AMC looks to continue streak with pickups

12:09 PM PST 01/20/2010 by Nellie Andreeva, AP

Cable net picks up dramas 'Walking Dead' and 'The Killing'

AMC is looking to extend its perfect development record with the pickup of drama pilots "Walking Dead" and "The Killing."

They mark the fourth and fifth pilots ordered by the basic cabler, with its first three -- "Mad Men," "Breaking Bad and "Rubicon," which premieres in the summer -- all going to series.

They also continue "the tradition of delivering premium cable quality shows on basic cable," AMC president and GM Charlie Collier said.

"Dead" is based on Robert Kirkman's comic book. It chronicles the months and years following a zombie apocalypse and focuses on a group of survivors, led by policeman Rick Grimes, who travels in search of a secure home.

Frank Darabont is writer, director and executive producer of the project, with Gale Anne Hurd of Valhalla Pictures and David Alpert of Circle of Confusion also executive producing.

"The Walking Dead," a monthly black-and-white comic, had been a sought-after property since it was published in 2003 by Image Comics. After healthy bidding, it landed at AMC in August in one of the network's biggest development deals to date.

"Killing," from Fox TV Studios, is based on the Danish series "Forbrydelsen."

Written by Veena Sud ("CBS' Cold Case") and set in Seattle, the AMC project chronicles the investigation of a young girl's murder through the perspective of the police, the victim's family and the mayor's office.

Denmark-born producer Mikkel Bondesen (USA Network's "Burn Notice"), who is based at FtvS, brought the format to the studio and is executive producing with Sud.

"It's 'Prime Suspect' meets 'The Wire,' " FtvS exec vp David Madden said. "We're cutting between the three interconnected worlds that are all affected by the killing and everything that has come out in the investigation."

AMC's first three pilots and series were original concepts. The fact that "Dead" and "Killing" are based on underlying material is a coincidence, AMC senior vp original programming and production Joel Stillerman said.

"We think that both of these pieces are incredibly original and distinctive," he said.

AMC is coming off of a record-setting best series Golden Globe Award for "Mad Men," which became the first drama to win the top category three consecutive years.
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