Cabler hopes to replicate success of 'Talking Dead' with 'Talking Bad'
As dozens of networks try to lure ad dollars to a bevy of new and renewed shows, AMC is testing another method: drawing attention to its burgeoning slate of “after-shows.”
The network best known for adventurous scripted series such as “Mad Men,” “Breaking Bad” and the hit zombie drama “The Walking Dead,” said Wednesday it would add a second “after-show” to support its broadcast of the final season of “Breaking Bad.”
AMC already airs “Talking Dead,” a live after-show that’s a forum for fans to discuss the much-watched “Walking Dead” series. The network unveiled the program during an announcement about its slate for the coming year, part of the annual upfront where networks try to sell the bulk of their ad inventory for the new TV season.
On the night of “Walking’s” season finale, April 2, “Talking” was the third most-watched program on cable, per Nielsen. “Walking Dead” was seen by 12.4 million people overall, Nielsen said, and its companion “Talking” was viewed by approximately 5.2 million.
A half-hour format, the live “Talking Bad” will debut at 11p.m. ET/PT Aug. 11, following an original episode of “Breaking Bad” at 9 p.m. and an original episode of new drama “Low Winter Sun” at 10 p.m., AMC said.
It will be produced by Michael Davies’ Embassy Row with Sony Pictures Television as the studio partner, the network said. “Breaking Bad’s” last season comprises eight episodes.
AMC also unveiled a slate of scripted in development. They include:
* “Ballistic City” — a futuristic drama from writer and executive producer Travis Beacham centered on a former cop who finds himself thrust into the criminal element of a city housed in a space ship headed for a new and unknown world. Steve Golin, Bard Dorros and Michael Sugar of Anonymous Content are also exec producers.
* “King” — from executive producers (and hosts of “Morning Joe” on MSNBC) Joe Scarborough and Mika Brzezinski. Show is set in the world of 1960s race politics. Diane Frolov and Andrew Schneider are writers and executive producers.
* “Ashland” — from writer and executive producer Allison Anders, Terry Graham and Shana Eddy. It’s set in a tiny Kentucky mining town in 1950.
* “White City” — from executive producer and former Viacom CEO Tom Freston, along with co-executive producers Nick McDonell and John Dempsey. The drama follows western diplomats and journalists living in Afghanistan.
AMC said it had three unscripted series in development.
“Majority Rules,” produced by All3 Media America, is a documentary style series that takes a light-hearted look at various elections, whether they be for political office or the president of the birdwatchers’ club. “All-Star Celebrity Bowling,” produced by High Noon Prods., shows celebrities taking part in bowling competitions for charity, and “Cancelled,” from Lion Television, shows six households competing for “ratings” for their self-documented reality programs.
AMC recently announced it had greenlit a pilot for “Geek Out,” an unscripted series that lets a so-called “super fan” go on an adventure connected to a favorite TV series, comicbook or other obsession.
In addition to launching the final season of “Breaking Bad” as well as the new “Low Winter Sun” on Aug. 11, AMC said it would launch unscripted series “Owner’s Manual” at 9 p.m. Aug. 15, and a season of advertising-competition show “The Pitch” at 10 p.m. Aug. 15. AMC said it had renewed “Talking Dead,” “Comic Book Men” and “Freakshow.”
AMC has signed up writer Rolin Jones to write and executive produce projects “specifically for the network.” Jones worked on HBO’s “Boardwalk Empire,” NBC’s “Smash” and Showtime’s “United States of Tara.”