AMC Orders Third Drama Pilot

Basic cabler behind Mad Men, Breaking Bad developing new political drama.

AMC has ordered a pilot for a new political drama that would be the third original series for the network.

The new untitled drama, starring James Badge Dale and Miranda Richardson, is a political thriller from writer Jason Horwitch, who wrote the well-regarded 2003 FX movie The Pentagon Papers. Sopranos alum Allen Coulter, who has directed multiple episodes of FX’s Damages, will direct the pilot.

The basic cabler recently established itself on the pop-culture radar with Breaking Bad and especially Mad Men, which in two seasons has become the darling of critics and award show juries.

“It’s never about quantity for us,” says AMC president Charlie Collier. “It’s about the right project. The good news on that approach is that it allows you to make sure you’re picking the right projects at the right time and nurturing them in a way that’s appropriate to the environment.”

Mad Men, this year’s Emmy winner for best drama (the first basic cable series to snag that award), recently picked up another smattering of Golden Globe nominations including best drama and best actor nods for Jon Hamm and January Jones. AMC ordered a third season of the show in August. Matthew Weiner, the show’s creator and executive producer is still in contract negotiations with studio Lionsgate. Collier said he is “incredibly optimistic” that Weiner will work out a new deal. Production on the third season of Mad Men is scheduled to begin in first quarter 2009.

The second season of Breaking Bad is scheduled to debut in March 2009.