AMC’s ‘Wrong’ turn

Cabler unveils original slate aimed at young

NEW YORK — AMC has put together the most ambitious slate of original series, specials and documentaries in its history, led by “The Wrong Coast,” a weekly animated half-hour that will make fun of movies, TV and pop culture.

“Now that we’ve replaced many of our older viewers with younger ones, we’re looking to create definitional programming,” said senior VP of programming and production Rob Sorcher.

AMC only started interrupting its programming with 30-second ad spots on Oct. 1, so the network is keeping its programming expenses relatively low for the time being: Sorcher said there’ll be no scripted sitcoms, drama series or original movies for the immediate future.

AMC spent a modest $72.4 million in 2002 and a projected $77.4 million in 2003, according to Kagan World Media. Movie purchases account for the bulk of these costs.

To appeal more to baby boomers than to adults 50 and older, AMC has made a conscious effort over the last few years to phase out movies from the 1930s through the ’60s, many of them in black and white, and buy more recent titles.

“The Wrong Coast,” Sorcher said, will use stop-motion animation to juxtapose oddball blends such as “Spider-Man” directed by, and starring, Woody Allen; a cop movie-cum-romantic comedy titled “When Dirty Harry Met Sally”; and “Snow White” as conceived by Quentin Tarantino. “The Wrong Coast” kicks off in primetime April 2.

Reality ‘Welcome’ mat

The second weekly half-hour series is “Welcome to Hollywood,” a reality show that uses hidden cameras to follow a virtual unknown through the process of becoming a celebrity, from “red-carpet appearances and on-camera interviews to photo ops and publicity stunts.” Show premieres in June.

Monthly series “The AMC Project,” which also preems in June, will serve as a showcase for documentaries such as the following:

  • “Fame: The New Reality,” which follows five ordinary Joes who latch on to fleeting notoriety by serving as contestants on broadcast primetime reality shows like “Survivor” and “Big Brother.”

  • “Gay Hollywood,” a two-hour report that will train cameras on five homosexual men as they go about trying to make it in Hollywood.

  • “Hollywood & the Muslim World,” a two-hour piece that visits eight countries in the Middle East to discuss how Arabs perceive the U.S. through American movies and TV shows.

AMC has commissioned other specials separate from “The AMC Project” umbrella, including the following:

  • “Hell Up in Hollywood,” an analysis of the blaxploitation trend in action movies of the 1970s, produced by Kevin Burns for Prometheus Entertainment and Fox TV Studios.

  • “Hollywood High,” a docu about the portrayal of drug addiction in the movies, supplied by Radical Media (Michael Bonfiglio and Bruce Sinofsky).

  • “Hollywood Celebrates Denzel Washington: An American Cinematheque Tribute,” a one-hour black-tie affair hosted by Jamie Foxx and exec produced by Robert Dalrymple.

  • “Women on Top,” a one-hour docu on the glass ceiling featuring interviews with, among others, Laura Ziskin, Lauren Schuler Donner, Paula Wagner, Mimi Leder and Mira Nair, exec produced by Fenton Bailey and Randy Barbato.

  • “Sex @ 24 FPS: Sex Sells,” a two-hour report on the most sex-charged mainstream movies and what they say about the American psyche, also from Kevin Burns, Prometheus and Fox TV Studios.

Returning to AMC’s series, the exec producers of “The Wrong Coast” are Mark Hamill (who’ll do lots of voiceovers), animator Carl Paolino(MTV’s “Celebrity Deathmatch”) and comedy writer Bob Underwood.

For “Welcome to Hollywood,” Adam Rifkin and Tony Markesare executive producers for Dilecta Inc.

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