AMC Doubles Down on Studio Business With Ben Davis

Ben Davis Susie Fitzgerald Eliot Goldberg Kristin Jones - Publicity - H Split 2018
Courtesy of AMC

Less than a year into his tenure as AMC programming president, David Madden is solidifying the cable network's executive ranks while better positioning its studio to become a content supplier to outside networks.

As part of AMC's push to own more of its programming and supply originals to outside buyers, Ben Davis has been promoted to lead programming at AMC Studios. Davis, who was senior vp programming at AMC and Sundance TV, will now serve as executive vp programming at the studio, where he will develop content for both cablers as well as for outside networks and platforms. Davis has been with AMC since 2005, rising through the programming ranks after working with creators on brand-defining hits, including The Walking Dead, Better Call Saul and the upcoming NOS4A2.

AMC Studios was founded in 2010 and has ramped up production on original series for its network counterparts. The studio currently produces nearly a dozen dramas and other nonfiction series. The push to expand AMC Studios as a supplier comes as broadcast, cable and streaming outlets alike have made content ownership a top mandate in a competitive Peak TV world of 500 scripted originals. The increased competition has created a war for high-end talent behind the scenes as Netflix, cable outlets — including AMC and traditional broadcast network-affiliated studios — race to ink exclusive first-look and overall deals with showrunners.

To that end, MTV recently launched MTV Studios as part of corporate parent Viacom's push to monetize its library and sell to buyers outside the company. Other networks, including FX (FX Productions) and TNT/TBS (Studio T), have also expanded their studio business as part of the push to own programming in a landscape where ratings and advertising are no longer the primary source of profits for price originals.

On the network side, executive vp programming Susie Fitzgerald has extended her contract to stay at AMC and Sundance TV. She remains the senior executive focused on finding and developing new content for both AMC and Sundance TV. Since joining AMC in 2009, Fitzgerald has overseen series such as The Walking Dead, Better Call Saul, Preacher, Into the Badlands, Dietland and the upcoming Lodge 49.

Madden has also promoted Eliot Goldberg, who was senior vp nonfiction programming at AMC and Sundance TV, to executive vp. Since joining AMC in 2013, he has guided and overseen the nonfiction expansion at both networks with series that include Ride With Norman Reedus, James Cameron's Story of Science Fiction and Sundance TV's push into true crime docs, such as the upcoming Jonestown entry.

Rounding out Madden's moves, Kristin Jones has been upped from senior vp international at AMC and Sundance TV to exec vp. She'll continue to find and develop international co-productions for AMC and Sundance TV while adding AMC Studios duties to her purview. Her international group will develop co-productions for AMC and third parties via AMC Studios. She joined the cabler in 2014 and has developed international co-productions, including The Night Manager, McMafia, Humans and The Little Drummer Girl for AMC as well as Sundance TV's Liar and The Split.

"Before I worked here, I admired this foursome from afar — and they're even better up close," Madden said. "What this announcement signifies is their melding together into an exceptional senior leadership team, one that has already helped establish AMC as one of the strongest brands in television. They have found, developed and nurtured the shows that define our network and entertain and captivate millions of viewers. In these new and elevated roles, this impressive quartet will drive our continued success across AMC, SundanceTV and a growing AMC Studios business. I am looking forward to all that we will accomplish together."