Anne Rice and AMC Networks: Bloody Good Deal

AMC Networks
Variety Intelligence Platform

AMC Networks has acquired the rights to a pair of Anne Rice scare-tastic fiction series (18 titles total), a potent pairing of top-shelf intellectual property with a brand that is the right home for her fanboy-friendly horror stylings.

This is a big deal for AMC Networks

As a small TV production-distribution combo dwarfed by much bigger, competitors, securing name-brand IP matters. As the streaming wars bring a glut of top-tier content buyers to the marketplace that threaten to drown out brands that can’t match content firepower, this is a show from one of the smaller players that they have no intention of ducking the fight. This is the kind of content you expect Netflix or HBO to land.

AMC and Rice pair nicely

With “The Walking Dead,” AMC has demonstrated an ability to execute just the kind of horror-flavored mega-franchise Rice wants to launch. What the company has learned about nurturing this zombie brand will be put to good use. Note she also tucks in nicely alongside other similar properties in the AMC portfolio, i.e. the Shudder streaming network, where she can be marketed to a targeted niche.

AMC can really use a hit ASAP

Aside from the never-ending legal nightmare that hangs over the company over profits from its reigning hit, the only other downside to the “Dead” success, it’s the long shadow it has cast over all subsequent programming; the network simply has not been able to generate a hit anywhere near as comparable for far too long. Pre-branded IP like Rice is the safest path to recapturing the magic. Every little bit helps AMC, which still seems destined to be acquired eventually as the media space consolidates.

Anne Rice has enormous potential to pop big again

The development hell where Rice’s books have been trapped in recent years might actually be of benefit; it’s always good to let the field lie fallow for a while to whet appetites. Fans who miss great characters like the vampire Lestat will be hungrier than ever. We’re culturally due for a fresh wave of appreciation for this author, and the depth of creative to mine between “The Vampire Chronicles” and “The Lives of the Mayfair Witches” could be a bona fide cinematic universe (or at least one good hit series).

Get ready for buzz to build

Who will step into the Lestat role Tom Cruise made famous (“Interview With a Vampire”)? What showrunner will be tapped to lead the execution? If we ever get back around to hosting virus-free Comic-Cons again, Rice will be a big draw.