Jeff Bezos had a 12-step guide for making 'iconic' TV shows that Amazon Studios execs had to follow, according to a new book

Jeff Bezos had a 12-step guide for making 'iconic' TV shows that Amazon Studios execs had to follow, according to a new book
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Jeff Bezos
Bezos. Alex Wong/Getty Images
  • Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos had 12 rules the company's TV shows had to follow, according to the new book "Amazon Unbound."

  • They included "a heroic protagonist who experiences growth and change" and "moral choices."

  • Amazon Studios execs had to send Bezos regular updates on the projects in development.

  • See more stories on Insider's business page.

Jeff Bezos, the founder and CEO of Amazon, used to have a tendency to micromanage the company's foray into television, according to a new book.

In "Amazon Unbound: Jeff Bezos and the Invention of a Global Empire," which was released on Tuesday, author Brad Stone described how Bezos was so involved in Amazon Studios' projects that he had 12 rules that each TV show had to follow - or Studios execs would have to explain why they didn't.

"Look, I know what it takes to make a great show," Bezos told the former Amazon Studios president Roy Price in 2017, the book says. "This should not be that hard. All of these iconic shows have basic things in common."

He then listed them "off the top of his head," according to the book.

The full list of steps, as quoted from "Amazon Unbound," was:

  1. A heroic protagonist who experiences growth and change

  2. A compelling antagonist

  3. Wish fulfillment (e.g., the protagonist has hidden abilities, such as superpowers or magic)

  4. Moral choices

  5. Diverse worldbuilding (different geographic landscapes)

  6. Urgency to watch next episode (cliffhangers)

  7. Civilizational high stakes (a global thread to humanity like an alien invasion - or a devastating pandemic)

  8. Humor

  9. Betrayal

  10. Positive emotions (love, joy, hope)

  11. Negative emotions (loss, sorrow)

  12. Violence

The confrontation with Price stemmed from Bezos' frustrations with the Amazon series "The Man in the High Castle," according to the book. Bezos called the execution "terrible" and asked during a meeting, "Why didn't you guys stop it? Why didn't you reshoot it?"

Amazon Studios executives "had to send Bezos regular updates on the projects in development that included spreadsheets describing how each show had each storytelling element," the book says. If any of the elements were missing, they had to explain why.

Representatives for Amazon Studios did not immediately respond to Insider's request for comment.

In an interview on the Vox podcast "Recode" published Tuesday, Stone, the author, said that Bezos wanted a "scientific way to place his bets" in streaming, but that the rules were short lived.

While Bezos, who is stepping into an executive chairman role this summer, is not as involved with Amazon's shows now, the company is still taking big bets on genre-heavy projects like the superhero series "The Boys" and its upcoming big-budget "Lord of the Rings" series.

The first season of the latter alone will cost $465 million, according to The Hollywood Reporter, including the $250 million Amazon paid for the rights to the series.

Read the original article on Business Insider

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