AMC Networks, whose Killing Eve lit up BBC America last year, will simulcast the emerging show across AMC and BBC America for its second season. The initiative began with Sunday night’s season premiere.
The move is one of many announced by the company during its upfront week. It also revealed more details about a new Walking Dead spinoff, the renewal of IFC cult favorite Documentary Now! as well as the expansion of holiday programming on AMC and the creation of a micro-net on BBC America dedicated to nature programming.
On Monday morning, the company is hosting the AMC Networks Summit, bringing together executives, talent and press at a Lower East Side hotel for a series of panels and conversations. Over the course of the week, the company will host a series of dinners with advertisers.
Sarah Barnett, who became president of entertainment networks last November told Deadline the simulcast plan for Killing Eve is “an intriguing case study that reflects a broader strategy.” The overlap between BBC America and AMC is not considerable, and with AMC’s broader distribution, the sense from the company (with support from advertisers) is that it’s a viable plan.
“We have a show like that, which is on a great platform,” Barnett said. But increasingly the way we are going to be looking at our entire suite of platforms, whether in linear or in streaming is to understand the ecosystem of our audience, understand the company and then be quite dynamic.”
Ad sales president Scott Collins added, “We do know the AMC viewers love smart, well-written, great performances in drama. We’re excited to be able to offer that to them.” The model, which AMC Networks has done only once before for a full season of a show, has gotten a test run recently with The Walking Dead followed by Season 1 repeats of Killing Eve on AMC, he said.
Building on its popular broadcasts of nature franchises like Planet Earth and The Blue Planet, meanwhile, BBC America is also forming a “micro-net” with the working title of Project Awe. It will run 24 hours of nature programming every Saturday.
The network made the announcement along with several other initiatives unveiled as it prepares for upfront conversations with media buyers. AMC Networks today is convening a summit in lower Manhattan during which executives and talent will take part in a series of panels. Executives will also be hosting a series of dinners for advertisers through the rest of the week.
BBC America sees the dedicated “micro-net” as something beyond a mere programming block or themed series of shows. Rather, it is a fully formed brand aspiring to be what Adult Swim started out as in relation to Cartoon Network. It will have its own logo and promotional playbook, featuring some 2,000 hours of programming, including Sir David Attenborough’s next series, One Planet: Seven Worlds, Frozen Planet II and Planet Earth III.
“As the past, present and future U.S. home to this iconic BBC nature and wildlife programming, we know that epic documentaries about this spellbinding blue planet we all share pull people from all ages and all ages together in a transcendent way that’s unlike anything else,” AMC Networks entertainment networks chief Sarah Barnett said. “We have been ‘all in’ on this groundbreaking programming for many years, and will continue to be for many more to come.”
BBC American recently renewed its partnership with the BBC to co-produce the next installments of Planet Earth III and Frozen Planet II.
AMC Networks, meanwhile, is following the debut last year of its Best Christmas Ever programming event on AMC with an expanded yuletide go-round for 2019. AMC will remain the home of uninterrupted holiday movies and specials from Thanksgiving week through Christmas Day. And this year, IFC, WE tv, BBC America and SundanceTV will all feature holiday programming under the Best Christmas Ever umbrella.
Last year, AMC said, it grew its prime time audience among adults 25-54 by 86% over the previous December and increased total day ratings in that same demo by 34%. More than 40 of the network’s highest-rated movies for the year were part of Best Christmas Ever, and the network had its best month of the year in prime time and best month ever for movies on TVE and VOD platforms.