AMC Studios Head Says Network Is ‘Optimally Positioned’ Following Layoffs, Scrapped Shows

Winter TCA: “This has been a difficult but important process,” Dan McDermott said

Dan McDermott AMC Networks
Dan McDermott speaks at AMC Networks Summit 2022 at 74Wythe on Sept. 28, 2022 in New York City. (Craig Barritt/Getty Images for AMC Networks)

AMC Studios head and president of original programming Dan McDermott said AMC Networks is “optimally positioned” as a business following layoffs and scrapped series, which the executive said is emblematic of streaming’s course-correction following external and internal challenges.

“As human behavior continues to evolve, our industry is experiencing a necessary period of reflection and correction,” McDermott told journalists during Tuesday’s Winter Television Critics Association press tour held at the Langham in Pasadena.

He continued, “Factors including rising inflation, challenging ad market, too many shows and an over reliance on streaming metrics that don’t necessarily deliver profitability have caused most content companies, including ourselves, to take stock and recalibrate their forward path. And this has been a difficult but important process.”

Last year, AMC Networks — whose channels include AMC, WE tv, BBC America, IFC, SundanceTV and AMC Studios, along with SVOD services AMC+, Acorn TV, Shudder, Sundance Now, ALLBLK (formerly UMC) and Sentai-owned HIDIVE — initiated a “large-scale layoff” affecting roughly 20% of staff. The cable-based streamer also saw the abrupt departure of CEO Christina Spade after just three months, in addition to nosediving shares.

A week ago, AMC pulled the plug on Season 2 of “61st Street” starring Courtney B. Vance, which had already been filmed. It also axed previously greenlit series “Invitation to a Bonfire,” with Tatiana Maslany and which had already shot four episodes. The “strategic” moves point to AMC’s focus on expanding “The Walking Dead” universe and leveraging acquired rights to the Anne Rice universe, with “Interview With the Vampire” and “Mayfair Witches,” which McDermott touted as the biggest launch of any new series in the history of AMC+ in viewership.

“At AMC, we’ve taken critical steps so that going forward, we’re optimally positioned as a lean, progressive, forward-facing organization, poised to take advantage of the myriad opportunities in the marketplace,” McDermott said.