AMC Scraps Second Season of ‘Game of Arms,’ Other Shows as Cabler Reconsiders Unscripted Genre

Game of Arms Renewed AMC

AMC has scrapped plans for the second season of “Game of Arms” and the three new unscripted series it ordered in May as the cabler beats a retreat out of the reality genre to redouble its focus on scripted development.

“Comic Book Men” and “Talking Dead” are the only current unscripted shows that will continue as AMC pulls out of the genre to plow its resources into developing more scripted programming.

“Scripted originals are at the core of the AMC brand. Iconic shows like ‘Mad Men,’ ‘Breaking Bad’ and ‘The Walking Dead’ have driven AMC’s evolution into a must-have television network,” AMC said in a statement. “We are proud of our efforts in unscripted programming and the unique worlds we have been able to introduce, but in an environment of exploding content options for viewers, we have decided to make scripted programming our priority.”

The move amounts to a big about-face after AMC just last month renewed its arm-wrestling show “Game of Arms” and in May ordered three reality series: “All-Star Celebrity Bowling,” an untitled wrestling project produced by Billy Corgan and “Visionaries,” about a scenic design firm in Hollywood.

“4th and Loud,” a docu series about the Los Angeles arena football league team owned by Gene Simmons and Paul Stanley, is about to wrap up its initial run and will not be back.

AMC has at least eight to 10 execs overseeing unscripted development, headed by senior VP Eliot Goldberg. It’s not immediately clear what happens to them but it’s likely that there will be staff reductions. Given that some of the shows were far along in product and pre-production, it’s possible some of them could land at other outlets.

AMC’s withdrawal from unscripted programming comes on the same day that word surfaced of USA Network’s plan to back away from scripted comedy development, as reported by Deadline. The moves reflect the growing financial pressure on the largest cablers as they grapple with audience erosion, rising costs and shifting viewing patterns.

With programming and marketing resources become more scarce, it’s harder for even the biggest cablers to branch out behind their well-established strongholds because it takes so much money and time to spread the word to viewers. AMC’s early unscripted efforts included 2012’s “The Pitch,” a show designed to pair with “Mad Men,” about advertising agencies in the thick of pitching campaigns to clients.

At one time, AMC saw unscripted series as an eventual replacement for the theatrical features that still comprise a significant amount of the cabler’s schedule. But movies surprisingly continue to deliver steady 18-49 ratings while the unscripted shows were slow builds, for the most part. “Comic Book Men” has been the exception, drawing more than 1 million viewers per episode in Live Plus 3 ratings.

AMC also has been increasing its spending on scripted development, as it prepares for the end of “Mad Men” next year. It is fielding more pilots and series in the coming development cycle than ever before.

The range of scripted development includes “White City,” a Middle Eastern drama directed by Stephen Gaghan; a “Walking Dead” companion series; a straight-to-series order for martial arts vehicle “Badlands”; a co-production with the U.K.’s Channel 4 on sci-fi drama “Humans.” It also has hot prospects in the comic book inspired “Preacher” and the Civil Rights-era drama “Bombingham.”

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  1. Gary Evans says:

    CRAP!! I was really looking forward to a second season.

  2. matt says:

    You are a bunch of overpaid idoits…… your scripted shows suck, people watch AMC for the movies and cool stuff like arm wrestling. Stop following the crowd and blaze the trails like Americans.

  3. J says:

    That was the best show on AMC!!!!

  4. Andy says:

    That’s why I got rid of AMC

  5. mill says:

    This is freaking crazy, I loved this show, it was new and refreshing. I really wanting to see the second season. Please reconsider scarpping Game of Arms, it gave me a reason to watch AMC besides of Walking Dead!

  6. Richard Wright Sr. says:

    What happened to AMC? You used to be competition with TCM? This is what AMC meant, AMERICAN MOVIE CLASSICS. You now show everything but the classics. You need to rethink your ROOTS!!! I now only watch Turner Classics and FX Classics, and occasionally something on RETRO, you need to go back to your original format!!! Many of your older audience like the older shows, with less filth and profanity. Thanks for listening.

  7. Shaun says:

    Well that’s shitty.. Was hoping for a second season.. Bring it back!!

  8. Curtis says:

    What a loss, Game of Arms was great. I have been waiting to see the 2nd season for what seemed like forever. Big mistake by AMC.

  9. nick says:

    To bad, game of arms was awesome.. no more AMC for me

  10. Chris says:

    I was waiting for Game of Arms… only thing worth watching on AMC.

  11. Maggie says:

    I really wanted All Star Celebrity Bowling. I loved it on Nerdist’s channel on Youtube.

  12. barubilly says:

    Please bring it back

  13. Amc is worthless without game of arms. Who ever is in charge needs to be smacked

  14. Todd martin says:

    Scrapping game of arms was
    a huge mistake!!! Only show thag made me watch without fail weekly on AMC! I hate amc for doing this!

  15. william finch says:

    That sucks…My family and me have been waiting for the 2 season… Bad move

    • mill says:

      I do to, this really pissed me off, because I have been waiting for the second season sinced the first season ended!

  16. John cones says:

    Big mistake scrapping this show. You had compelling characters with flaws, obsessions, courage, and redemption. they experienced triumph and loss within the confines of the arm wrestling arena and also their everyday life. It was a subculture that I never knew existed and it was fascinating. The comic book show is terrible in comparison. AMC needs to get a clue!

  17. Paul Rendeiro says:

    Game of arms is a great show I was really looking foward to the next season. I hope you guys reconsider keepING shows like that too. It real and I really go out of my way to watch them.

  18. Judah XII says:

    You dumb ass network. …you’re not supposed to get rid of the good shows… Ughh I actually liked that show! Can someone else pick up the show please. All these dumb ass reality shows and you get rid of the good one? Sure that makes sense

  19. damn you amc. i was looking forward to ‘arms’! dam it

  20. stephen says:

    I really enjoyed game of arms! Highlight viewing of the week. Bring it back!!

  21. buddy says:

    Nooooooooooo! I love game of arms because its “real” and very intertaining. one of the only shows ive bought the entire season of. Damn it!

  22. I am VERY disappointed that there will be ” No 2nd Season of *Game of Arms”. When I was 14 I ” Found?/Bought” a Book all about Arm Wrestling & found a Friend who was as interested as myself in developing the “Skill Set” Described in the Book- Which we did. By 18 I earned a Mongkon in Muay Thai and if it had been more practical I would have Arm Wrestled Professionally. I am now 40 and my 30 Yr Old Brother has defeated me only 1 time Arm Wrestling- He is a DEDICATED “Free Weight Strength Trainer”, However, My Strength comes from a “Very Diverse Set of Skills”. I am 6 Ft /180lbs- He is 6’2 /230 But I have Greater “Arm Speed & Hand Strength”- We are “Close” So, We don’t “Fight”- I am Fairly Certain that He would NOT Last very long, “in an Octagon For Example!!……. ***PLEASE BRING BACK “GAME OF ARMS”- ASAP/***MUCH TV IS “WORTHLESS” By COMPARISON! ( I will be Riding my DUCATI in the Mean Time)!

  23. Dale says:

    Hurray for AMC! Reality TV is always so staged and edited it’s nauseating . . and NOT Real.

  24. Kristi says:

    Have been wait listed over 20 times trying to get 1 ticket to Talking Dead. Been trying every season. Way to treat cancer stricken Emmy voter AMC and 1iota.

  25. tony says:

    There’s that word again. Cabler. Someone who lays cables. Does AMC lay cables? I’m not sure it does.

  26. Mike says:

    Thanks AMC! For starting to drop this dreck, I say thank you. Recently I zapped into some “reality?” show on another cable channel that featured three sets of “reality show” viewers as they sat watching… wait for it…”reality shows!
    I pulled up a Sorkin show on DVR and was better off by doing so.

    • Mike, I generally don’t care for “Reality TV Shows” either- However, IMNSHO “Game of Arms” Is/Was a Good “Program/SHOW”. If However, you are some “English/Poli-Science MAJOR TYPE” who has never Competed in any “Extremely Physical” ACTIVITY then Perhaps you should Refrain from Commenting “HERE”!!- There is a Plethora of Other Places for you & the Chick who Left a “Negative Comment”- GOOGLE “Ellen Degeneras” for instance. If you ACTUALLY LIKE ” “ZOMBIE FICTION” then Stay with AMC- I AM CHECKING OUT……………. Cj

  27. Carolyn Scott says:

    Thank God! Let’s rediscover great writing and production value, shall we?

  28. John says:

    We love game of Arms. It’s the only show I watched.

  29. Crystal Taylor says:

    I think y’all are stupid for dropping game of arms this season. Y’all just don’t realize how big this show is about to get….big mistake!!

  30. E. Quivocator says:

    It’s surprising that nothing has really taken root under the decisive leadership and strong creative vision of Eliot Goldberg.

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