Amazon's 'Alpha House' and 'Betas' to premiere this month

Amazon's 'Alpha House' and 'Betas' to premiere this month
John Goodman in a scene from Amazon Studios' "Alpha House," which will premiere Nov. 15. (Amazon Studios)

Amazon announced Monday that it has set the premiere dates for its first two original series. "Alpha House" will begin streaming on Nov. 15, and "Betas" will follow a week later on Nov. 22.

Amazon doesn't plan on hewing to the Netflix formula, however, and won't immediately put up all 11 episodes of each show to be streamed successively according to viewer desire.

"We will release three episodes upfront for all customers so they can try out the shows and get to know the characters. Then we will release new episodes via Prime Instant Video week by week so that customers can chat about the shows and build up anticipation," said Roy Price, director of Amazon Studios. "We're constantly experimenting and trying new things — and we're eager to hear customers' feedback on this model."

The first three episodes can be watched for free by Amazon customers via Amazon Instant Video on Kindle Fire, iPad, iPhone, Roku, Xbox 360, PlayStation 3 and other connected devices, and online at

The remainder of both shows will be available only through Amazon Prime, which costs $79 a year and comes with non-TV-related perks such as free two-day shipping for all orders on Amazon and a Kindle book to borrow for free each month.

Amazon is betting that this formula will appeal to viewers, who are increasingly bombarded by entertainment content from all over the digital universe. But more than that, it's betting on the viability of its first two original shows.

"Alpha House" was created by cartoonist and Pulitzer Prize-winner Gary Trudeau and chronicles the ups and downs in the lives of four senators who share a house in Washington, D.C. It stars John Goodman, Clark Johnson, Matt Malloy and Mark Consuelos as the roommates, in addition to Cynthia Nixon ("Sex and the City"), Amy Sedaris ("Strangers With Candy") and Wanda Sykes ("Curb Your Enthusiasm").

"Betas" was written by Evan Endicott and Josh Stoddard and follows the lives of four tech entrepreneurs who try to make it big through the development of a new mobile social networking app.