AMC has decided to scrap most of its unscripted shows in an effort to focus on its diminishing scripted portfolio, the network announced Thursday. The only unscripted shows that remain will be “The Walking Dead” aftershow “Talking Dead” and Kevin Smith’s “Comic Book Men.”
"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," an AMC spokesman 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 news was expected given the recent series finale of “Breaking Bad” and the impending 2015 conclusion of “Mad Men,” two of the cable network’s biggest shows. The unscripted shows were meant to replace theatrical features that AMC aired during primetime. While the movies, which remain in AMC’s lineup, maintained a steady 18-49 demographic, its newer unscripted shows took more time, money and resources to do the same. The only exception was “Comic Book Men,” which has more than 1 million viewers per episode, Variety reports.
The announcement has an immediate effect on recently renewed “Game of Arms,” “Small Town Security” and “Freak Show.” Three unscripted programs in development, two with Kevin Smith and one with “Talking Dead” host Chris Hardwick, have also been abandoned.
AMC has a 10-person staff in New York and L.A. dedicated to unscripted programming. The cable network says there will be some staff reductions in the department after it refocuses on scripted content, Hollywood Reporter reports.
AMC first started producing unscripted content in 2011 with the docuseries “Inside The DHS” and “The Pitch.” “Comic Book Men” was launched in 2012. But with AMC largely known for its breakout hits “Breaking Bad,” “Mad Men” and “The Walking Dead,” the network struggled to find success with its unscripted shows. The two that remain bank their fanbase on “The Walking Dead” and its 18-49 demographic.
The cable network said that it is increasing spending on scripted shows. Some programming in development includes Middle Eastern drama “White City,” straight-to-series martial arts show “Badlands,” sci-fi drama “Humans” and an unnamed companion to “The Walking Dead.” Comic-book-inspired “Preacher,” produced and written by Seth Rogen, and the Civil Rights-era drama “Bombingham” are also in the works.