Feb 23 2014, 11:20am CST | by Forbes
Michael Connelly is the maybe the most respected mystery novelist of his generation. The writer behind such novel-turned-movie hits as The Lincoln Lawyer and Blood Work has been pounding out best sellers for two decades, and after 26 novels hasn’t shown any signs of slowing down.
But for all his success, Connelly’s most famous character, Hieronymus “Harry” Bosch, had yet to see the movie or TV screen until this year. When I talked to Connelly recently, I asked him why.
“It started gathering dust after a pretty substantial effort to get something done.”
According to Connelly, he’d sold the rights to Bosch to Paramount in the mid-90s as a way to help make enough money for him to quit his day job as a reporter for the LA Times, but after three scripts that didn’t quite capture the complicated detective character, the studio shelved the project.
While Connelly thought it wise not to force a movie or TV show with scripts that didn’t work, he became frustrated when Paramount wouldn’t release the rights to Bosch. So when the deal finally expired in 2012, he decided to look for a partner to help him realize the Bosch character on screen.
After deciding serialized TV was the best way to bring Bosch to screen, Connelly and his agent let the word get out. But instead of a traditional Hollywood Studio, this time it would be Amazon who would aggressively pursue Bosch.
The large online commerce company had recently started it Studios project, trying to compete with the likes of Netflix and HBO, each of whom have had made original content core to their strategy.
“We started writing a script, and doing preliminary talks,” said Connelly. “I happened to know through my publishing experience the guy who ran the publishing arm of Amazon, and I’d gone to a baseball game with him and mentioned this what I was doing, so he hooked me up with a guy named Joe Lewis at Amazon Studios. He wanted to meet with us, and see what we we’re doing and talk about it.”
So how did that first meeting with Lewis go?
“By the end of the lunch he said ‘we’ll take it.’”
Unlike HBO and Netflix, Amazon uses the wisdom of crowds principle to help them find their future hits. The company puts each round of pilots to customer vote, and those with the most votes get the green light for a full season.
Right now Bosch is halfway through the voting, and it’s doing pretty well, running neck and neck with The After, a pilot from X-Files‘ creator Chris Carter.
I asked Connelly if he thought about what happens if Bosch isn’t made into a full series with Amazon.
“The lesson I learned (from Paramount) is you can’t make a deal where you don’t think about failure,” he said. “This won’t be the end of me trying to bring Harry into this visual medium in some way.”
You can watch and vote on Bosch here on Amazon.
Source: Forbes Business
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