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After All Its Behind-the-Scenes Drama, What's Really Going On at AMC?

Today on Vulture, Joe Adalian takes a look what’s really going on over at AMC, the programming powerhouse that’s been at a war with the talent behind hits like Mad Men and The Walking Dead:

Several industry insiders Vulture interviewed about AMC's woes theorized that the network's problems stem, at least to a degree, from the fact that its leadership is largely new to the world of big money TV deals, and as a result may have made some beginner mistakes. AMC chief Charlie Collier was running ad sales for CourtTV (now truTV) before he took over the network in 2006; programming head Joel Stillerman came to his gig from the world of film production (though he did spend many years in production at MTV). Despite having fans in Hollywood — Fox TV Studio's Madden, for one, says he admired the way both men took the hit when outrage erupted over the season finale of The Killing — their greenness may have prevented them from seeing how their negotiations were all going to play out.

After all, Hollywood deal-making is all about leverage, and the media is often used as a weapon in high-profile talks: When actors are looking for huge pay bumps, their demands often magically appear in print long before a deal is done in part because network and studio execs are hoping they'll be shamed by press accounts painting them as "greedy." The Darabont dust-up didn't involve any contract negotiations — it was all about budgeting, but there, too, AMC was at a disadvantage: On paper, its reported request that Dead reduce its budget from $3.4 million in season one (a number inflated by the high costs of the pilot and start-up costs) to around $2.8 million per episode in season two doesn't seem wholly unreasonable. (A report in the Los Angeles Times says the figure was even less: just $250,000 per hour.) But, as one exec notes, "It's a bitter pill to ask someone to swallow when you ask them to cut their budget and they're the No. 1 show among adults 18 to 49 ever in basic cable history." It doesn't matter that $2.8 million is a figure that would make most basic cable showrunners green with envy; to a creator like Darabont, it was a slap in the face, and his reps made sure post-dismissal stories painted him as a victim of bean counters.

Source: Full Article @ Vulture

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