Can AMC strike Emmy gold again with ‘The Killing’?

AMC has changed the television landscape over the last few years as It has gone from a little-seen basic cable outlet specializing in rerunning old movies (hence the name “American Movie Classics”) to a bona fide competitor with HBO, Showtime and FX as the home of quality adult drama.

The net recently announced it had picked up crime drama “The Killing” for a full 13-episode season, and slated it to premiere March next year. Does AMC have another potential hit on its hands and possible awards magnet, much like its two biggest hits “Mad Men” and “Breaking Bad”?

AMC has garnered critical and industry praise for its high profile drama series. Earlier this year AMC received a staggering 26 Emmy nominations. It is the only network to ever win three consecutive Golden Globe awards for best dramatic series (“Mad Men,” 2008, 2009, 2010).  That show has three consecutive Emmy wins as Best Drama Series while “Breaking Bad” star Bryan Cranston has racked up three in a row as Best Drama Actor.

Most recently, “The Walking Dead” premiered to killer ratings and positive fan reaction and reviewer response, and just hit a series-high six million viewers for the finale of its truncated six episode first season, breaking records as the most watched drama series in basic cable history in the 18-49 demo. While “Rubicon” ranks as the network’s first failure to win over viewers, the conspiracy thriller garnered critical acclaim for its stylized portrayal of the intelligence community in the trenches and without the bells and whistles one might expect from the genre.

“The Killing” is described in in AMC’s press release as “a show which ties together three distinct stories around a single murder, including the detectives assigned to the case, the victim’s grieving family, and the suspects, as well as exploring local politics by following the politicians connected to the case.

Adapted from the Danish mini-series “Forbrydelsen” (“The Crime”), it stars Mireille Enos (“Big Love”) as the lead homicide detective investigating the murder of a young girl in Seattle, Washington. Also starring are Swedish actor Joel Kinnaman as homicide detective Stephen Holder, Golden Globe nominee Billy Campbell (for ABC’s “Once & Again” in 2000) as a politician running for mayor of Seattle, and Brent Sexton (“W.”) and Michelle Forbes (“Homicide: Life on the Street,” “True Blood”) as the grief-stricken parents of the murdered child.

The teaser trailer for the show released last week focuses on the pedigree cultivated by AMC over the last few years, bragging about its recent awards success stories, and quoting the Salt Lake Tribune (“Televisions Finest Programs”) and Cleveland Plain Dealer (“Best Programmer in Television”) as a way to persuade viewers and critics alike that “The Killing” will be yet another addition to AMC’s roster of appointment television. It’s still early days yet, but mark this one on your calendar and if it does well, expect it to feature prominently come Emmy time.

Image: “The Killing” logo (AMC)

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