The show's third season rated higher than new cop drama "Low Winter Sun," and Sapan said the cancellation "was done with some reluctance. We did make an evaluation that was made over a long period of time as to whether the show was ultimately sustainable and the best economic thing we could do from a resource point of view. It was not an easy decision and ultimately a business decision that caused us not to go forward with it.
Among the new shows coming up for AMC will be Revolutionary War drama "Washington Spies," from "Nikita's" Craig Silverstein, which the network is "very encouraged" by after seeing its pilot.
One marketing challenge will be selling it to viewers. He compared it to "Mad Men," saying that "the logline doesn't do it justice." After saying "Mad Men" is "set at an ad agency in the 1960s, then what?" he said. "It's not that easy to describe what it is." "Washington Spies" is just as much a character study as Matthew Weiner's series, Sapan added.
Also ordered are Chris Cantwell and Chris Rogers' "Halt & Catch Fire," set in Silicon Valley during the personal computer boom in the 1980s, and the sci-fi series "Line of Sight," from "Brotherhood's" Blake Masters.
These shows are being introduced as "Breaking Bad" and "The Killing" end this year and "Mad Men" winds down next year.
Sundance Channel has doubled viewership from 27 million to 50 million since AMC purchased the channel four years ago.
Sapan said AMC Networks has "put some money" into adding more dramatic programming to the network as it moves to become a channel fully reliant on advertising revenue on Sept. 30 -- after the cabler started as a mini-pay TV service before evolving into a digital quasi-basic TV service, then a more realized basic service that's ad supported.
While the move is expected to make it a more attractive and valuable vehicle that can command more attention, the opportunity to monetize the network's programming isn't as robust as that at AMC given the more indie film pedigree at Sundance.
"We've been working on that for four years," Sapan said. "In anticipation of that, we began doing more original programming."
As a result, it's focused on airing more miniseries that "are a little different" like "Restless," "Top of the Lake," "Rectify" and the upcoming "The Red Road" and "The Honorable Woman," which will star Maggie Gyllenhaal.
It will "step up a bit" and spend more to market the shows "if we think a series has an opportunity to be a real shot in the arm for Sundance," like "Rectify," Sapan said.
IFC will add two new comedies, produced by Will Ferrell, Ben Stiller and Odenkirk, while WE TV will add its first scripted series, "The Divide," alongside the network's nonfiction reality shows.
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