AMC (TV channel)
AMC is an American multinational basic cable television channel that is the flagship property of AMC Networks. The channel’s programming primarily consists of theatrically released films, along with a limited amount of original programming. The channel’s name originally stood for “American Movie Classics”, but since 2002 the full name has been de-emphasized as a result of a major shift in its programming.
As of July 2015, AMC was received by approximately 94,832,000 households in the United States that subscribe to a pay television service (81.5% of U.S. households with at least one television set). In March 2015, Dish Network’s Sling TV announced it would soon begin making AMC channels available to cord cutters, including AMC, BBC America, IFC, Sundance TV, and We TV.
Further information: List of programs broadcast by AMC
Although movies remain an integral part of AMC’s schedule, the network has garnered attention in recent years for its original series. The channel’s first original series was the game show The Movie Masters, which ran from 1989 to 1990 and was otherwise notable for being Gene Rayburn’s last hosting role; outside Remember WENN and Filmfakers, most of AMC’s original programming prior to September 2007 consisted of film history-related documentary and review programs. The establishment of Mad Men in 2007, followed by that of Breaking Bad in 2008, has given AMC a reputation on par with premium cable networks HBO and Showtime, both of which rejected Mad Men before it came to AMC.
AMC also airs acquired programming, ranging from black-and-white filmed shows (such as The Rifleman and shorts from The Three Stooges) to contemporary series (such as CSI: Miami).
AMC maintains movie licensing rights agreements with Warner Bros. Entertainment, Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer (including films from United Artists and library content from The Samuel Goldwyn Company, Orion Pictures, and Cannon Group), Universal Studios, Paramount Pictures, Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures (primarily film content from Touchstone Pictures and 20th Century Studios) and Sony Pictures Entertainment (including Columbia Pictures, TriStar Pictures, Sony Pictures Classics, Screen Gems, and Triumph Films). Since the 2003 format change, the network’s film telecasts usually are “television” cuts meant for basic cable, which feature content edits, dubbing of profanities, and some time edits by removing some superfluous plotting or toning down scenes with adult content inappropriate for basic cable broadcast to fit within a set timeslot with commercials added.
In 1997, AMC launched Monsterfest, a popular week-long marathon of horror movies and thrillers that aired in late October. In the mid-2000s, AMC started a Monsterfest blog on its website, which chronicled news on horror-related film and television productions. In addition, AMC presented “Fear Friday,” a horror movie double feature on late Friday evenings. On September 26, 2008, AMC announced the launch of a new horror-themed movie marathon for its October schedule called “Fearfest” (which replaced Monsterfest); coinciding with this, the “Monsterfest” blog was renamed as the “Horror Hacker” blog.
Best Christmas Ever
Main article: Best Christmas Ever (program block)
AMC had typically aired a rotating lineup of five to six Christmas movies during the holiday season. In 2017, the channel introduced a more extensive holiday lineup branded as Best Christmas Ever, running from November 26 to December 25, featuring a mix of popular Christmas and family films, along with other acquired specials. The schedule included notable acquisitions from Warner Bros., including Elf, National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation, The Polar Express, I’ll Be Home for Christmas, and 12 Rankin/Bass specials (the films had been recent mainstays of Freeform’s competing 25 Days of Christmas schedule, with Elf in particular having received extensive airplay and high viewership during the event), as well as other specials from DreamWorks Animation. As expected, AMC saw ratings gains over the holiday season; primetime viewership for the first two weeks of the event was up 40% year-over-year, airings of Elf and Christmas Vacation both peaked at 1.5 million viewers, and average viewership of feature films on Freeform fell by 36% year-over-year in the same period.
AMC Premiere is an add-on subscription service only available as an extra to those already normally subscribed to AMC. It involves access to an expanded On-Demand library compared to the standard “AMC OnDemand” library packaged with the usual cable service. This is necessary to view many “locked” programs on the AMC website (such as complete availability to The Walking Dead all ten seasons) which prompts someone to subscribe for ~$5/mo or ~$30/yr. For currently-airing programs it sometimes gives early access to viewing them before they debut on the main AMC channel.
AMC+ is a premium, commercial-free streaming bundle that includes the same benefits of AMC Premiere, early access to additional AMC series, as well as additional library content from sister networks BBC America, IFC, and SundanceTV, and the complete collections of fellow AMC Networks streaming services Shudder, Sundance Now and IFC Films Unlimited. The service is available over-the-top through Prime Video Channels and Apple TV Channels for about $8.99 per month, and at a reduced price for existing AMC channel subscribers via Xfinity, Dish Network and Sling TV Rogers. Like AMC Premiere, it is currently only available in the United States.