What’s Really Going On at AMC?

Vulture’s Josef Adalian takes a look at television network AMC, their PR struggles this summer, and how that fits into the growing business of the network.

Most of AMC’s rivals have sister studios that can help shoulder the costs of production, or international distribution arms that can dramatically boost a show’s profitability. For example, consider the case of a gritty, critically acclaimed but relatively low-rated series, TNT’s Southland, which is produced and aired by Warner Bros.–owned properties. “Nobody in Brazil is interested in watching [Southland],” says an agent well-versed in back-end TV economics. “But that show makes money internationally because Warner Bros. tells [international] broadcasters, ‘Look, if you want the rights to Harry Potter or The Dark Knight, you have to take [Southland].’ The shows may never even air in those countries, but Warners will get paid. AMC can’t do that.” As if this all weren’t enough pressure, the decision to spin off AMC from Cablevision now means execs at the network are under even greater pressure than before to make the network’s economics work, and to maximize profits.

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