When the network that’s producing the highest quality dramas on television – with a record of Mad Men, Breaking Bad, Rubicon, The Walking Dead, and The Killing, is there really an argument? – announces that it is delving into unscripted (read = reality) fare, it’s certainly something to take note of.
And not just one reality show, but two: AMC has ordered The Pitch, a “real life” Mad Men deal in which the art of the advertising campaign pitch is perfected and presented to corporate clients, and Inside the DHS, which delves into the bowels of the Department of Homeland Security. Due to the pedigree of the fast expanding cable channel no doubt, both shows are backed by reality TV veterans with The Pitch produced by Studio Lambert (Undercover Boss) and Inside the DHS produced by Pilgrim Films & Television (Top Shot, Dirty Jobs), reality blurred reports.
With AMC’s spate of new show orders over the next year plus – which includes the return of Mad Men, Breaking Bad, and The Walking Dead in addition to a new drama called Hell of Wheels – it’s becoming increasingly clear that they will by necessity expand beyond the network’s current Sunday night lineup of original programming. And that may help to influence when and where in the schedule Mad Men’s fifth season will fit in. Some have speculated that Thursday nights may be where AMC is headed, the very night that Mad Men debuted on in fact back when it was the only scripted program on a network known mostly for airing dusty old movies.
As a fan of quality television in whatever form it comes in (and make that media in general – I had a ball this weekend running the gamut from lowbrow to high as I enjoyed a double feature of Jackass 3D and Howl) I’m intrigued by what AMC will do with these new unscripted shows. With the exception of miniseries remake of The Prisoner (ambitious and cool in concept, terrible in execution), AMC has yet to make a false move. Okay, they never should have cancelled Rubicon, but you catch my point.