AMC's Charlie Collier on 'Killing' Backlash, Relationship With Matt Weiner (Q&A)

 Matt Furman

Fresh from record ratings for "Men" and "The Walking Dead", the network president opens up about his relationship with Matthew Weiner and winning back fans during the sophomore season of Veena Sud's controversial murder mystery.

THR: Has the social media-enabled fan become an irritant?

Collier: Social media has allowed that relationship to be very personal. We try to listen to our audience. But you can't take every comment to heart. And by the way, by no means was it all negative.

THR: During heated Breaking Bad negotiations with creator Vince Gilligan last summer, Sony shopped it elsewhere. Were you concerned?

Collier: There are moments in every one of these projects where, as passionate as you are about them, you're reminded that it's a business. So I will say that Sony has been a phenomenal partner. They were doing what they had to do.

PHOTO: 'The Killing' Reveals 'Moody' and 'Unsettling' Season 2 Key Art

THR: Could comedy work on AMC?

Collier: We look at genres that have passionate fan bases. Would we look at comedy in the right context? Yeah, we would. We like complex, developed characters that can drive you through a narrative. Strategically, we want the genres to be well-supported by our feature films, but on the other hand, there's almost nothing we wouldn't read if it was well-developed and character-driven. We haven't hung out a comedy shingle.

THR: The Prisoner did not do exceptionally well. Are you out of the miniseries business?

Collier: We took an interesting shot at it. The mini business is a challenge. What's so great about a TV series is if you develop a series and get it to air and get good feedback, there's season two. With a mini, it's a moment in time. We're not developing minis right now actively. It's not a priority. 

THR: Would you consider a late-night topical show?

Collier: We haven't developed late night as a stand-alone daypart. I think viewing patterns have changed so much that late night to some is prime to others. But no, we haven't looked for our Bill Maher or our Chelsea Lately or our Conan.

THR: AMC looked at House of Cards. It went to Netflix with a $100 million budget, and now there are rumors of problems. Does that say something about Netflix's ability to be in the series business?

Collier: I fundamentally believe great scripted drama should have a lot of homes across media. Five years ago, I wouldn't have included the likes of Netflix.  So they're in the game -- and that's good for the creative community. The more outlets, the more opportunity. I want to clearly message to the creative community what it's like to develop at AMC and to be part of a smaller group of projects where if we make the pilot, we really intend to bring it to series.

THR: Your parents took you back to England when you were 15, but you returned to attend college at Bucknell. What made you return?

Collier: America was home for me. All my friends were here. The educational and sports opportunities were better. I taught tennis during college, to pay for college. I was the pro at [Willowbrook Swim and Tennis] club in Chappaqua, N.Y., for four years. That opportunity wasn't given to someone my age in England at the time.

THR: Do you let your sons watch The Walking Dead?

Collier: We watch it together. They've met the cast. They think Chandler [Riggs, the 12-year-old actor who plays Carl Grimes] is amazing.

THR: But your daughters don't watch it?

Collier: Not yet. They're much more Breaking Bad fans. (Laughs.)


THE NUMBERS BEHIND AMC: The network has transformed itself from a sleepy movie channel to a scripted drama powerhouse

Breaking Bad

  • 1.9 million: Average viewers per episode
  • 19: Takes for the standoff  between Walter and Gus in the season-four finale

Mad Men

  • 2.3 million: Average viewers per episode
  • 53: Percentage of viewers with an annual household income of more than $100,000

The Killing

  • 2.2 million: Average viewers per episode
  • 20: Episodes of the Danish series before killer is revealed (U.S. version has aired 13 episodes)

The Walking Dead

  • 7 million: Average viewers per episode
  • 150: Extras who showed up to audition for roles as zombies

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