Leading into the annual Upfront season AMC - the network and brand committed to delivering rich stories and characters that provide viewers something more - announces a robust development slate including numerous scripted drama projects, its first foray into scripted comedy, "overall" talent deals, and several new unscripted series.
The network's first scripted comedy project will be the greenlight of a pilot for We Hate Paul Revere. Written, executive produced and starring Ethan Sandler and Adrian Wenner (the duo worked together on My Boys and Whitney), We Hate Paul Revere tells the story of brothers Hugh and Ebenezer Moody and their struggle to find their place and the recognition they believe they deserve as they live in the shadow of history in Colonial Boston. We Hate Paul Revere is set to shoot in Q3'14 for consideration for 2015.
New creative relationships on drama and comedy projects include Chris Carter (The X-Files), Amy Lippman (Masters of Sex), Seth Rogen and Evan Goldberg (This Is the End), and John Leguizamo (Ice Age), to name a few.
AMC also announced the renewal of the unscripted series Comic Book Men which, in its third season, is averaging one million viewers (live + same day) and more than 720,000 adults 18-49 at midnight on Sunday nights. Building on the late night success of Comic Book Men, AMC is expanding its relationship with Kevin Smith to include the development of a late night project, "Hollywood Babble-On," starring Smith and his co-host of their wildly popular podcast, Ralph Garman, to be produced by Wilshire Studios (The Soup, Fashion Police) and executive produced by Kevin Smith, Ralph Garman and Gary Auerbach. Additionally, AMC is also working with Smith on the development of a docuseries featuring super-collector and Comic Book Men regular, Rob Bruce. Produced by Original Media, LLC and Smith's Smodcast Pictures, and executive produced by Daniel Laikind, Charlie Corwin, Elyse Seiden and Kevin Smith, Bruce and his fellow experts scour the country searching real estate sales, auction houses and flea markets on a quest to find rare items that will feed the needs of his demanding clients and add to Bruce's own colossal collection.
AMC also announced an overall deal with Dave Erickson (Sons of Anarchy), who in addition has been engaged to co-write, along with Robert Kirkman, and serve as an Executive Producer on the unnamed The Walking Dead companion series.
Here's what AMC president Charlie Collier had to say in a statement.
"2013 was by all meaningful measures the most successful year in AMC's history and we are building on this momentum in every imaginable way. AMC is introducing more hours of original programming and the most robust, diverse development slate in our network's history. Unwavering is our commitment to the eclectic, quality dramatic series that have come to define our brand and to the unconventional unscripted worlds we love to explore. And today we also happily dive head-first into our first-ever scripted comedy pilot. It is a personal point of pride for all of us to be working with a roster of such creative, talented and successful professionals, many of whom are entrusting us with personal passion projects. We appreciate their confidence and look forward to working collaboratively to bring their visions to fruition."
AMC's executive vice president Joel Stillerman also released the following statement.
"We're very excited to continue our growth in original programming over the coming year. Along with some great new dramas, and our growing slate of unscripted series; we'll be expanding our brand of unexpected and unconventional original programming into scripted comedy. As always, we'll continue to look for unique creative voices to pair with passionate audiences through stories you'd never expect to see on television. We've got some terrific comedy projects in development, and are thrilled that we'll be making our first comedy pilot this year. In We Hate Paul Revere, we'll explore the characters that history forgot. For more than 200 years, Paul Revere has had a pretty good ride. It's about time someone took him down a peg!"
Below are details of today's announcements:
Scripted Drama Development
Note: All show titles are Working Titles
Based on the NY Times best-seller "Area 51: An Uncensored History of America's Top Secret Military Base" by Annie Jacobson. A contemporary conspiracy thriller revealing the true story behind the infamous Area 51, America's most mysterious military installation.
Writer and Executive Producer: Michael Tolkin (The Player); Executive Producers: Josh Appelbaum, André Nemec, Scott Rosenberg & Jeff Pinkner
A dark comedic tale of Ollie, a big-box store security guard, who is secretly recruited by an NSA-like organization. Starting as an observer, a person who can see everything by manipulating our electronic devices, Ollie will rise to power in hopes of changing the system but will ultimately compromise his intentions.
Writer and Executive Producer: Tom Kelly (Blue Bloods, Copper); Co-Production with Endemol Studios
Based on the French series, "Les Hommes De L'Ombre," "Kingmakers" follows a former campaign manager forced to get back into politics when his friend and current gubernatorial candidate is assassinated during a campaign speech. This series marks the first project in AMC's overall deal with Kelly.
Writer and Executive Producer: Alexander Woo (True Blood); Executive Producer: Aaron Kaplan of Kapital Entertainment
The fragile peace in present day Birmingham, Alabama is shattered when a murderer from 1963 is discovered and buried demons from the Civil Rights Era resurface.
Based on Mary Doria Russell's acclaimed science-fiction epic, The Sparrow tells the story of a Jesuit-led mission to make first contact with an alien race.
Writer and Executive Producer: Jan Oxenberg (Once and Again); Executive Producers: David Shore and Erin Gunn of Shore Z and Wendy Riche (Laguna Beach: The Real Orange County); Co-production with Sony Pictures Television
This drama follows Dinah, a commitment-phobic artist and the world's most unlikely caregivers she cobbles together an unusual and very modern family when she moves in with her boyfriend, his daughter, and her estranged father Jerry (who has early onset Alzheimers). Although Dinah thinks she is saving Jerry by taking him in, Jerry's unusual perspective on the world ends up saving Dinah, and the rest of the family.
Writer and Executive Producer Amy Lippman (Masters of Sex, Party of Five)
Paradise Lost is the story of a group of friends who withdraw from society to create a new, more positive community in which to raise their families - but at what cost?
First Look Development
AMC's first-look deal with Ridley Scott's Scott Free has yielded the previously-announced pilot Galyntine, from Greg Nicotero (The Walking Dead, This Is the End, Oz: The Great and Powerful, Transformers) and Jason Cahill (The Sopranos, Halt & Catch Fire, Fringe, Surface, Profiler), which is currently in pre-production, and the previously-announced development project Raiders, from writer and executive producer, Evan Wright (Generation Kill). Today, AMC announced the addition of pilot script supervising and executive producer John McNamara to Raiders, as well as another project from the first-look deal:
Executive Producers: Ridley Scott and David W. Zucker of Scott Free
AMC has optioned the book, "Strange Angel: The Otherworldly Life of Rocket Scientist John Whiteside Parsons" by George Pendle, based on the life of Jim Parsons, a brilliant rocket scientist and co-founder of the Jet Propulsion Laboratory. While a pioneer in research that had only recently been dreamed up in science fiction, his bright future gave way to ruin as Parsons headed down another, darker path into the occult community of mid-century Los Angeles.
AMC's overall deal with Stacey Sher and Michael Shamberg's Double Feature Films has yielded a project in development:
A grounded take on exorcism by exploring everyday evil in an idyllic midwestern town.
Scripted Comedy Development
Untitled John Leguizamo Project
Writer, Executive Producer and Star: John Leguizamo (Ice Age); Writer and Executive Producer: Salvatore Stabile (Revenge); Executive Producers: Jeff Golenberg and Sam Maydew of Silver Lining Entertainment
Drawing inspiration from John's real life, this half hour follows a group of men in Queens, The Bronx and upper Manhattan wrestling with careers, relationships, family, ambition, and getting older.
No Money Down
Writer, Executive Producer and Star: Wyatt Cenac (The Daily Show); Executive Producers: Eric Fellner, Tim Bevan and Liza Chasin of Working Title; Co-Executive Producer: Daniel Pipski of Working Title
The comedy series follows a guy who bottoms out and begins working at an Austin car dealership with a variety of personalities.
Writer and Executive Producer: Andrea Abbate (based on her play of the same name); Executive Producers: Todd Holland and Karey Burke of Dark Toy Entertainment and Kenton Allen of Big Talk Productions
As single girls in their early 30's, Katie and Lisa work through issues with relationships, family, and growing up. As contract killers in Echo Park, Katie and Lisa work through issues with drug lords, crooked cops and unpaid debts.
Writers and Executive Producers: Danny Comden ("Pretty Persuasion") and Barry Schwartz; Executive Producers: Seth Rogen, Evan Goldberg and James Weaver (This Is the End) of Point Grey Pictures
Jonesy, a loveably washed up pro surfer turned sober coach works to help Jason, the privileged, ne'er-do-well son of a wealthy industrialist. Together 24-7 in a sort of arranged marriage, the two will come to rely on one another since as of yesterday, Jonesy isn't exactly sober.
AMC also announced that the network has optioned three books for scripted drama series development including:
Somewhere East of Life
Author: Brian Aldiss
Set in the near future, this book tells the story of a man as he tries to reclaim his identity after having the last ten years of his memories stolen.
Serialized, exploratory novel for iPad and iPhone created by: Eli Horowitz, Matthew Derby and Kevin Moffett; Executive Producer: Amy Lippman (Masters of Sex, Party of Five)
Chronicling a generation of children born without the ability to communicate.
Note: All show titles are Working Titles.
Untitled Billy Corgan Wrestling Project
Smashing Pumpkins lead singer Billy Corgan pulls back the curtains on the pro-wrestling world as he takes over creative direction for the independent wrestling company Resistance Pro.
Produced by Richard Devinki Productions, LLC and Red Hot Poker Productions in association with Sony Pictures Television, Executive Producers: Anne Clements and Mike Wittlin
A comedic docu-soap following tough guys and lifelong friends Ralph Rubino and Nicky D'Angelo, as they hit the streets to launch an old fashioned soda pop company, Bronx Pop.
Produced by Custom Redtail Partners, LLC (The Devil's Ride); Executive Producers: Chris Burke, Jared Cotton and Steve Stockman
A docuseries that takes a gritty, no holds barred look at life for both the inmates and the employees of the Pierce County Jail in Tacoma, Washington.
This broad development slate joins other projects currently in development including the pilots for Knifeman, (Rolin Jones - United States of Tara, Friday Night Lights, Weeds, Low Winter Sun) and Galyntine (Jason Cahill (The Sopranos, Halt & Catch Fire, Fringe, Surface, Profiler - and Greg Nicotero (The Walking Dead, This Is the End, Oz: The Great and Powerful, Transformers)) which are currently in pre-production, and Preacher, which is currently being written by Seth Rogen and Evan Goldberg (who together worked on This Is the End, Pineapple Express, Superbad) and developed by AMC and Sony Pictures Television.