'Killing' looking likely for second-season pickup

While it had a healthy development slate, AMC will not go forward with any pilots for the near future. But murder mystery “The Killing” is looking likely for a second-season pickup.

The cable network recently went through a bake-off, whereby writers pitched their creative vision to AMC execs and outlined where their stories would go over a season-long arc.

Unlike any other cabler, AMC has a history of greenlighting all its pilots to series. “Mad Men,” “Breaking Bad,” “Rubicon” and “The Killing” all got the go-ahead from AMC prexy Charlie Collier, who had confidence to give them full orders.

Up next is “Hell on Wheels,” about the Transcontinental Railroad.

Only exception was “The Walking Dead,” which landed a six-episode order without a pilot.

According to insiders, AMC is tamping down on pilots not because of any financial restraint. With “Hell on Wheels” on tap and all of its shows continuing except for the one-season-and-out “Rubicon” the slate is reaching a saturation point. The net only offers originals on Sunday nights.

Shows in development include “The Man With the Golden Ears,” from writer Scott Rosenberg, about a former big-time record executive trying to find the next music superstar while dealing with a tumultuous personal life; John Shiban’s “The Voyage,” where humans interact with an alien life form; and “The 4th Estate,” from writer and ex-MTV correspondent Gideon Yago, which centered on a journo who, while investigating a D.C., scandal finds his own life turned upside down.

Others scripts were “The Wreck,” “American Made” and an untitled racing project. Sources say “The Voyage” and the racing project, from exec producer Billy Gerber, will likely get a second look after soon retooling while the others are not likely to go forward.

“Breaking Bad” is set to launch its fourth season in July, “The Walking Dead” will preem its second season in October and “Mad Men” will likely begin again in 2012 following contentious negotiations among Lionsgate, AMC and showrunner Matthew Weiner. “The Killing,” from Fox Television Studios, premiered to 2.7 million viewers April 3 in its two-hour premiere and has been a steady performer. Sunday’s episode drew 2 million viewers.

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