AMC puts cable in the cultural conversation

March 12, 2014 12.27 Europe/London By Julian Clover

Josh SaplanThere is, according to Josh Sapan, President and CEO, AMC Networks, no greater honour than seeing your show being parodied. It is, he told executives at Cable Congress in Amsterdam, an indicator that shows such as Mad Men or The Walking Dead are getting into the cultural conversation.

“We think that people have the most emotional connection to the bill they pay when they are talking about their favourite TV shows,” said Saplan. “Those that are the most successful programmes have their genetic birth through advances in technology.”

Picking up a theme he first explored at MIP TV in Cannes, Saplan said that the influence of TV Everywhere was driving what writers are writing directors are directing and dictate a show’s success.

As digital technology made it easier for viewers to discover new content, writers on US shows were producing far more adventurous storylines.

“The dramas that used to be on broadcast TV in the US could be described as bland and easy to view, so if you were watching in the kitchen with the kids running around, you could still follow them

“All that technology created a different mindset … When you watch on your own schedule you are a little more patient and you absorb the good stuff.

The different approach that can be seen on AMC in the United States is the arrival of French language drama, such as the primetime premiere of The Returned.

Meanwhile, shows like The Walking Dead – sold in Europe to Fox – and soon to premiere Red Road will go straight to AMC-brands. These now include those purchased through the Chellomedia acquisition completed in February.