Amazon is betting it can expand its operations into original television programming with proven stars like Jeffrey Tambor.
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Garry Shandling’s sidekick Hank Kingsley on The Larry Sanders Show, and George Bluth, Sr. (and his twin brother Oscar Bluth) on Arrested development, Jeffrey Tambor, is slated to star in a new drama – or dramedy — for Amazon.com, titled Transparent, set to debut at the end of September.
Transparent is about yet another dysfunctional Los Angeles family, in which Tambor plays the patriarch. The family has to deal with the revelations that father, Gaby, is transsexual, and that one sister is a lesbian.
Amazon debuted the series pilot back in February, as part of its annual experiment in which it released the pilots of a number of potential new shows and waited to see the reactions before deciding which ones to green light for full production as series. All ten episodes of Transparent will be offered for live streaming at the same time.
This is in accordance with the new style of television programming known as binge watching, pioneered by Netflix, known for its two Emmy nominated hits — House of Cards and Orange is the New Black.
It remains to be seen if Netflix will be able to compete in this new market of Internet based original programming, against players like Hulu and Yahoo.
Joe Lewis, Amazon Studios’ Head of Original Programming, said of the show at a meeting of the Television Critics Association, “We’ve never looked at [Transparent] as anything but a continuous piece of five-hour entertainment. I don’t think of it as binging, I just think of it as a five-hour movie.”
About his new role, Tambor said, “This is all I ever wanted to do. I’m overwhelmed and having the time of my life.” He also stated that he fell in love with the part the moment he read the script for the pilot.
The 70-year-old actor told Vulture.com about the show: “It’s very interesting, very human, very real to me. To me, it’s about a family.”
Jeffrey Michael Tambor grew up in a Conservative Jewish family in San Francisco. In the early part of his career, Tambor had recurring roles on many television shows like Hill Street Blues.
Tambor is no stranger to binge television, as the fifth season of “Arrested” was picked up this year by Netflix, which streamed it all at once.