Amazon Studios Exec: 'Jaded' U.S. Audiences Just Need Time to Warm Up to 'Citadel'

Amazon original series 'Citadel'
(Image credit: Amazon Studios)

Trying to put the best possible spin on a very expensive TV show that hasn't caught on in its most important market, Amazon Studios dramatic series chief Odetta Watkins told a Banff Media Festival audience in Alberta, Canada Sunday that Citadel simply needs more time to catch on in the States. 

Also read: Yes, We Can Now Safely Call Amazon's Russo Bros. Spy Thriller 'Citadel' a $300 Million Disaster

"I think you’ll start to see the audience start to respond differently as it goes on. In the U.S., we are very jaded and watch everything with a discerning eye, like, ‘Hmm, that [season] wasn’t as good as the last one.’ I just think [Citadel] needs time to grow," said Watkins, who was quoted by several Penske showbiz trades in attendance. 

(Editor's note: Given the sheer number of fight scenes on trains in espionage-themed action-thrillers in recent years, it might not be fair to judge American audiences on their reaction, or lack of one, to a series that opens up with an 11-minute choo-choo-based brawl.)

“I can tell you from a creative perspective, for me, it’s a victory, because the show was conceived to be able to speak to the world," Watkins added. 

Produced by Joseph and Anthony Russo at a reported cost of $300 million, the six-part first season of spy-thriller Citadel debuted on April 28 and didn't show up once in Nielsen's U.S. rankings of subscription shows. 

Next TV agreed with Rolling Stone's assessment that the production, scoring an aggregated 54% among critics, could rightly be called a "disaster," given its steep reported production cost. 

Next TV received a phone call Friday from Amazon Studios press rep, informing us that the series -- the second most expensive ever made behind Amazon's Lord of the Rings: Rings of Power -- has been enthusiastically received oversees. 

Is "disaster" too harsh?

The series, parts of which were shot in the UK, and which stars Scottish stage actor Richard Madden alongside Indian actress Priyanka Chopra, did get picked up for a second season. 

Yet, Amazon hasn't disclosed any Citadel metrics for Europe or any other territory. 

Daniel Frankel

Daniel Frankel is the managing editor of Next TV, an internet publishing vertical focused on the business of video streaming. A Los Angeles-based writer and editor who has covered the media and technology industries for more than two decades, Daniel has worked on staff for publications including E! Online, Electronic Media, Mediaweek, Variety, paidContent and GigaOm. You can start living a healthier life with greater wealth and prosperity by following Daniel on Twitter today!