After lengthy negotiations, AMC and Sony Pictures Television have closed a deal to develop Garth Ennis and Steve Dillon’s controversial 1990s comic book series Preacher as a drama series. The project will be written/executive produced by This Is the End writers/directors Seth Rogen and Evan Goldberg, with Sam Catlin (Breaking Bad) serving as executive producer/showrunner and Original Films’ Neal Moritz and Vivian Cannon also executive producing. Despite speculation, there are no plans for Rogen to have an onscreen presence at this time. Preacher follows Reverend Jesse Custer, a tough Texas preacher who has lost his faith, has learned that God has left Heaven and abandoned His responsibilities. He finds himself the only person capable of tracking God down, demanding answers, and making Him answer for His dereliction of duty. Accompanying Jesse on his journey is his former girlfriend and a friendly vampire who seems to prefer a pint in the pub to the blood of the innocent. On his tail is an immortal, unstoppable killing machine named the Saint of Killers – a western lone gunman archetype whose sole purpose is to hunt and kill Jesse. “This is a great piece of material for AMC, and we’re thrilled to begin working with the creative team behind it to make another iconic AMC series,” said the network’s EVP Joel Stillerman. AMC is looking to repeat the success of another series based on an edgy comic, The Walking Dead. For Rogen and Goldberg, the deal marks the end of a long journey. “We’ve tried for seven years to work on Preacher and we’re so psyched AMC is finally letting us,” the two said. “It is our favorite comic of all time, and we’re going to do everything we can to do it right. Humperdoo!”
Ennis also reflected on Preacher’s long development path that stretched 16 years and a slew of incarnations: feature films, series and miniseries with various auspices. (HBO took a stab at developing it as a series with Mark Steven Johnson seven years ago). “Steve Dillon and I are very happy to see Preacher being developed for TV, which seems a much more natural home for the story than a 2-hour movie,” Ennis said. “Obviously it’s taken a while, but Ken Levin along with Neal Moritz and his team refused to give up, long after the point when I myself grew skeptical, and their unrelenting enthusiasm for the project has gotten us where we need to be. I’m particularly impressed that Seth Rogen, Evan Goldberg and Sam Catlin understand Preacher fully — meaning they get it for what it is, not some vague approximation,” Ennis said, noting that he and Dillon had been involved in the creative conversation for the TV series. The 1995-2000 comic series Preacher, from DC’s Vertigo imprint, quickly achieved a cult status while also creating controversy with its dark and violent content. In addition to Rogen and Goldberg (through Point Grey Pictures), Catlin, Moritz and Cannon, Preacher is exec produced by Ori Marmur, Ken Levin and Jason Netter.