AMC Orders Musical-Dramedy Anthology Series From ‘Contagion’ Writer Scott Z Burns

“Breaking Bad” producer Mark Johnson to EP as part of overall deal with AMC Studios

As the coronavirus pandemic halts production on nearly every TV show, AMC has greenlit a new eight-part musical dramedy anthology series from none other than the writer of “Contagion,” Scott Z. Burns.

Called “National Anthem,” the series is described as “the tragically funny story of a middle-class Midwestern family tumbling down the ladder of American society, periodically bursting into song as they struggle to catch themselves.”

“National Anthem” is executive produced by Mark Johnson, whose impressive list of produced-by credits include “Breaking Bad,” “Better Call Saul,” “Rain Man,” “The Chronicles of Narnia” and “The Rookie.” This is the first series of Johnson’s to be greenlit under his overall deal with AMC.

T Bone Burnett, whose past projects have included “Crazy Heart” and “The Hunger Games,” serves as the series’ music producer, with Craig Finn (“The Hold Steady”) attached to write words and music.

Burns is also known for directing Amazon’s “The Report,” and for writing “The Bourne Ultimatum,” “The Informant!” and “The Laundromat.” He also produced the Oscar-winning documentary “An Inconvenient Truth.”

“National Anthem is a family drama with deep resonant things to say about the fragility of our country, our world and our planet. Plus… it’s a musical! In Scott’s genius hands this results in a hugely original, intense, funny and moving piece of writing,” said Sarah Barnett, president of AMC Networks’ Entertainment Group and AMC Studios. “We’re so happy to work with Scott as he brings this unique story to life and absolutely delighted to continue our creative partnership with Mark, who we have been so lucky to work with on some of the most critically acclaimed series over the last decade.”

“Craig, T Bone and I are thrilled to be working with Mark and AMC. We are so grateful for the chance to write about this moment in time and surround our characters with songs,” Burns said. “Sarah and Susie and everyone at AMC should be celebrated for their vision in saying ‘yes’ to this.”

“I still can’t believe that AMC and I have been able to assemble this dream team of storytellers,” Johnson said.  “We are poised to create something both singular and entertaining, told with moments, dialogue and song.”