angeles, USA - 18 Sep 2016

Jeff Bezos and Roy Price

Kolasinski/BFA/REX/Shutterstock

Roy Price has resigned as head of Amazon Studios, just days after being placed on “indefinite leave” by the company. Price’s exit followed allegations made by producer Isa Hackett, who revealed to reporter Kim Masters that the exec made sexual remarks to her in July 2015 at San Diego Comic-Con.

Hackett, the daughter of author Philip K. Dick, runs Electric Shepherd Prods. and is a producer on the Amazon series “The Man in the High Castle,” as well as another upcoming series for the streaming service, “Electric Dreams.” Among the things that Price said to Hackett, in propositioning her, was “you will love my dick.”

Price was suspended on Oct. 12. Since then, his fiancée, TV writer-playwright Lila Feinberg, also called off their wedding.

The allegations against Price were first posted in August by Masters at the website The Information. But in the wake of the Harvey Weinstein scandal, Hackett decided to go on the record with Masters last week and further explain what happened. Amazon had previously investigated Hackett’s allegations, but Price hadn’t been suspended before the latest story arrived.

The Price allegations came as, separately, Rose McGowan took on Amazon and Jeff Bezos in a series of Tweets. In writing that Weinstein raped her, McGowan also said she told Price about the incident after she sold a script there, and that he ignored her request not to work with Weinstein on the project, killing the show instead.

In the wake of both the Weinstein and Price scandals, Amazon also pulled the plug on its expensive, high-profile The Weinstein Co.-produced show from David O. Russell (starring Robert De Niro and Julianne Moore). It will also move forward with another show, the Matthew Weiner-created “The Romanoffs,” but without the Weinstein Co. involvement.

Price’s exit also comes as Amazon undergoes a dramatic rethink of its Prime programming strategy. Amazon leader Jeff Bezos has very publicly said the streaming service had focused too much on arthouse fare that garnered critical acclaim but few eyeballs. Like most programmers, Bezos has said he wants more populist fare like HBO’s “Game of Thrones.” To that end, Sharon Tal Yguado was hired to bring more comic book and fan favorite programming to the service. (Among Amazon’s recent deals: One with “The Walking Dead” co-creator Robert Kirkman.)

COO Albert Cheng has been named interim boss of Amazon Studios, while Joe Lewis heads up comedy and drama at Amazon, Morgan Wandell oversees international and Conrad Riggs handles reality.

On this week’s edition of KCRW’s “Screengrab,” we discussed the fate of Roy Price and the future of Amazon Prime’s TV offerings. Take a listen!

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