The Fox-Disney quips were flying at the top of the AMC portion of the winter TCA as former Fox Entertainment president David Madden made his first appearance as President of Original Programming for AMC. It was only two months after Madden left Fox Broadcast Co. to go to AMC that word started circulating about Disney trying to acquire key assets of 21st Century Fox, a deal that is now going through regulatory approvals.
AMC Networks president Charlie Collier introduced Madden as “the only guy at Fox not named Murdoch who saw the Disney thing coming.”
Madden himself reminisced of the last time he was on the TCA stage as Fox Entertainment president sitting alongside his former bosses, Fox chairman Dana Walden and Gary Newman, “auditioning for a job at Disney.” “I’m told I do a wicked Donald Duck impression!
Disney-Fox jokes aside, Madden talked about AMC’s “two programming targets.”
In light of the blockbuster success of The Walking Dead, “we would be silly not to pursue and develop new genre shows that would appeal to that audience,” he said.
That is fare that AMC brass internally call “‘prestige popcorn’— thoughtful genre shows that are truly human, immersive and fan-focused,” Madden said.
AMC series that fall into that category include TWD prequel, Fear the Walking Dead, Into the Badlands, and Preacher.
“And on the other hand, the network has built an extraordinary reputation for rich, character-driven, tonally ambitious shows like Better Call Saul and Halt and Catch Fire, not to mention those first couple of shows that launched AMC,” Madden said, a reference to acclaimed dramas Mad Men and Breaking Bad.
AMC is staying that course with new series Dietland, Lodge 49, The Terror and McMafia.