Cabler beefs up scripted roster with 'Halt and Catch Fire,' 'Turn'

As its signature series wind down, AMC is looking to restock its drama series larder with pilot orders for drama pilots to its development slate.

The cabler on Tuesday greenlighted production on two period projects from its AMC Studios wing. The orders come just as AMC has completed production on two pilots ordered in May.

“Halt and Catch Fire,” from scribes Chris Cantwell and Chris Rogers and “Breaking Bad” producer Mark Johnson, is set in the early 1980s and revolves around the personal computing boom as seen through the eyes of three of its driving forces.

Set in 1778, “Turn” tells the story of a New York farmer who creates an unlikely group of spies that help turn the tide in the Revolutionary War effort. Project is based on the book “Washington’s Spies,” with the pilot penned by Craig Silverstein (“Nikita”) and also exec produced by Barry Josephson.

“Both of these projects take the audience into unique worlds through compelling characters told with an original voice. We are so fortunate to be working with such exceptional talent on both of these projects,” said Susie Fitzgerald, AMC’s senior veep of scripted development and current programming.

The orders for “Halt” and “Turn” indicate that AMC is focused on padding its scripted roster, particularly as “Mad Men” is set to begin its penultimate season in March and “Breaking Bad” will have its swan song next year.

Internal buzz at AMC is that the cabler is high on both of the pilots ordered earlier this year, particularly “Low Winter Sun,” a murder mystery set in Detroit that is based on a British miniseries. Filmmaker Richard LaGravenese and Tony Goldwyn shepherded the other pilot, an untitled political thriller.

It’s unclear how many series AMC intends to greenlight for 2013. But it may have an unexpected opening if “Hell on Wheels” does not return for a third season. The show’s renewal was put on hold earlier this month after showrunner John Shiban opted to ankle the oater.

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