Alpha House, one of Amazon Studio’s first TV series, has proven successful enough that creator Garry Trudeau has had to shelve the previous creation he’s still better known for: His comic strip, Doonesbury.
Alpha House stars John Goodman, Mark Consuelos, Clark Johnson and Matt Malloy as four U.S. Senators sharing a single home in Washington, D.C., as their home away from their home states while working in the Capitol. Amazon Studios produced and released 11 episodes over the winter — the first three episodes for free online, the rest available only to subscribers. An announcement is forthcoming today on Amazon renewing Alpha House for a second season. Making it the first “successful” series for Amazon’s new TV-based initiatives. Amazon Studios also just released a new batch of pilots for public viewing this month; Alpha House emerged out of the initial round of public-viewed-pilots last April.
In advance of that, Trudeau revealed yesterday that he’d be taking a break from his daily comic strip, which has poked fun at D.C., politics and social-cultural issues for four decades — syndicated since 1970 and appearing in some 1,400 newspapers. He will continue to produce new Sunday strips, however.
Trudeau told The Washington Post’s Comic Riffs column that he couldn’t keep doing both the daily comic strip and a weekly online/TV series:
“They’re both full-time jobs. So I had to choose, and no, it wasn’t that difficult. I’ve done the strip for 43 years — 45 if you include the college edition [at Yale] — and I’m ready for an extended break. A hiatus comes with uncertainty, of course: I can’t assume I’ll be welcomed back a year or two from now. The comics page is zero-sum real estate, and there are a lot of interesting new strips that editors could turn to while I’m away.”
But he also added: “Having said that, I’ve always thought of myself as a comic-strip lifer, which is common in our industry and an annoyance to younger cartoonists. I love working for newspapers, and can’t imagine life without them. Which is why I’m keeping one foot in with the Sundays.”
Trudeau, 65, was the first comic-strip author to win the Pulitzer Prize for editorial cartooning, in 1975.