Amazon Rescues Bryan Cranston’s ‘Sneaky Pete’ Pilot

CBS passed, but the show will go on Aug. 7

When streaming services want to make a name for themselves and attract new viewers, they often try to pick up a canceled broadcast show. Hulu took on The Mindy Project, Yahoo Screen saved Community, and Netflix revived Arrested Development—and in September, it will bring back Longmire, which A&E said had aged out of its demographic.

Now, Amazon has joined the fray, acquiring Sneaky Pete, a drama pilot executive-produced by Bryan Cranston. CBS passed on the show in May when it set its 2015-2016 schedule.

The Sneaky Pete pilot will be available to all Amazon customers, not just Amazon Prime members, beginning Aug. 7. As standard procedure with fledgling Amazon series, the company will ask customers for feedback on whether to pick up the drama for a full season. 

In addition, Amazon will air a second drama pilot, Casanova, which stars Diego Luna as the 18th-century Italian adventurer and playboy. With just two shows on tap, this fifth round of pilots will be a much smaller offering than the 13 pilots Amazon streamed in January (although six of those were kids pilots).

While Amazon seems late to the party, following in the footsteps of its streaming competitors by acquiring a broadcast show, Amazon Studios director Roy Price told me last year that the company did look at a few pilots in spring 2014 but ultimately decided not to pick any up.

"We always want to be open to shows that did not get reordered, or even pilots that did not get ordered. … We're always happy to look at stuff, so I'm sure we'll do more in the future," said Price, adding that he was more likely to take a chance on a pilot than a canceled series since "most shows, when they shuffle off this mortal coil, do so for a reason."  

Sneaky Pete stars Giovanni Ribisi and Margo Martindale, and was executive-produced by David Shore (House) along with Cranston. Ribisi plays a con man who leaves prison, takes the identity of his cell mate, Pete, moves in with Pete's family and ends up involved in its bail bond business. The pilot underwent some reshoots earlier this summer, which will be incorporated into the new version that Amazon customers will see.

While several discarded pilots and canceled shows have looked for new homes on Amazon, Hulu, Netflix and other streaming outlets this summer, Sneaky Pete is only the second show (after The Mindy Project) to have actually secured a landing spot.