AMC has two of the most acclaimed scripted series on TV, "Mad Men" and the ending-soon "Breaking Bad," as well as "Hell on Wheels" and the giant ratings hit "The Walking Dead," but the rest of its original programming schedule is sparse and slowly being filled out with cheaper, faster-to-turn-out unscripted shows. The latest to get the greenlight from the network is "Road Show" (working title), a reality series that will "organizes competitions in small towns across the country, featuring local talent who get the chance of a lifetime to be in the spotlight."
So, it's like "America's Got Talent," but even more regional -- as the network's EVP of original programing Joel Stillerman describes it, it's "the local talent show writ large, and will focus on the personal stories as much as the actual talent competition." Each episode will start with open call auditions for any kind of act, and four finalists will be chosen to perform at talent show held at a venue in town. The series' mentors, a director and a choreographer, will coach the contestants as they prepare for the "Big Show."
AMC's ordered eight hour-long episodes of "Road Show," which was created and is being executive produced by Laurie Girion (“Welcome to Sweetie Pies”) -- the network also renewed the unscripted "Small Town Security," which premiered in July alongside "Breaking Bad." Both "Road Show" and "Small Town Security" will air in the second quarter of 2013.
The move into the talent competition genre (clearly a healthy one in terms of ratings at the moment) is a relatively new one for AMC. The network did recently renew "The Pitch," its unscripted series that pitted two ad agencies against each other in a bid for a new account. In August, the network announced two more new reality series, one workplace-centric and set at the Venice Beach Freakshow, the other a competitive taxidermy show.
Kevin Smith's own unscripted AMC series "Comic Book Men" returns for a second season on Sunday, October 14 at 11:30pm, having been retooled into a half-hour show that's less focused on the "Pawn Stars"-style sale aspect the first season embraced.