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As ‘The Summer I Turned Pretty’ Becomes Female-Skewing Hit In Season 2, Amazon TV Exec Talks Potential Spinoffs & YA Strategy

EXCLUSIVE: Summer may be over, but The Summer I Turned Pretty is still heating things up at Prime Video.

Season 2 of Jenny Han’s YA adaptation is currently the streamer’s No. 2 most-viewed series to date among women 18-34, behind only Rings of Power, according to Prime Video. It’s also the most-completed series to-date among that demographic.

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The series has also driven subscription growth this summer, Amazon reports. The Summer I Turned Pretty is among Prime Video’s Top 3 series in terms of global acquisition (and, again, No. 1 with women 18-34).

Audiences returned to Cousins Beach in July, and they brought a few new faces with them. In the first three days that the premiere episodes were available on Prime Video, the series doubled its Season 1 premiere audience.

It should not be a surprise that the series was already renewed for a third season. According to Vernon Sanders, head of television, Amazon and MGM Studios, there could be more in store as well.

“It had been one of our goals for years to have that defining show for that audience,” Sanders told Deadline. “So we’re just over the moon…This show is going to continue to be a huge centerpiece for us, and we absolutely have plans to continue building it. Jenny’s got great vision for where she wants to go with all of it, but we’re already hard at work developing complementary pieces.”

In the interview below, Sanders spoke with Deadline about the success of The Summer I Turned Pretty and gave insight into Amazon Studios’ larger programming strategy for young adult content.

DEADLINE: After Season 1, how did you work to position this as a flagship series for Prime Video in order to boost it to accomplish what it has?

VERNON SANDERS: For that, I have to give so much credit to our PR team and our marketing team for working so closely with Jenny and honestly our whole our music team. Music for that show is so key, as you know, and the success we’ve had both seasons partnering with Taylor Swift and her team and so many music artists. There’s a pre-existing book series. There are just so many different elements that all worked really closely together over the course of launching Season 2. It starts with Jenny and her team, and then we had a really engaged group of show executives throughout the company who were genuine fans themselves, and I think it was due to all of their hard work. But it’s just a great show.

DEADLINE: I’m glad you mentioned Taylor Swift. What has that relationship been like? Not only are fans clamoring to hear which songs will be in the series, but it’s also responsible for debuting multiple unreleased tracks.

SANDERS: We have been so delighted and humbled by having had this relationship over the course of the last two seasons, and they have been incredibly lovely — and, believe it or not, incredibly easy to work with. So, we don’t take any of this for granted.I think they also really responded to the show. Jenny credits Taylor Swift as the music she was listening to as she was writing these books. It’s just always been infused in how she’s thinking and feeling and what is authored into the show itself. So, to have Taylor’s music, and as you said, unreleased music in the show, I think is beyond incredible.

DEADLINE: Is there anything you’ve noticed from launching this show that you would use to inform Amazon’s larger programming strategy, especially when it comes to YA content?

SANDERS: We take pride in our relationships with authors. We work with so many, and I think the key here is leaning into great stories that are really just focused on on characters and relationships. This show is all about Jenny’s vision and the tight team that she has. As we think about this audience, I think we will continue to look for those authored stories. You don’t need a ton of special effects. It’s not about bells and whistles, it’s just about characters and universal storytelling. I have to give incredible kudos to the cast…they’ve been brilliant in their portrayals and wonderful partners as well.

DEADLINE: Even though the series is YA, it has a much larger audience than just young people. That isn’t exclusive to TSITP, but I wonder how you view the content as part of your overall programming strategy. Do you intend for YA content to serve that broader audience in the long term?

SANDERS: It’s a great point we talk a lot about as we’re developing and working with creators on their shows — really wanting those dual access points. What was happening for the adult characters in the first season was so compelling and touching and important that I think that was really crucial. But the other thing you recognize about this is the books were written long enough ago that there’s almost a little bit of a generational thing happening where there were people who came to the books at all different ages, and so they’re able to relive what they read on the page and also invite new readers to come and discover the book. So, I think it worked in multiple ways. As we saw this summer with the success of Red, White & Royal Blue, I think [it was] a similar thing where you’re finding readers at all ages and you start to see a bigger thing take shape. We even has real success with our documentary series Shiny, Happy People. Again, women 18-34 came to that, and even though it’s a whole different format of storytelling, ultimately you think about who was drawn to that. There’s their generations of people who are impacted by the real life story that the documentary covered. So, we are thinking quite a bit about our main access point when we develop the why. We’re really trying to make sure that there’s generations that see themselves portrayed. Kelly Day [VP of Prime Video] is a huge fan of YA content and she always said, ‘If you make a great YA show, people of all ages come.’ And I think she was really right about that.

DEADLINE: Since you mentioned Red, White & Royal Blue, I’m curious your philosophy when working on these book adaptations. How do you work with the authors to strike a balance with the source material to serve pre-existing fans while also making it the best it can be for a new medium?

SANDERS: I think it’s always a tricky thing, because people come to these adaptations with such expectations. It’s so important to work closely with the authors for that reason. It’s their creation, and so, if something is going to be changed or massaged, I think fans want to know that they’re okay with it. Their reach is so big and significant. As we were developing Reacher, it was so important to have Lee Child support through that. He was first going out and saying, ‘Watch this version of it. I really believe in it.’ So it’s always tricky, but we’re really fortunate when we can have that kind of partnership with the creator.

DEADLINE: You mentioned complementary pieces for TSITP. What does that mean?

SANDERS: I will say stay tuned, but Jenny’s got some exciting surprises. So we’re thrilled about a Season 3, and she’s got a vision for more.

DEADLINE: Anything else you’d like to add?

SANDERS: We’re gonna keep working at finding great content for this audience. We’re so excited about Gen V coming up, which we see signals that we might be able to bring some new young women to The Boys universe. And we have another great show coming up next year called My Lady Jane, which we’ve got high hopes for, for this audience. So we’re going to keep at it. It’s so important to us.

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