In the early 2000s, HBO dominated television with quality programming such as “the Sopranos” and “Band of Brothers”; it was hard to imagine any channel broadcasting better television dramas than the HBO, much less one named American Movie Classics. Still, in 2007when the first episode of “Mad Men” aired on AMC. The entire landscape of network programming changed.
AMC’s “Mad Men” started off poorly with low ratings. But the period drama showcasing style, sex and substance quickly grew in popularity through massive critical acclaim and word of mouth. AMC’s “Mad Men” led the charge and a meteoric rise for the network dish out one quality programming after another. A year later, “Breaking Bad” began, which by the end of its first season had gained the reputation of being television’s best drama, giving AMC a one-two programming punch which most channels could only dream of. With the start of “The Walking Dead” in 2010, AMC created network television history and topped every rating chart. Even the lesser known shows such as “Rubicon” “Hell on Wheels” and “The Killing” have enjoyed critical and commercial success.
In the past decade, nearly every AMC original series has received high critical acclaim. “Mad Men” and “Breaking Bad” have won 25 Emmy Awards between them, and there would have been more if they weren’t competing with one another. “The Walking Dead” Season 3 premiere created basic cable history shattering records with 10.9 million viewers and even the lesser known shows like “Hell on Wheels” also enjoyed a solid 3.1 million viewers per episode in its inaugural season.
So, how does a network AMC known for showing grey-tone cinema AMC stands for ‘American Movie Classics’) turn into a source for some of the best television drama in the history of the medium? Such unparalleled success was possible mainly due to two main factors – great product and focused marketing.