Western Canada could soon become a dead zone for The Walking Dead. In fact, as a complaint filed in U.S. federal court last week by Canadian telecom Telus reveals, all of AMC could be going dark for the company’s nearly 800,000 subscribers. Telus claims that AMC is playing rough to get better terms for its shows and that in the midst of carriage negotiations, the cable powerplayer breached the companies’ long-established deal by trying to pull the plug with a termination letter dated September 27. The lawsuit says AMC took it up a notch during talks by pledging to run a crawl during Sunday’s record-breaking Season 4 debut of Walking Dead warning Canadian viewers that they wouldn’t be able to see the conclusion of the series unless Telus agreed to a new deal by October 11. While the crawl never happened, this lawsuit in the Southern District of New York has. Although different in the details, this could end up being similar in consequences to the dispute AMC had with Dish Network last year that saw the satcaster boot the broadcaster off its systems for more than four months before a deal was reached.
AMC Prepping ‘Walking Dead’ Companion Series Produced By Robert Kirkman & Gale Anne Hurd For 2015 Premiere
AMC is expanding another successful series into a scripted franchise. After giving the go-ahead last week to Better Call Saul, a spinoff series from Breaking Bad, the network just announced that it is in the initial stages of developing a companion series to mega hit The Walking Dead. The new drama series has a target on-air date of 2015. It will be will be executive produced by The Walking Dead executive producers Robert Kirkman, Gale Anne Hurd and David Alpert for AMC Studios. “Building on the success of the most popular show on television for adults 18-49 is literally a no-brainer,” said Charlie Collier, AMC’s president and general manager. He noted that the companion series will have “an entirely new story and cast of characters”. “It’s a big world and we can’t wait to give fans another unforgettable view of the zombie apocalypse,” he said. Added Kirkman, on whose comic The Walking Dead was based. “After 10 years of writing the comic book series and being so close to the debut of our fourth, and in my opinion, best season of the TV series, I couldn’t be more thrilled about getting the chance to create a new corner of The Walking Dead universe. The opportunity to make a show that isn’t tethered by the events of the comic book, and is truly a blank page, has set my creativity racing.”
Thomas J. McLean is an AwardsLine contributor.
Although sci-fi, horror and fantasy programs have long been among the most popular with viewers, popularity with Emmy voters has been tougher to come by. For every Game Of Thrones—which earned 17 Emmy noms, including drama series—there’s a Walking Dead left nearly empty-handed. In fact, AMC’s zombie-apocalypse drama earned just two below-the-line noms, despite a critically acclaimed performance from leading man Andrew Lincoln and a record-breaking year in ratings.
Related: EMMYS: Drama Series Overview
It’s little comfort knowing that The Walking Dead is far from alone. The series is following an Emmy pattern established by hugely popular and influential TV franchises—such as Star Trek, Stargate SG-1 and Buffy The Vampire Slayer—that earned awards attention almost exclusively for visual effects, sound, music and makeup. And when it comes to the most visible Primetime Emmy categories, a mere handful of genre shows have broken through to nominations—and even fewer wins: The X-Files, Lost and, most recently, HBO’s Game Of Thrones and FX’s American Horror Story.
BREAKING… UPDATED: The announcement was made at the conclusion of The Walking Dead‘s world premiere trailer (see it below) for Season 4 just shown at Comic-Con. AMC will premiere the new season of its zombie drama October 13 at 9 PM. “Things are going to get crazier,” promised exec producer Robert Kirkman of the series’ fall return, which sees the survivors thrown together and hunkered down inside the prison. Andrew Lincoln’s Rick will find himself in a new emotional state after going sociopath last season. “He’s trying to repress his brutality and he’s renounced quite a number of responsibilities in terms of the leadership, for the sake of his children,” said Lincoln.
The panel’s sprawling lineup led by Kirkman and new showrunner Scott Gimple went deep into discussion of the emotional toll survival has taken on The Walking Dead‘s living. “No one goes unscathed,” remarked Chad Coleman who added that “eventually, a can of whoopass might be opened.” Even David Morrissey, whose villainous Governor ended last season with a brutal bloodbath, empathized with the pressures weighing on his character’s mind. “At the end of last season he was in a very dark place,” he said, drawing fans’ laughter with the understatement of the hour. “He went after all but two of his people. He didn’t kill them all! Give him a break.”
Opening-day highlights abound, including a 10th anniversary tribute to The Walking Dead comic with writer Robert Kirkman, South Park creators Trey Parker and Matt Stone discussing their upcoming video game South Park: The Stick of Truth, and a panel titled Video Games to Movies: Is The Golden Age Upon Us?
There’s lots of TV in the Thursday spotlight, including sessions dedicated to such shows as Dexter, Sherlock — sans stars Benedict Cumberbatch and Martin Freeman — the 35th anniversary of Battlestar Galactica and Annoying Orange. Among the dozens of panels are several geared toward making it in the business, including Marvel: Breaking Into Comics the Marvel Way, The Secrets of Writing Science Fiction and Fantasy, The Writer’s Journey: Breaking Into Hollywood and Comic Scriptwriting, Breaking Into Comics and Staying In, and Indie Comics Marketing and PR 101. There also are programs on such potentially intriguing topics as Toys 101: An Evolution of the Modern Action Figure, The Legendary Animators of Classic ’60s Cartoons, Video Gaming: Where We’ve Been, Where We Are and Where We’re Going, and – especially — Not Guilty Due to Zombification? Law and Forensic Psychiatry in a Zombie Apocalypse.
See the complete opening-day rundown after the jump:
LOS ANGELES – July 1, 2013 – Gale Anne Hurd’s Valhalla Entertainment is expanding its development teams in both television and features with Stacey Levin being named Senior Vice President of Television, the addition of Meredith Ditlow as Director of Development and the upping of Phillip Kobylanski to Creative Executive.Levin joined Valhalla in August of 2012 and has played an integral part in Valhalla’s current development slate, including period drama Horizon for the USA Network, which begins production this summer. Additional series set up since Levin joined the company include Crash and Burn at FX, Alien Hunter at SyFy, and projects at USA, E!, AMC, A&E, History, Discovery and NBC.
Michael Ausiello is Editor-in-Chief of TVLine.
If there were an Emmy category for rawness, Andrew Lincoln wouldn’t just be under consideration for a nomination, he’d be the frontrunner for the win. The work the actor did on AMC’s The Walking Dead this past season as grieving Sheriff Rick Grimes felt so real that, at times, it was difficult to watch. (He didn’t even watch himself!) Here, the 39-year-old Englishman opens up about how he approached his widowed character’s breakdown and whether he thinks Emmy voters will be able to overcome their genre bias to give him and his hit cable series a chance.
AwardsLine: It was such an intense season for you. How did you recover and wind down after playing all of that rage and desolation?
Andrew Lincoln: It is a brutal and dark place you have to inhabit, but I’m very good at disengaging. And there’s no better way to unplug than having children. Changing diapers is one of the most leveling things that has ever happened to me. Realizing that my children are the center of the universe and not me is probably one of the greatest ways to acclimatize.
AwardsLine: Your former leading lady, Sarah Wayne Callies (who plays Lori, his TV wife), told me last fall, “When Andrew goes down the rabbit hole, he goes all the way down.” What did she mean exactly?
Lincoln: I love acting. I just love it. It’s in my bones. I remember when I was a kid, I watched an interview with Dennis Hopper talking about Jimmy Dean on the set of Rebel Without A Cause. Jimmy said to him, “If you’ve got to cry in a scene, you’ve got to cry. Make it real.” And that’s all that I believe in.
Thomas J. McLean is an AwardsLine contributor.
For sound editors and mixers, the broadening of TV’s audio palette into feature-film territory requires a lot of work and plenty of tricks to get shows to sound as good as they look on tight budgets and even tighter schedules. “I spend quite a bit of time trying to find the right people who can do feature-quality work but not take feature time,” says Tim Kimmel, supervising sound editor on HBO’s epic fantasy series Game Of Thrones. With 10 hourlong episodes to complete in about five months and a tight schedule on the production pipeline, work often continues until the last minute. “By the time we finish mixing the show, we’re still waiting on final visual effects, so we will end up going back into episodes that were basically completed,” Kimmel explains.