×
You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

Cabler AMC to build on drama success

Eclectic new slate includes two Westerns

Fresh off multiple Golden Globe noms for “Mad Men,” AMC is looking to build on its recent critical success with an eclectic series development slate that includes two Westerns, a drama from the exec producer of “24” and an hour from Mandalay’s Peter Guber.

According to AMC’s Christina Wayne, veep of scripted series and miniseries, net will pick up a pilot in January from among projects that have already been in the works; a second pilot, from this batch of development, will be greenlit in the spring, assuming the writers strike is resolved.

The goal is to add one new series to AMC’s stable in 2009, alongside “Mad Men,” which returns next year for its second season, and frosh entry “Breaking Bad,” which bows in January.

Projects include “Fort Smith,” from “24” exec producer Robert Cochran. Western revolves around Isaiah Parker, who polices the Five Points — comprised of five different Indian tribes — with his posse in the lawless post-Civil War West.

Another Western also in the works, from Allison Anders and Terry Graham, centers on Comanche leader Quanah Parker, who fights the U.S. Army for the rights to his tribe’s land.

Mandalay’s Guber and Elizabeth Stephens are behind the quirky drama “Uninvited Guest.” Penned by “Less Than Zero” screenwriter Harley Peyton, project follows a character who suffers from multiple personality disorder.

Then there’s “Greenfields,” written by playwright Nicky Silver (“Raised in Captivity”). Drama revolves around a psychiatrist who breaks his patient out of jail.

Wayne said the critical and cultural success of “Mad Men” has taught AMC execs an important lesson in programming.

“What we’ve learned is going with our gut works,” she said.

According to Wayne, AMC’s series will remain balanced between genre stories (such as Westerns, given the success of miniseries “Broken Trail,” or period pieces) and what she calls “curveballs” (think “Breaking Bad”).

The latter “are stories that just capture us when we heard them,” she said. “We’re willing to take risks on material that feels cinematical to us. They feel like one-hour movies to us, instead of TV shows.”

Tone and pacing will continue to distinguish AMC series from other skeins, Wayne said.

“A lot of writers are happily surprised when they get (script) notes from us,” she said. “We say things like, ‘You can slow things down.’ We want audiences to connect with characters so they feel invested in their lives. And we don’t need everything to happen in the pilot.”

While AMC will try to build on “Mad Men” with “Breaking Bad,” don’t look for a flood of original series programming from the cabler.

“Breaking Bad” will be the only new series AMC launches in 2008, with a second season of “Mad Men” on tap once the WGA strike wraps.

“We’re not in the volume business,” Wayne said. “At most, three series at a time will be on our channel. We’re purposely not doing five shows at once so that we can really get involved in the production of the shows.”

Following up on smash hit “Broken Trail,” Wayne also expects to greenlight another miniseries early next year, producing it next for airing in 2009.

“We’re definitely still moving forward in the miniseries department. We’ll probably do one every year and a half,” she said.

A correction was made to this article on Dec. 21, 2007.

More TV

  • Dom Delport

    Vice Swings to Profit in the U.K., Eyes International Partnerships

    After a tumultuous period involving harassment scandals, job losses and restructuring, Vice has registered a small profit in the U.K., according to the company’s latest results. The uptick is welcome news for Vice as its new international boss, Dominique Delport, scopes out new production and partnership possibilities for the company’s content business. The U.K. was [...]

  • Stephen Colbert

    Stephen Colbert Mocks Former CBS Chief Leslie Moonves on 'Late Show'

    Leslie Moonves was known to take an active dislike of David Letterman making fun of him during that host’s tenure on CBS’ “The Late Show.” He probably isn’t enjoying being mentioned by Stephen Colbert either. Colbert used his monologue on Tuesday’s broadcast to poke fun at the former CBS Corp. CEO, who yesterday learned that [...]

  • Ruth Wilson and Idris Elba'Luther Series

    'Luther' Creator Neil Cross Working on Show's Movie Version, Idris Elba Says

    A movie version of crime series “Luther” is moving forward, with writer-creator Neil Cross working on the script, the show’s star Idris Elba confirmed at the launch of Season 5 in London. “We are really advancing on getting a movie version [of the show] up on the screen,” Elba said. “Neil is beavering away on [...]

  • THE VOICE -- "Blind Auditions" --

    TV News Roundup: NBC Announces Midseason Premiere Dates

    In today’s roundup, NBC reveals midseason premiere dates for six shows, including “The Voice.” DATES  NBC has announced midseason premiere dates for four returning and two new series. “The Voice” will air Feb. 25 at 8 p.m. ET/PT, Feb. 26 at 8 p.m., and March 5 at 8 p.m. It will return April 23 at 8 [...]

  • Penny Marshall Dead Obit

    Remembering Penny Marshall, Who Forged Her Own Path and Paved the Way for Others

    She was a natural comedian — fearless and funny, willing to trade on her natural Bronx brogue to craft a sassy and street-wise character that was tailor-made for sitcoms. But Penny Marshall, who died Monday night at the age of 75, proved throughout her long career that she had so much more in the way [...]

  • David Rhodes CBS News

    CBS News Faces New Challenges in Weeks Ahead

    At CBS News, President David Rhodes has a series of important decisions to make that could affect the trajectories of some of TV’s best-known news programs. As its parent company seeks to move forward from recent seismic events – the ouster of its former CEO, Leslie Moonves; a corporate probe into its workplace culture; and [...]

  • European Union Placeholder

    Europe, Hollywood Hail Landmark E.U. Territorial Licensing Agreement

    Industry organizations and major companies in Europe and Hollywood welcomed Tuesday a high-level European Union agreement that in large part preserves producers’ ability to sell movies and TV shows on an exclusive territory-by-territory basis. Territorial licensing is a financial backbone of the film and TV business in Europe. Recognition of such licensing came last Thursday in [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content