Network expands development slate

AMC is expanding its development slate, adding drama projects about diamond dealers and a mysterious magician to the roster.

“Carter Beats the Devil,” penned by Wesley Strick (“Mission: Impossible 2”), is based on the fanciful novel about 1920s magician Charles Carter and his role in the death of President Warren Harding. “Ice,” written by Christian Darren (“Hustle: The Pete Rose Story”), revolves around a family in New York’s diamond district.

The two projects mark a new round of development at the cabler, which has quickly made waves in the original series world thanks to critically acclaimed entries “Mad Men” and “Breaking Bad.”

AMC has already been developing several projects and plans to pick up two pilots by fall; “Carter” and “Ice” won’t be ready in time to be considered but will be part of AMC’s 2009 pilot plans.

“As we continue on with development, we definitely look for specific worlds that are distinctive and haven’t been seen on the TV screen before,” said AMC’s Christina Wayne, senior VP of scripted series and miniseries. “These two projects deliver on all of those things. When we go out into the community, we ask people if they have things that feel like a one-hour movie.”

Originally developed as a feature — with Tom Cruise rumored to be attached — “Carter” eventually made its way to the smallscreen under exec producers John Baldecchi and Rich Silverman (“The Mexican”), who are also developing the miniseries “Berlin Mesa” at the channel.

“Carter” is based on the book by Glen David Gold, who’s serving as a consultant.

“The world of magic is always intriguing, and we felt this could be an incredible landscape you haven’t seen on TV before,” Wayne said.

“Ice,” meanwhile, will be directed and exec produced by Vadim Perelman (“House of Sand and Fog”) and Mosaic’s Ilan Breil. New Frontier Films’ Evan Pinchuk is co-exec producer.

“There’s an old-fashioned crime aspect to this,” Wayne said. “The diamond industry has always been considered incredibly dangerous. This is a way to do a family drama set in a distinctive world.”

The second season of “Mad Men” bows July 27, while production on a second season for “Breaking Bad” begins next month.

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