AMC's '08 trail leads to slate

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AMC is developing a slate of miniseries with an eye toward following up on the success of its first effort in the genre, "Broken Trail."

The Rainbow Media Holdings-owned cable channel is looking to try its hand at a war epic, with projects in consideration from such scribes as Michael Blake ("Dances With Wolves"), Michael Nankin ("Battlestar Galactica") and John Leckley ("Spawn").

AMC is looking to have its next miniseries in production by year's end for broadcast in 2008. The goal is to get the audience and acclaim that followed "Trail," a Western starring Robert Duvall that was the highest-rated longform program on cable in 2006.

"Viewers really noticed projects of intelligence and high quality, and we are focused on producing only those for AMC," said Rob Sorcher, executive vp programming and production.

Among the projects in development include the Civil War drama "Against the Guns of Quantrill," from Blake and executive producer Lou Morheim ("The Magnificent Seven"); "Berlin Mesa," a drama about Nazis attempting to steal nuclear secrets, from Michael Frost Beckner ("Spygame") and executive producer John Baldecchi ("The Mexican"); "L-19," a fact-based drama on a German Zeppelin crash during World War I, from William Brookfield ("Close Your Eyes") and executive producers Gub Neal and Justin Thompson ("Case of Evil"); and "White Rose," revolving around a youth uprising in Nazi Germany, from Leekley, who would also executive produce.

AMC also is tapping CBS Paramount for "Skylark," an account of a young Jewish woman leading American soldiers through Nazi-occupied France, from Nankin and executive producer Jonathan Baruch ("Night Watch").

Christina Wayne, vp scripted series and movies, said AMC is enjoying a higher profile within the creative community. "The success of 'Trail' lets people come specifically to us rather than us going after them," she said.

AMC is interested in exploring a war drama because of its intent to draw from cinematic genres that perform well on the channel. Horror is another potential area of future longform programming, as is the Western; the network already announced development on an oater, "The Last Horseman," with "Trail" star Thomas Haden Church attached.

AMC also has numerous projects in development on the series front from TV veterans, including Tom Fontana ("Oz"), William Finkelstein ("Law & Order") and Kip Koenig ("Grey's Anatomy").

In other Rainbow news, the company announced Tuesday the formation of a business group to launch new-media applications for its channel brands, including AMC, WE and IFC. Rainbow hired David Evans as senior vp at Rainbow Broadband.

Andrew Wallenstein contributed to this report.
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