Edinburgh TV Festival: AMC U.K. Could Get Own Originals, Executive Says

Courtesy of AMC
'Fear the Walking Dead' is among AMC's originals that the network also airs on its U.K. channel.

"There is no reason why we couldn't see ourselves doing original U.K. content," says Harold Gronenthal, executive vp, programming and operations at AMC & Sundance Channel Global.

AMC Networks could decide to order original series specifically for its U.K. AMC channel down the line, a company executive told the Edinburgh Television Festival on Wednesday.

"It's certainly something that we keep looking at," said Harold Gronenthal, executive vp, programming and operations at AMC & Sundance Channel Global. "There is no reason why we couldn't see ourselves doing original U.K. content."

The AMC U.S. network co-produced spy drama The Night Manager with British public broadcaster BBC and The Ink Factory.

Gronenthal spoke at a session along with BT TV and Sport managing director Delia Bushell and Jake Humphrey, BT Sport host and director of Whisper Films. In a partnership between AMC Networks and U.K. telecom giant BT Group, AMC in September launched exclusively for BT TV customers. The multiyear agreement marked AMC’s British debut.

The move followed a 2014 rebrand by AMC Networks' international arm of MGM Channel as AMC, giving its flagship network an international push. The revamp marked the first time that AMC got distribution outside of North America. That also has helped establish the AMC brand on a global basis. A few years ago, people in the industry knew of AMC, Gronenthal told the panel, but that nowadays, "consumers know AMC" around the world.

He also said that the company increasingly looks at leveraging its original series worldwide, but "we have a focus on what would work best in the U.S. market. That's obviously a prime goal for us."

AMC Networks' growing international channel portfolio also means that not all U.S. AMC shows have ended up on AMC in the U.K., but that is increasingly the case, said Gronenthal. "We have AMC channels throughout the world, and we were a little late to the game. So, we're playing a little bit of catch-up," he explained. "When you don't have a channel and you have a great show like Mad Men or The Walking Dead, those shows go out to other [networks]."

In the U.K., Fox shows The Walking Dead, for example. Once Fear the Walking Dead was announced though, AMC made sure it kept the show for its U.K. channel, said Gronenthal.

Discussing whether zombies are what vampires used to be in Hollywood a few years ago, the AMC executive said, "Zombies are more than the new vampires." Case in point: Even his teenage son told him he wasn’t sure about it at first, but after watching zombie action on AMC, he likes zombies now, Gronenthal said.

 

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