News

AMC Makes News

10/05/2008 8:00 PM Eastern

AMC is making news about entering the entertainment-news business.

The Rainbow Media Holdings-owned service will launch a newly created short-form programming strand that will appear on the network and also manifest online in a number of ways.

Akin to MTV News segments, the AMC News short-form fare will run on the network as interstitials. The service has secured Ford as a sponsor for the fourth quarter. The focus for the dedicated news unit will be on entertainment events, film premieres, major film festivals and industry awards shows.

While AMC has been garnering headlines and accolades for its Emmy wins — for Mad Men, the first basic-cable series to win outstanding drama series, and best actor for Breaking Bad's Bryan Cranston — the network is principally a movie outlet.

“AMC News is an extension of the brand,” said Mary Conlon, vice president of unscripted original programming. “The core of AMC remains movies. This helps us stay more current and relevant with viewers.”

Jacob Soboroff, the executive director of Why Tuesday?, a non-partisan group working to increase voter participation and a regular on-air and online contributor to NPR Weekend, will work as AMC News' on-air host. Soboroff has also served as a contributor to PBS and the Wired magazine series Wired Science.

“We looked at 30 different reels, and Jacob's stood out immediately,” Conlon said. “He doesn't just report stories, but he gets invested in them. Jacob talks to you, not at you.”

After soft-launching AMC News on-air in September with interviews with John Malkovich, Keira Knightley and Brad Pitt from screenings and red-carpet events during the Toronto Film Festival, Soboroff will officially begin talking for the network on Oct. 10.

“Opening Night” segments will debut each Friday night, with highlights from one film's red-carpet gala. First up: A trio of 30-second Soboroff segments from Body of Lies, the Warner Bros. theatrical, starring Russell Crowe and Leonardo DiCaprio, that opens in theaters the same night. The shorts will run inside AMC's presentation of The Princess Bride.

Conlon said the Ford-sponsored segments will then be interspersed throughout AMC's schedule, including primetime, until the next batch of interstitials are developed.

AMC News will also follow “Road to the Red Carpet” at the Golden Globes and the Emmy Awards, where Soboroff will talk with nominees and past winners.

In addition to Toronto, AMC News also plans on being on the scene at three other major film festivals: Sundance, Cannes and Tribeca.

Over time, Soboroff will also provide original reporting on politics, pop culture and the world of celebrity, with longer segments appearing on AMCtv.com, which also will be home to attendant blogs and vlogs.

September