Amazon made waves when it entered the original TV series space, but the streaming service has now made a trio of high-profile cancellations. Amazon announced yesterday that it was cancelling Jean-Claude Van Johnson, I Love Dick, and One Mississippi, with the latter two being shows about and written by women. I Love Dick was the new series from Transparent creator Jill Soloway, while One Mississippi was the brainchild of Tig Notaro.
Optics-wise, these cancellations don’t look great. All three of these shows were developed by Roy Price, who was fired last year following a sexual harassment investigation. And One Mississippi’s second season, which premiered in September, served as Notaro’s direct address of Louis C.K.’s sexual harassment allegations.
It’s true that Amazon just won accolades for Amy Sherman-Palladino’s new series The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel, but losing two high-profile female-centric series is not a great look, especially two that had pretty positive reviews. But as Amazon’s feature film plays have garnered more success, Jeff Bezos had ordered Price to abandon his “niche programming strategy” that resulted in shows like I Love Dick, One Mississippi, and Mozart in the Jungle in favoring of finding “the next Game of Thrones.”
Amazon made that play last year in securing the rights to a Lord of the Rings TV series, and in the wake of these cancellations it sounds like Bezos is changing the direction of Amazon’s original TV series output. Add in the fact that Transparent’s next season is in limbo due to allegations lobbied against star Jeffrey Tambor, and their lineup may look very different this time next year.
It’s a bummer and a shame, especially given how much money Amazon has to produce original content. But as Netflix continues to expand its volume of original content at an insane rate and everyone braces for Apple’s entrance into the original content marketplace, it very much feels like a bloodbath is about to ensue. As a result, it appears Bezos wasn’t happy with the performance and brand of Amazon’s TV series thus far and is now pivoting hard in the Lord of the Rings direction.
To catch up on all the TV renewals and cancellations thus far, check out our TV Lifeline.