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AMC remaking ‘The Prisoner’

Cable network to produce remake of classic show

AMC is remaking 1960s sci-fi cult fave “The Prisoner.”

Cabler has come aboard to co-produce at least six episodes — billed as a modern-day reimagining of the TV series classic — with U.K.’s Sky One. Granada Intl. also produces.

AMC’s is the second adaptation in the works. Universal Pictures has set helmer Christopher Nolan to direct a feature version that Janet and David Peoples are scripting (Daily Variety, Aug. 11).

U has the film rights to the skein, while Granada has separate television rights. Like the planned skein, bigscreen pic is said to be a contemporized take on the 1967 thriller.

Bill Gallagher (“Conviction”) is writing the series, to be produced by Michelle Buck and Damien Timmer.

Production will begin next spring for a debut in both the U.S. and the U.K. in January 2008.

Original “Prisoner,” which ran for just 17 episodes, starred Patrick McGoohan as a government agent who resigns and is later kidnapped, given a new identity and placed on an isolated island known as the Village.

AMC execs were tightlipped regarding details of the updated version but said it will similarly involve themes of paranoia and deal with sociopolitical issues.

What the new show won’t be is an exact replica of the original.

“The show isn’t just a re-creation,” said Rob Sorcher, AMC exec veep of programming and production. “What we’re doing is an entirely new reinterpretation that stays true to the components of the McGoohan (show)’s vision.”

New series will revolve around a man who awakes in the Village with no memory of how he arrived. Episodes will follow how he tries to make sense of his new environment, in which inhabitants are under constant surveillance, identified by number and sans any recollection of how they got to the island.

Net exec VP-general manager Charlie Collier said “Prisoner” reps yet another niche AMC is looking to explore in a weekly series. Hope is for skein to complement sci-fi movies like “Independence Day” that already rate well on the channel.

“We want to find series that showcase specific genres, but also bring a new light and feel to them,” Collier said.

AMC has already put its spin on Westerns (“Broken Trail”), capers (“Hustle”) and, soon, period drama (“Mad Men”). Cabler is also working on a pilot for a crime drama with a twist: Vince Gilligan’s “Breaking Bad” centers on a high school chemistry teacher who starts to manufacture crystal meth (Daily Variety, Nov. 13).

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