UPDATE, 5:48 AM: Cancelled series Low Winter Sun and The Killing were responsible for the writedown, CEO Josh Sapan told analysts in a conference call. “We were not happy with the performance of Low Winter Sun,” he says.
PREVIOUS, 4:25 AM: It will be interesting to see whether investors consider the pay TV networks company’s Q4 results a glass half full, or empty. It reported net income of nearly $35M, +130.2% vs the last three months of 2012, on revenues of $435.2M, +18.7%. The top line comfortably beat the $418.9M that analysts expected. But earnings at 49 cents a share missed forecasts for 77 cents. The results include a $52M charge “related to the write-off of programming assets.” (For some reason AMC Networks doesn’t identify them in this AM’s release.) The charge tarnished the otherwise apparently strong results at the main National Networks unit that includes AMC, WEtv, IFC, and SundanceTV. Helped by The Walking Dead‘s midseason finale, it reported a 19.3% increase in revenues, to $404M, with adjusted operating cash flow of $105.6M, -1%. Ad sales increased 30.9% to $205M while payments from pay TV distributors rose 9.4% to $199M. Meanwhile, the International and Other operation, which includes overseas channels and IFC Films, saw revenues rise 7% to $34.9M with cash flow losses increasing 90.9% to $8.2M — including fees from its agreement … Read More »
The drama is not being renewed, making official its cancellation after one low-rated season. Low Winter Sun, which wrapped its 10-episode run in September, marks just the second AMC scripted drama not to receive a season-season order, following 2010′s Rubicon. The co-production between Endemol Studios and AMC Studios was based on the two-part 2006 British miniseries that starred Mark Strong, who reprised his role in the U.S. redo. Chris Mundy was written and executive produced by Chris Mundy. AMC liked what it saw originally, picking it up to pilot in May 2012 and ordering it to series that December. But after drawing 2.5 million viewers in its series premiere in August following the the first of Breaking Bad‘s final eight episodes, the ratings dropped off. Today’s news comes a couple of weeks after AMC renewed its Western drama Hell On Wheels for a fourth season and 13 episodes. It also has two new dramas in the works: Turn and Halt & Catch Fire.
In the days leading up the series finale, it’s going to be all Breaking Badalmost all the time on AMC. I’ve learned that the cable channel is going to show every episode of the meth-drenched drama from Season 1 onward. The “Countdown To Finale,” as AMC has dubbed it, will start at 8 PM September 25 with the very first episode from January 20, 2008, and goes straight through to the end of Season 4 late on Friday, September 27. The marathon picks up again with the current Season 5 at 11 PM September 28 and goes through the night and day up to the 75-minute series finale at 9 PM September 29. AMC’s freshman Low Winter Sun will be pushed back to a 11:15 PM start time on the Sunday because of the extended finale episode and the one-hour live Talking Bad featuring series creator Vince Gilligan, star Aaron Paul, Giancarlo Esposito, Jesse Plemmons, RJ Mitte, Jonathan Banks and ABC late night host Jimmy Kimmel. Read More »
Fox Sports Opposes Proposed Move Of 2022 World Cup Dates Fox Sports is reportedly balking at a potential move by World Cup soccer governing body FIFA to switch the dates of the 2022 championships in Qatar. Fox paid a record $425M for U.S. broadcast rights to the 2018-2022 World Cup package and, according to Bloomberg sources, is concerned that moving the competition would clash with NFL games. FIFA is discussing a proposal to shift the Qatar games due to extremely high temperatures — as much as 122° Fahrenheit — in the Qatari summer that could adversely affect players. “FIFA has informed us that they are considering and voting on moving the 2022 World Cup,” Fox said in a statement to Bloomberg. “Fox Sports bought the World Cup rights with the understanding they would be in the summer as they have been since the 1930s.” FIFA responded, “The matter of the timing of the 2022 FIFA World Cup will be discussed in various ad hoc committees as well as the FIFA Executive Committee, and until these meetings have taken place, FIFA is in no position to make any further comments.” Fox is not alone in its concerns. The English Premier League also opposes a date change since it would force changes to European soccer timetables as the national World Cup teams are made up of players who, in many cases, make their daily living with clubs outside their home countries.
Jailed Canadian Filmmaker And Colleague Begin Hunger Strike
Canadian filmmaker John Greyson, and Tarek Loubani, who have been held without charges in a Cairo jail for more than a month, have informed friends and supporters through their Egyptian lawyers that they have begun a hunger strike. Greyson and Loubani were en route to Gaza when they stopped to ask directions from Egyptian police and were jailed. According to new emergency measures put in place in Egypt. Greyson and Loubani’s detention could be extended up to two years without formal charges. Read More »
It will be a monster last hurrah for AMC’s Breaking Bad, which opened its final eight-episode run last night with 5.9 million viewers, a series high that doubled the drama’s season five premiere last summer. Last night’s opener delivered 3.3 million adults 25-54 and 3.6 million adults 18-49, second only to AMC’s mega-hit The Walking Dead in 18-49 across all cable. Immediately following Breaking Bad, the premiere of AMC’s new dramaLow Winter Sun drew 2.5 million viewers, a solid number but less than half of the massive Breaking Bad lead-in. To close AMC’s first-ever three-premiere night, the Breaking Bad after-show Talking Bad debuted with 1.2 million viewers. On Saturday night, AMC’s Hell on Wheels returned with a two-hour season three premiere, delivering 2.5 million viewers, up 2% from the season two premiere, which aired on a Sunday, and double AMC’s Saturday primetime average.
Ray Richmond contributes to Deadline’s TCA coverage.
Will the new AMC drama Low Winter Sun do for Detroit what HBO’s The Wire did for Baltimore? That’s one of the chief questions looming for the dark, gritty and violent new 10-episode series that premieres August 11 at 10 PM following the Breaking Bad final season premiere. And of course, the show arrives during a particularly difficult time for Detroit, which last week filed for bankruptcy. The presumption is that a series focusing on the seamy underbelly of the city probably isn’t poised to build much in the way of civic pride for a metropolis that could use some right about now. But this afternoon at TCA, star Mark Strong — who uniquely also played the same role in the two-part British miniseries on which this American edition is based — observed that the location production has in fact been welcomed with open arms. “There’s a symbiotic relationship we have, really, because we’re shining a spotlight on the city during something of its darkest hour,” Strong said. “But the city really has made us feel right at home.” Added co-star Lennie James: “Detroit and its people shy away from the dark side of themselves. That helps a lot.” Read More »
British actor and musician Max Beesley (Hotel Babylon) has landed a major recurring role on the upcoming third season of USA Network’s Suits, which premieres July 16. He will play Stephen Huntley, Edward Darby’s (recurring guest star Conleth Hill) charismatic right-hand man and Harvey’s (Gabriel Macht) British counterpart, who arrives in the New York office following the merger. The existence of two Harveys will complicate the already precarious personal dynamics at Pearson/Darby. Beesley, repped by APA, Untitled and UK’s Independent Talent, co-stars in indie Pawn and in the UK series Mad Dogs.Read More »
AMC‘s new scripted drama Low Winter Sun premieres this summer with 10 one-hour episodes and is based on a two-part miniseries that aired in the UK in 2006. The Endemol/AMC Studios production stars Mark Strong and Lennie James and begins with the murder of a Detroit cop by a fellow detective. Unlike the network’s hit The Walking Dead, the guy doesn’t come back to life, and the seemingly perfect crime activates forces that will forever alter the detective’s life, pulling him into the heart of the Detroit underworld. Chris Mundy (Criminal Minds, Cold Case) is the writer/executive producer/showrunner. Check it out:
FX‘s new Cold War series The Americans premieres Stateside on January 30. In the UK, ITV has just made a two-year commitment to the period drama that stars Keri Russell and Matthew Rhys as a married couple of KGB spies posing as Americans in suburban Washington DC shortly after Ronald Reagan is elected President. Noah Emmerich plays their new neighbor, an FBI agent. ITV, the British home of Downton Abbey, will air the show in the coming months. The Americans is co-produced by Fox Television Studios and FX Productions and executive produced by creator/showrunner Joe Weisberg. It’s being sold internationally by Twentieth Century Fox Television Distribution.
Fox International Channels has made a deal with Endemol for crime series Low Winter Sun. In December, AMC made a 10-episode order for the crime drama that’s written and executive produced by Chris Mundy and based on the 2006 British miniseries starring Mark Strong (who’s also starring in the U.S. version). Co-producer Endemol, which controls the international rights, struck the deal with FIC giving it exclusive first pay-TV window rights outside the U.S., Canada and France. Low Winter Sun is set to premiere across FIC’s entertainment channel portfolio of 200 networks in 120 countries in Latin America, Europe, Asia, the Middle … Read More »
AMC has handed a 10-episode series order to pilot Low Winter Sun. Written/executive produced by Chris Mundy, the project is based on the 2006 British miniseries starring Mark Strong, who is reprising his role in the AMC version. A co-production between Endemol Studios and AMC Studios, Low Winter Sun is described as a story of murder, deception, revenge and corruption that starts with the murder of a cop by fellow Detroit detective Frank Agnew (Strong). Seemingly the perfect crime, in reality the murder activates forces that will forever alter that detective’s life and pull him into the heart of the city’s underworld. Lennie James co-stars. AMC’s other drama pilot, the untitled LaGravenese & Goldwyn Project, remains in consideration for a potential series pickup in 2013.
AMC is ramping up scripted development with pilot orders to two period dramas: Turn, from Nikita creator/executive producer Craig Silverstein and Barry Josephson, and Halt & Catch Fire, from Breaking Bad executive producer Mark Johnson. The cable network already ordered two scripted pilots this year — Low Winter Sun and the untitled Richard LaGravenese/Tony Goldwyn project, marking the first time AMC had picked up two pilots at the same time. Now the network has greenlighted a whopping four pilots in the same year — that is almost as many AMC ordered in the five years it has been in the original programming business. Filming on Turn and Halt & Catch Fire is slated for next year, while Low Winter Sun and the LaGravenese/Goldwyn project recently completed production. I hear AMC brass won’t wait for Halt & Catch Fire and Turn to be done before making pickup decisions on the other two pilots. Halt & Catch Fire and Turn were among half a dozen scripts that participated in AMC’s pilot script showcase in April, along with Low Winter Sun and the LaGravenese/Goldwyn project, which got the nod. Turn and Halt & Catch Fire were kept in consideration, and are now joining the other two as pilots. Read More »
24 alumna Sprague Grayden and David Costabile will co-star opposite Mark Strong, Lennie James and James Ransone in the AMC drama pilot Low Winter Sun. Ernest Dickerson is directing the pilot, from Endemol Studios and AMC Studios. Written/executive produced by Chris Mundy, the project, based on based on the 2006 British miniseries, is described as a story of murder, deception, revenge and corruption that starts with the murder of a cop by fellow Detroit detective Frank Agnew (Strong). Seemingly the perfect crime, in reality the murder activates forces that will forever alter that detective’s life and pull him into the heart of the Detroit underworld. Grayden, repped by AKA Talent Agency and Untitled Entertainment, will play the fierce and ruthless Elena, Damon’s (Ransone) wife who wants to extend the family’s crime networks. She has an upcoming arc on USA’s White Collar.
Costabile, repped by Innovative and Gartner/Green, will play David Westwood, an upright investigator from Internal Affairs who shows up and causes quite a stir among the officers. This marks a return to AMC for Costabile who had a memorable arc on the network’s Breaking Bad. He just finished a season-long arc on USA’s Suits as well as roles in Steven Soderbergh’s The Bitter Pill and New Regency’s Runner Runner. He will next be seen in Steven Spielberg’s Lincoln.
Ruben Santiago Hudson and Athena Karkanis (Transporter) have been cast in the AMC drama pilot Low Winter Sun. Ernest Dickerson (The Walking Dead) is in negotiations to direct the pilot, based on the 2006 British miniseries. Written/executive produced by Chris Mundy, the AMC project is described as a contemporary story of murder, deception, revenge and corruption that starts with the murder of a cop by fellow Detroit detective Frank Agnew (Mark Strong). Seemingly the perfect crime, in reality the murder activates forces that will forever alter that detective’s life and pull him into the heart of the Detroit underworld. Hudson, repped by Gersh and Vincent Cirrincione Assoc., will play Lt. George Torrance, the commander of Frank’s precinct, a 25-year veteran of the force who has, thus far, survived the down and dirty arena of Detroit crime and politics. Karkanis, repped by Greene & Assoc. and Sanders Armstrong Caserta, will play Dani Kahlil, a beautiful and highly intelligent detective who is a “bright light” on the force. They also join recently cast James Ransone.
This marks the first pilot directing gig for Dickerson, who first made his name as a cinematographer, frequently teaming with director Spike Lee on films such as Malcolm X, Do The Right Thing, and Jungle Fever. In recent years, he has collaborated with David Simon as a recurring director on The Wire and Treme … Read More »
EXCLUSIVE: Mark Strong, who starred in the 2006 British miniseries Low Winter Sun, is in negotiations to reprise his role in AMC‘s U.S. adaptation. James Ransone is set to co-star in the drama pilot, a co-production between Endemol Studios and AMC Studios.
Written/executive produced by Chris Mundy (Criminal Minds), the AMC project is described as a contemporary story of murder, deception, revenge and corruption that starts with the murder of a cop by fellow Detroit detective Frank Agnew (Strong). Seemingly the perfect crime, in reality the murder activates forces that will forever alter that detective’s life and pull him into the heart of the Detroit underworld. Ransone will play Damon Callis, a member of the Detroit organized crime syndicate.
Strong drew critical praise for playing Frank Agnew in the 2006 two-part mini (photo above), in which Frank was one of two cops who murder a fellow officer. He will next be seen in Kathryn Bigelow’s Zero Dark Thirty. Ransone, repped by UTA and Management 360, will next be seen in the features Broken City and Empire State.
Big Brother producer Endemol continues to make changes at the top. Lucas Church has been upped from COO to CEO Endemol UK with CFO Richard Johnston named COO. Both men held their previous positions since 2008. The UK group includes Initial, Remarkable Television, Zeppotron, Darlow Smithson Productions, Tiger Aspect and Tigress and annually produces over 2,000 hours of programming. Church will work closely with Tim Hincks in overseeing the creative and strategic direction of the UK business. Hincks was formerly CEO of Endemol UK and last week was named president of Endemol Group and chairman of Endemol UK. Among the group’s recent international successes are multi-platform big money game shows The Million Pound Drop, The Bank Job and Pointless. Endemol series Black Mirror just won the Rose d’Or Award for best comedy program. Its Low Winter Sun is being remade for AMC in the US.
AMC has handed pilot orders to Low Winter Sun and the Untitled LaGravenese & Goldwyn Project, marking the first time the network has greenlit two scripted pilots at the same time. Low Winter Sun and the Richard LaGravenese/Tony Goldwyn drama were among six projects selected to do presentations at the network’s annual pilot script showcase, informally referred to as a “bake-off,” last month.
Low Winter Sun, a co-production between Endemol Studios and AMC Studios, is based on the 2006 two-part British mini-series written by Simon Donald and starring Mark Strong, which was produced by Endemol’s Tiger Aspect Prods. Chris Mundy (Criminal Minds) wrote the U.S. adaptation, a contemporary story of murder, deception, revenge and corruption that starts with the murder of a cop by a fellow Detroit detective. Seemingly the perfect crime, in reality the murder activates forces that will forever alter that detective’s life and pull him into the heart of the Detroit underworld. Mundy will serve as executive producer/showrunner on the project, repped by CAA. Jeremy Gold, head of creative affairs for Endemol Studios, oversees the project with Greg Brenman, head of drama for Tiger Aspect. This is Endemol’s second AMC pilot following Hell On Wheel, which came out of the “bake-off” two years ago and went on to become a series that has been renewed for a second season.
The untitled LaGravenese & Goldwyn Project is a legal thriller centered on a District Attorney who uncovers new … Read More »