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The executive, who stepped down as Fox entertainment president in August, has been tapped to serve as head of original programming at AMC, SundanceTV and AMC Studios. He fills a role previously held by Joel Stillerman — who exited in May to become Hulu’s chief content officer —- and will report to AMC and SundanceTV president Charlie Collier from Los Angeles. Madden will begin what he calls “his dream job” later this month.
Although there were other names, including Apple TV’s Matt Cherniss and Studio 8’s Katherine Pope, bandied about during the search process, Madden was widely seen internally as best suited for the gig. Having spent several years running a cable-focused studio, then titled Fox TV Studios, which produced prestige fare (FX’s The Americans, The Shield) as well as broad appeal programming (USA’s White Collar, Burn Notice), he brings with him the necessary experience and relationships. That Madden already had a shorthand of sorts with Collier and his staff due to their time together on The Killing made the decision that much easier.
“David Madden is a terrific, thoughtful person and a proven, tested executive. He’s known broadly not just for his leadership but also for developing and producing original programming alongside some of our industry’s most outstanding talent,” Collier said Friday in a statement, with Madden adding: “The opportunity to play a leadership role at networks like AMC and SundanceTV, which live at the very highest end of television content, and at a growing studio operation, is the culmination of everything I’ve done to date in my career and something I could not pass up.”
Madden has toiled in the broadcast world for the past three years, overseeing scripted programming and development as well as casting. (For much of that time, he oversaw reality programming, too.) Both the pace and the style of programming on the broadcast side had been a sizable adjustment for the erudite Harvard grad, who spent the first chapter of his career as a producer and film executive. On his watch, Fox, not unlike its broadcast competition, struggled to find bona fide breakouts, save for Lethal Weapon and early standout Empire. Madden was replaced at Fox by 20th TV vet Michael Thorn, who is said to have the ear of boss Dana Walden and is largely seen as a better fit for that position.
Although Madden will no longer be burdened with broadcast’s myriad challenges in the AMC role, he will inherit a host of new ones, particularly as the race for high-end talent and content continues to intensify and the pool of rivals grows. In fact, in the last month or two alone, Walking Dead creator Robert Kirkman exited his AMC overall deal for a more lucrative one with Amazon Studios, and Apple announced it would be the latest deep-pocketed tech giant to dip its toe (if not a whole leg) in the upscale TV market. Adding further headaches, AMC, which still manages an enviable stable that includes top-rated The Walking Dead and Emmy nominee Better Call Saul, is currently embroiled in multiple, high-profile lawsuits over profit participation surrounding Walking Dead, which could see the cable network on the hook for an estimated $1 billion in potential damages.
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