The TV Thing

June 17th, 2006 | Work

I have been engaged by the American cable company AMC to write the half-hour pilot for a TV series I created. The contract calls the show “black comedy/science fiction.” Christina Wayne at AMC, who, along with Vlad Wolynetz have just been unreasonably good to deal with, recently described it as a “sf/entertainment-industry ‘dramedy’.”

As with all TV Things, everything could go horribly wrong. But this is the deal I’ve been waiting for, with people who understand the project and format I want to work in. And you know something’s going right when people in TV are telling you to go more experimental and take more risks. This isn’t your US network tv experience.

I’m writing the pilot at the moment. (And I should particularly thank Joss Whedon and John Rogers for their insights into the process.) More details will hopefully follow as the project progresses. Or, you know, a tearstained screed if it doesn’t.


42 Responses to “The TV Thing”

  1. EJACULATE

  2. AMC as in American Movie Classics? Or am I missing something?

  3. AMC as in American Movie Classics, who began their move into scripted TV last year. Turns
    out that running old movies 24/7 for a decade amassed a certain amount of capital for their Sekrit Plan of commissioning and producing original material. Clever, no?

  4. Okay. Linked. I wasn’t missing anything. Always good to know, that.

    This is now even more interesting to me, “The TV Thing,” now that I know where it’s ending up and the approach they’re taking (“more experimental and take more risks”)

  5. It’s kind of amazing and wonderful that all the good TV these days is found on cable channels.

  6. This is great news.

    It is heartening to hear that there are people in the TV industry that have realized that there’s a segment of the viewing public that will eagerly watch stuff that isn’t dumb as a bag of hammers.

    Um, sheeahtt, just remembered that AMC isn’t on my cable service’s basic plan. Fah.

  7. Awesome! It will be very nice to see a new Sci-Fi program on the air that isn’t a retread or continuation of a previous property. Of course, this statement excludes Firefly.

  8. Can you give us the tiniest hint as to what its about? Remember: when you get the Sin City people to to ptto produce one of your properties be a responsible billionaire and become the West’s anti-Rupert Murdoch. Bad Side: You’ll probably be killed. Good Side: You Could Rule the World.

  9. It’s about time Hollywood (Movies and TV) try something different. They’re about to choke to death on their own vomit!

  10. congratulations!

    and good luck!

  11. This should be fun television!

  12. A little advice for writing your script: you really can’t go wrong with a wacky neighbor.

    I’m just saying.

  13. First…those girls in the T-Shirts are hot!!! 2nd Joss Whedon is the new
    Rod Serling…and 3rd, Whedonesque.com is an unfair web site that throws anyone
    off of their web site who forms an opinion separate from their own. If
    You believe in freedom of speech…well, that’s good, because they don’t!

    -Signed, Blue Gloves

    You can’t stop the signal!!!!

  14. AMC, huh. Does anybody know a good website with the specs and directions to steal cable?

  15. i know a guy called kilo in my old apartment complex who could hook you UP but that’s about it, kelby.

  16. Good luck.

  17. We may not be ready for Warren’s notion of a wacky neighbor.

  18. this mean’s you’ll HAVE to come to LA.
    also, the new header of this website disturbes me.

  19. I think you’re the first to have noticed it.

  20. Holy shit. That header came out of nowhere.

  21. “And I should particularly thank Joss Whedon and John Rogers for their insights into the process.”

    You couldn’t ask for better help. Both are very talented and experienced TV writers. Good luck Warren, I look forward to another awesome story. Oh and if the pilot doesn’t get picked up/aired, I hope it leaks to the net like Rogers’ Global Frequency did. Why WB didn’t pick that up is beyond me. Stupid TV execs.

  22. Mm, I foresee good stuff. And I didn’t even make a sexual innuendo there. Good luck on the whole dealy-thingy.

  23. It seems to me that AMC has been trying to become the new TNT for a while now. I remember watching Luchino Visconti’s “The Leopard” for the first time on AMC; now they play some questionable classics. Original material sounds good.

  24. Congratulations! You will be made to sign in blood, so MILK THOSE FUCKERS FOR WHAT YOU’RE REALLY WORTH. So, if they rape and distort your ideas, at least you can cry all the way to the bank. Or a titty bar for a weeklong, at the very least.

  25. The TV series can be a really awesome medium. Can’t wait to see what you’ll do with it. Hopefully an Australian TV channel buys it.

  26. From the AMC FAQ: “Like most advertiser-supported networks, AMC edits programming for certain “objectionable” content, including nudity and offensive language. As a national network available on basic cable, AMC adheres to standards that will be acceptable to the majority of our viewers, our sponsors and our cable and satellite affiliates.”

    I’m guessing that just means fuck and tits are off limits–but I think that means we won’t be seeing much in the way of re-tooled Bad Signal.

  27. Now all we need is for Sorkin to follow Whedon on Astonishing, and for Moore to write an original script for a 6 part BBC miniseries, and the circle of life will come full… circle, I guess.

  28. The AICN TalkBack on this news represents the very best humanity has to offer the universe.

  29. Congratulations, good luck

  30. cool!
    is the pitching process any “easier” on the producers, this being a cable channel and all?

  31. Amazingly easier. You have no idea.

  32. On an only slightly related topic, Warren, did you work on a western with Nick Cave (I’m assuming the musician Nick Cave) that just got released here in the states? I swear I saw your name in a newspaper ad for it, but I’ve forgotten the movie’s title…

  33. Oh dear god.

  34. “Amazingly easier. You have no idea.”

    Ah. The power of the casting couch… he he.

  35. Peter Fries- That’s the non-British Warren Ellis of the Australian band the Dirty Three. By the by, that movie- “The Proposition”- is amazing. Western in colonial australia.

  36. […] The TV Thing: As with all TV Things, everything could go horribly wrong. But this is the deal I’ve been waiting for, with people who understand the project and format I want to work in. And you know something’s going right when people in TV are telling you to go more experimental and take more risks. This isn’t your US network tv experience. […]

  37. To what extent is Joss Whedon actually involved in the project?

  38. None at all.

  39. Is this an all new, ‘straight from my gaping frontal lobe’ property, or an adaptation of an existing work?

  40. Nevermind… just read the Ain’t It Cool article… all new… cool…
    (ellipsis are the Devil’s toothbrush)

  41. corsairbear — thanks, I feel really stupid for asking now. I didn’t even know there could be more than one Warren Ellis. That’s definitely the movie I was thinking of. Just opened in Seattle, apparently.

  42. For some reason, I’m reminded of the Swedish film “Zingo”.