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Amazon to Binge Release ‘Transparent’ #TCA14

When Amazon premieres comedy Transparent in September, it will release all 10 episodes at once, show creator Jill Soloway announced Saturday at the TCA summer

“Did we announce that we’re binging?” Soloway asked Joe Lewis, Amazon’s head of comedy, after teasing the release strategy.

“I think we just did,” Lewis said.

Amazon has in the past staggered the episode releases for its original series. No decision has yet been made on whether to release the episodes for the company’s other forthcoming new series simultaneously, according to Lewis, who said that the binge-release strategy seemed particularly appropriate for Transparent.

“We’ve never looked at this as anything other than a continuous piece of five hour entertainment,” Lewis said.

Lewis and Soloway were joined onstage by cast members Jeffrey Tambor, Gaby Hoffmann, Jay Duplass and Amy Landecker.

Highlights from the panel included:

• Soloway said that she wrote the pilot on spec and shopped it with several traditional networks—including HBO, Showtime, and Netflix.

“Joe was able to say we will know whether or not we’re going to make this in a month or two,” Soloway said. “Once we make it, we’re going to know whether or not we’re going to order it to series a couple months after that. And everywhere else had the sort of response that most people get, which is, ‘Oh, we like it. We want to change some things. We’d like to develop the script for the next year. And after that, we may or may not make, and by the way, if we don’t make it, you’ll never see it again.’”

• Tambor and the rest of the creative team were emphatic in praising the creative freedom that Amazon has afforded them. “I love what is happening and I believe in this side of the street,” Tambor said when asked about working for a digital network. “I wrote Joe a note the other day and said, ‘I’m overwhelmed and I’m having the time of my life.’”

• The actors also bristled at a question that presumed they were being paid less to work on an Amazon series than they would if the show were on a cable of broadcast network—a question that had been preceded by Tambor and others joking onstage about being paid poorly. “I’m getting matched my network fee,” Hoffmann said. “It’s right up there.”

Hoffmann revisited the issue later in the panel. “This notion that is somehow prevalent that we’re somehow making a sacrifice working for Amazon is actually completely false,” Hoffmann said. “I would have done this show for nothing. Luckily I’m getting very, very nicely paid.”