Mad Men

Reality fare gaining more emphasis at net whose former slogan was 'Story Matters Here'

AMC has a new story to tell – and it’s eliminating the word “story” from its promotional efforts to do so.

After using the tagline, “Story Matters Here” since 2009 to highlight its much-lauded move into high-quality scripted drama such as “Mad Men,” “Breaking Bad” and “The Walking Dead,” the cable Monday introduced a new slogan, “Something More.” The new marketing effort comes as AMC has expanded beyond scripted fare and gotten involved in reality programming –and even tapped syndicated programming to fill its schedule.

AMC’s schedule in the weeks ahead includes the return of “Mad Men” on April 7. This summer will be stockpiled with at least four originals, including the third season of “The Killing,” another season of “Hell on Wheels,” the final eight episodes of “Breaking Bad” and the debut of a new series, “Low Winter Sun.” The network is scheduled to hold an upfront presentation to advertisers April 17.

Cable networks appear to be altering their marketing taglines with greater frequency these days, as many of them strive to attract broader audiences. FX last week unveiled the mantra “Fearless.”

Once content to own narrow but sizable subject niches, the cablers are attempting to add to their territory. That’s why NBC Universal’s Bravo and E! are working on original scripted programming after relying on reality skeins, and why Time Warner’s TNT is adding unscripted fare like “Boston’s Finest” to its schedule, while it boasts of focusing solely on “Drama” (drama doesn’t just come packaged in one-hour scripted containers).

AMC’s new promotional effort debuted Sunday during the season finale of “The Walking Dead.” A new logo surrounds the cabler’s letters with a gold box designed to suggest, AMC said in a statement “both premium quality and popular appeal.”

The novelistic dramas for which AMC’s is best known have been leavened with reality programming. The entries include “Comic Book Men,” a look at the oddball goings on at film director Kevin Smith’s comics shop. The network is primed to unveil two new entries, “Owners Manual,” which pits two men against each other in the use of heavy machinery, and “Showville,” a competition program that scouts talent from small towns.

And don’t forget about AMC’s late-2011 pick up of “CSI Miami,” the CSI procedural that is focused more on tying up a storyline neatly within an hour’s time than it is on intricate plots and novelistic tale-telling that require multiple episodes to unspool.

At the root of all these maneuvers is generating broader viewership to jump-start ratings and collect more ad dollars, but also increasing demand so as to win higher programming feeds from cable and satellite distributors in future rounds of negotiations.

That’s “Something More” that both audience and investors can understand.

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