AP Television Writer
LOS ANGELES (AP) -- Titus Welliver knows what it's like to wait for a pilot's fate to be decided, but this time around is different: Viewers are among the decision-makers, and he's the star of the show.
"Bosch," based on Michael Connelly's novels about Los Angeles police Detective Harry Bosch, is one of two dramas being auditioned by Amazon for a full run. The other, from "The X-Files" creator Chris Carter, is the supernatural project "The After."
The episodes have been available free for a monthlong window that ends Sunday, with a decision by the online giant likely by the end of March, said Roy Price, director of Amazon Studios.
The light could turn green for one or both, Price said, without tipping his hand. It's also possible neither gets the go-ahead, although that appears less likely.
While it's as nerve-wracking as waiting for a decision from broadcast or cable executives, there is a comforting twist, Welliver said.
"The difference is that through social media I have a kind of ongoing dialogue with the fans who are really rallying to support the show so it becomes fully realized as a series," he said. "I can check in with them and say, 'How are we doing?'"
The father of three has support closer to home, too.
"My 8-year-old daughter nailed it for me," he said. "I was being contemplative the other day and ... she put her arms around my neck and said, 'Daddy, I know you love to play Bosch. But just stay calm.'"
His anxiety with the project started early. The actor, who has built a respected body of work in series ranging from "NYPD Blue" to "Deadwood" to "The Good Wife," began to fret over his unfamiliar leading-man responsibilities.
It was a friend, Laurence Fishburne, who came to his rescue after Welliver admitted he was concerned about carrying the pilot written by Connelly and executive producer Eric Overmyer ("Treme").
Fishburne "kind of laughed and said, 'It's what you do, it's what we do. ... You work a few more hours than you usually do, but it's the same work,'" Welliver recounted.
To hear Connelly tell it, the character and Welliver are a custom fit. In fact, it was the writer himself who suggested Welliver for the part.
Connelly already was familiar with his work. But when he happened to catch him in the Kiefer Sutherland series "Touch," he envisioned Welliver inhabiting the character he has written since 1992's "The Black Echo" and nearly every year since.
"He played a guy very much unlike Harry Bosch, but he was a guy who carried a lot of stuff inside and a lot of it was trauma from previously in his life," Connelly said. "He was able to project that without having to talk about it."
Viewers have embraced Welliver's casting and "really feel he has brought Bosch to life in a perfect way," said Amazon Studios' Price.
In making its decision about the dramas, Amazon is weighing such opinions, along with the number of viewers who have watched the show and how they rate it. The same approach was used to launch the comedies "Alpha House" and "Betas," along with several children's shows.
By Thursday, "Bosch" had drawn just shy of 9,800 reviews with an average 4.5-star rating, while "The After" had 10,400-plus reviews with a 4 rating.
Market research generated by Amazon.com Inc.'s sales helped decide the pilots to be tested, which include a two "dramadies" now in customers' hands.
"We have a lot of fans on Amazon of Chris Carter and sci-fi in general, and also of Michael Connelly and Bosch and Eric Overmyers' work," said Price. "These are elements that Amazon customers have been responding to in one form or another, either books or previous television work."
Welliver considers the approach smart and audience-friendly.
"With this, you're empowering the subscribers. They will, ultimately, be paying for this," the actor said.
Lynn Elber is a national television columnist for The Associated Press. She can be reached at email@example.com and on Twitter @lynnelber.
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