Amazon's ‘Mozart’ Hopes to Stay Golden

Golden Globe nominations are announced Dec. 12, and the folks behind Amazon’s Mozart in the Jungle will see if they get a chance to defend their top-comedy crown. Mozart’s 2015 win took many by surprise—including the executive producers.

“A huge surprise,” said Roman Coppola. “It was particularly enjoyable because it wasn’t expected—it really came out of the blue.”

The exec producers had nevertheless decided before last year’s event who would speak in the unlikely event of a win. That fell on Paul Weitz, who abstained from alcohol during the dinner for that reason, yet still had trouble with his speech. “I had a long-range pair of glasses and a pair for reading,” he said. “I had the wrong pair.”

Season three of Mozart starts Dec. 9 on Amazon and features, among other offbeat moments, an episode at Rikers Island, the famed New York City jail. Coppola directed that episode, which is set up as a documentary within the Mozart narrative. The orchestra plays for about 110 inmates. “I got to speak with them as part of the episode, and chat about their experiences,” said Coppola. “Hearing their reactions was really gratifying.”

Another season three highlight is an episode directed by star Gael Garcia Bernal and Bernal’s character Rodrigo conducting an opera performance by Monica Bellucci’s Alessandra character.

Coppola, Weitz, Jason Schwartzman and Will Graham are the executive producers. A number of them have rich film resumes but seem happy working in television for the moment. Coppola said something one hears now and then from Amazon comedy creators—shooting 10 half-hours can feel an awful lot like shooting a (longish) movie.

Weitz, who has a handful of TV credits on his resume, said they are “completely in the dark” regarding viewership numbers, and he’s elated to be off the Nielsen grid. “It’s fantastic to be able to do 10 shows without worrying about one of a thousand Nielsen families having a bad stomach that night and not watching your show,” he said, “and you get canceled the next day.” (Weitz did add that he was being somewhat “simplistic” in his description.)

Amazon recently made the somewhat surprising move of canceling Good Girls Revoltafter just one season, so ratings do matter at the streaming service.

The E.P.s are keen to keep Mozart humming for at least a few more seasons. “I never really thought about it, but I feel like there’s a lot of story between all these characters of different ages,” said Coppola. “I think it has a lot of legs.”

Michael Malone

Michael Malone, senior content producer at B+C/Multichannel News, covers network programming, including entertainment, news and sports on broadcast, cable and streaming; and local broadcast television. He hosts the podcasts Busted Pilot, about what’s new in television, and Series Business, a chat with the creator of a new program, and writes the column “The Watchman.” He joined B+C in 2005. His journalism has also appeared in The New York Times, The Philadelphia Inquirer, Playboy and New York magazine.