‘Breaking Bad’ And ‘Walking Dead’ Updates

Friday, January 7 by

AMC Snr. VP of Original Programming Joel Stillerman introduced AMC’s session for the Television Critics Association winter press tour. The presentation was for the new series “The Killing,” but first he had some news about their established hits. Perhaps hinting at the writer firings on “Walking Dead,” Stillerman hinted about the changes coming to season two.

“Frank Darabont, Gale Ann Hurd, Robert Kikman, Dave Alpert, Greg Nicotero, and the rest of the crew [are] figuring out where to take the zombie apocalypse from here,” Stillerman said. “We lost a few along the way as sometimes happens in’The Walking Dead,’ but a few surprises in there as well. Shane, Jon Bernthal, lives for season two so we’re going to keep it fresh and it’ll be back and better than ever.”

The network’s darling “Mad Men” is on hold. They must be waiting for Jon Hamm now that he’s a movie star. “’Mad Men’ is definitively coming back for season five, although don’t ask me when because we’re not quite sure yet, but it will be and we’ll let you know as soon as we do,” Stillerman said.

“Breaking Bad” is back in full swing. “’Breaking Bad’ starts shooting on Thursday of next week, season four. Last year was so spectacular, we kind of wondered if Vince [Gilligan] had something up his sleeve to take it to the next level and he clearly does. Where Walt, Jesse and Gus the chicken man and Hank and the rest of the crew go in season four is truly phenomenal.”

Stillerman also gave some details on their next original series, “Hell on Wheels.” “’Hell on Wheels’ is AMC’s return to the original western. To date ‘Broken Trail’ is still the biggest event on AMC ever. It’s a genre that’s vital to our channel. If you look at ‘True Grit,’ it’s a genre that continues to be vital in every imaginable way and continues to be able to be reinvented and incredibly potent. We think we have a phenomenal show on ‘Hell on Wheels.’”

You know that on AMC, this won’t be some “Rawhide” remake. “It’s very much a western, a post Civil War revenge story but there’s bones of great period drama in there as well, a la There Will Be Blood, with the telling of the story of the construction of the first transcontinental railroad, which is as dramatic and compelling a story as there is in American history. David Von Ancken did a phenomenal job directing the pilot. Our studios at E1, producers at Endemol, a phenomenal cast: Dominique McElliqott, Colm Meaney, the incredible Wes Studi. As soon as the snow melts in Calgary, we’re going to start shooting season two and let you know when that will be coming back.”