AMC Greenlights Afghanistan Drama Pilot ‘White City’

Drama will center on an ex-pat who tragically overreaches while attempting to connect with insurgent leaders

Last Updated: July 25, 2014 @ 10:59 AM

AMC is heading to Afghanistan with its latest project.

The network has given the greenlight to the drama pilot “White City,” which is billed as “a gripping geopolitical drama focused on Western diplomats and journalists living in Afghanistan.”

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The story is set in the somewhat surreal ex-pat world of near-present Afghanistan and focuses on Jon Liston, a war junkie who has spent the better part of the last decade in Kabul with a front-row seat to the carnage. In the pilot, against the advice of everyone from American embassy staffers to tweeting tribal leaders to the French journalist he’s in a relationship with, Liston tragically overreaches in an attempt to talk with insurgent leaders. In the series, Liston must find a new role in Kabul as he attempts to address his guilt, frustration and doubts about whether there is good left for him or any Westerner to do in Afghanistan.

The pilot hails from novelist Nick McDonell (“Twelve”), who’s covered Iraq and Afghanistan for Time, and John Dempsey, a former longtime resident of Kabul and senior advisor to late U.S. ambassador Richard D. Holbrooke. Both are co-writing and co-executive producing.

“Criminal Minds” and “Low Winter Sun” showrunner Chris Mundy and former Viacom CEO Tom Freston are also executive producing the pilot, which is being produced by AMC Studios.

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“This is a story born from a creative team in Chris, John, Nick and Tom that has both an incredibly deep understanding of one of the most misunderstood regions of the world, and a fantastic sense of how to tell a compelling story about the lives of people who are drawn to the world’s hot spots,” said Joel Stillerman, AMC’s executive vice president of original programming, production and digital content. “It’s not a war story, it’s a character story that will tackle some of the most complicated issues of our time.”

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