AMC makes political play

Horwitch pilot order follows growing success with original series

AMC is looking to extend its red-hot drama series streak with a political thriller from Jason Horwitch.

The cable channel has handed out a pilot order to the untitled project that revolves around a secret society that pulls the strings on the world political stage and an analyst at a national think tank who discovers that his employers are not who they seem to be.

AMC has been selective in its pilot orders, with the Horwitch project marking its third pickup. Its first two, "Mad Men" and "Breaking Bad," went to series and netted a record-breaking 20 Emmy noms for AMC: 16 for "Mad Men," including best drama series, and four for "Breaking Bad."

In the past year, AMC has been actively developing a successor to the period ad agency series "Mad Men" and the chemistry teacher-turned-crystal meth chef drama "Breaking Bad." The untitled Horwitch project was one of several drama prospects on a development slate announced by the cable channel a year ago.

"This is a world you have not seen on television before — it's not your typical spy thriller," AMC brass said of the project at the time.

AMC has since put more projects in development — including "Fort Smith," from "24" co-creator Bob Cochran, and a psychological thriller from filmmaker Darren Aronofsky — and is planning to pick up two pilots by fall.

In addition to writing, Horwitch is executive producing the pilot with Joshua D. Maurer. Production is eyed to start in October.

The two worked together on another political thriller, the FX telefilm "The Pentagon Papers," which Horwitch wrote and Maurer exec produced.

AMC's flagship series, "Mad Men," is now in its second season, with "Breaking Bad" also renewed for a second cycle. Additionally, AMC is prepping a remake of the 1960s sci-fi series "The Prisoner." The miniseries, AMC's second after the hit "Broken Trail," stars Jim Caviezel and Ian McKellen.

Horwitch, who created and exec produced NBC's "Medical Investigation," is repped by ICM and attorney Renee Farrell. Maurer is with Endeavor. (partialdiff)