10:18am PT by Lesley Goldberg
AMC Upfront: 'Breaking Bad' Talk Show, 'Talking Dead' Renewal
It's a busy day at AMC, as the cable network announced a Breaking Bad talk show, renewed The Talking Dead and unveiled a huge roster of scripted and unscripted fare ahead of its upfront presentation to Madison Avenue.
The home of Mad Men and The Walking Dead on Tuesday officially ordered Talking Bad, a weekly half-hour live after-show talker to accompany the final eight episodes of the Bryan Cranston starrer. The Emmy darling will return for its remaining episodes on Sunday, Aug. 11, with Talking Bad -- from Michael Davies' Embassy Row and Breaking Bad producer Sony Pictures Television, set to air at 11 p.m. The series comes as AMC has found success with Chris Hardwick-hosted Talking Dead. That series, which was picked up for a third season Tuesday, saw its ratings rise after being moved to immediately follow The Walking Dead. Its format expanded to a full hour in the back-half of its recently concluded second season.
After launching an unscripted block on Thursday nights this season, AMC renewed Kevin Smith's Comic Book Men for a third season and picked up Freakshow for a second in addition to announcing three new non-scripted entries in development. Majority Rules, from Stephen Lambert, Eli Holzman and Aaron Saidman is a docuseries focusing on the democratic process from All3 Media America. Hardwick's All-Star Celebrity Bowling is an adaptation of the Nerdist web series of the same name featuring stars competing for charity. Cancelled, from Lion Television, is a social experiment tracking how far people will go for fame. The news comes after AMC greenlit Geek Out, a pilot exploring super-fans from Ernest Cline.
On the scripted side, AMC put seven scripted series -- including recently announced Ballistic City -- into its rapidly growing development pipeline as the cable network prepares for the end of Breaking Bad.
King, from MSNBC's Joe Scarborough and Mika Brzezinski and writers Diane Frolov and Andrew Schneider (Boardwalk Empire, The Sopranos) is a period drama set in the early 1960s and revolves around Floridian King Carmichael who sells his soul to a corrupt, racist political machine in order to win a Senate seat. Having run as a segragationist, he is tapped by Lyndon B. Johnson to champion civil rights in the South.
Ashland focuses on a family who uproots to a small Kentucky mining town in 1950 and its matriarch, Del, who is tasked with covering her family's secrets as she struggles to find a way to support her three children at the height of the Red Scare. Allison Anders and Terry Graham will write and exec produce; Shana Eddy will co-EP.
White City hails from Tom Freston and writers Nick McDonell and John Dempsey and follows Western diplomats and journalists living in Afghanistan.
The untitled Dahvi Waller vehicle hails from the Mad Men writer/EP and is set against the New York car industry of the 1920s. It revolves around two brothers who struggle to keep their family-run company afloat with a class-hopping Ziegfeld girl and the daughter of an English competitor blurring the line between love and business.
The Wall is set in 1960s Berlin and tracks an American businessman who becomes embroiled in a web of East-West espionage. Jim Keeble and Dudi Appleton will write and exec produce alongside Red Arrow and Alan Greenspan.
Additionally, AMC announced it has inked an overall deal with Boardwalk Empire writer Rolin Jones. Under the pact, he'll write and executive produce projects specifically for the cabler.
“Six years ago at AMC, we set a goal to create premium television on basic cable and we began to develop and nurture shows that would set us apart,” said Charlie Collier, president and GM at AMC. “As we lay out the year ahead for advertisers at our 2013/14 Upfront, it is an honor to have such a breadth of development and programming to share and to be in business with such a high caliber of talent in front of and behind the camera.”
And finally, the network has announced its spring and summer premiere dates, which follow below:
Small Town Security -- Thursday, May 9 at 10 p.m.
Showville -- Thursday, May 23 at 9 p.m.
Breaking Bad -- Sunday, Aug. 11 at 9 p.m.
Low Winter Sun -- Sunday, Aug. 11 at 10 p.m.
Owner's Manual -- Thursday, Aug. 15 at 9 p.m.
The PItch -- Thursday, Aug. 15 at 10 p.m.
Email: Lesley.Goldberg@thr.com; Twitter: @Snoodit