AMC's current unscripted series slate — Kevin Smith's "Comic Book Men," ad agency competition show "The Pitch" and the current "Small Town Security" — have yet to make anything like the impact of the network's flagship scripted dramas "Mad Men," "Breaking Bad" and "The Walking Dead." (In fact "Talking Dead," the live Chris Hardwick-hosted talk show that runs after episodes of the zombie series, might be the most successful of the bunch.)
But unscripted series are significantly cheaper and easier to make than scripted ones, which explains why AMC announced today that they're on board with two new nonfiction shows and are renewing "The Pitch" for a second season.
The new unscripted shows, both of which are slated to run for eight half-hour long episodes, are about the dedicatedly quirky topics of taxidermy and establishing a freak show.
"Untitled Taxidermy Series" (a working title, obviously) is a hosted competition show featuring different contestants each week who compete in front of three judges to create a piece of artwork showcasing the craft of taxidermy.
"Venice Beach Freakshow" (also a working title) is a family drama focused on former music producer Todd Ray, his wife Danielle and their two kids, Asia and Phoenix, as they own and operate the Venice Beach Freakshow, a museum that exhibits "strange creatures, living oddities and human attractions."
Per AMC original programming EVP Joel Stillerman, "Behind the marquee of the 'Venice Beach Freakshow' is an extended family drama that shows what it takes to give up everything and pull together to make a family business a success. 'Untitled Taxidermy Series' features the art-form of taxidermy, which can be as outrageous and shocking as it is beautiful."
Both series are slated to premiere in the first quarter of 2013. Season two of "The Pitch," which will consist of eight hour-long episodes, will hit in the second quarter of 2013, potentially getting paired once again with the thematically similar "Mad Men."