AMC Sets First 2 Projects From Scripted Inclusiveness Effort

'Into the Badlands' co-exec producer LaToya Morgan is overseeing the effort to increase the diversity of voices at the cabler.
Jamie McCarthy/Getty Images
LaToya Morgan

AMC has begun development on two projects from its Scripted Inclusion Initiative, its effort to bring more diverse voices to the network.

The initiative, overseen by Into the Badlands co-executive producer LaToya Morgan, launched in 2018. Morgan, who has an overall deal with AMC, is mentoring emerging writers in an effort to make the cabler's development slate more inclusive in addition to working on her own projects.

The first two projects are Farmhand from Rob Guillory, about a farmer who grows plant-based organ transplants, and Of Two Minds from Morgan Dover-Pearl, centered on a woman who has to rebuild her life after a traumatic brain injury. Both are in active development at AMC, the network announced Thursday at the Television Critics Association's press tour.

"The question of who gets to tell stories in television is a critical one, and a key thing I'm focused on is inclusivity, finding diverse writers, creators and talent on both sides of the camera so that we can better reflect the lives and experiences of our audiences," said Sarah Barnett, AMC Networks' entertainment group president. "These projects both have incredible promise: They come from smart writers and have a totally original point of view."

Farmhand is based on Guillory's graphic novel and follows Jedidiah Jenkins, a farmer who grows fast-healing, plug-and-play human organs. Jed's transplants have helped many people, but something sinister has also taken root at his farm.

Of Two Minds is a dark comedy about a woman who suffers an injury that results in a severed corpus callosum, meaning the left and right sides of her brain no longer communicate. She tries to navigate having two brains that are constantly at odds while rebuilding her life. 

“What has always been important to me as a creator is not just the kinds of stories that get told, but who gets the opportunity to be storytellers,” said Morgan, who is also behind the #WGAStaffingBoost hashtag for agentless writers. “With this initiative I wanted more writers of color and women to have seats at the creative table and AMC has been a great champion. These projects by Morgan and Rob, as well as a few others we are developing, are as unique, moving and powerful as the voices behind them."

Also at AMC Networks' TCA sessions:

— BBC America is making Saturdays a destination for its acclaimed nature series, complete with a name change. Starting this fall, the network will change its name to Wonderstruck on Saturdays and provide 24 hours of natural history programming, including the Planet Earth and Blue Planet series. It has also greenlit Eden, the first project from BBC Studios' Natural History Unit, that will explore some of the last remaining untouched regions of the planet. 

The first episode of new series Seven Worlds, One Planet will also debut in the fall as part of Wonderstruck's launch before the full series debuts in the U.S. in early 2020.

— IFC has renewed Baroness Von Sketch Show for a fifth season ahead of its season four debut on Oct. 30.