Revisiting the AMC - Sony Rumor


Just days before we got the announcement of Sony Pictures Television being the studio who would bring The Wheel of Time to our screens, Narg was sent this rumor:
A friend of mine told me he has a friend who works at Sony who told him it's not Amazon but AMC that got the rights. I asked him to confirm and he said he would, but considering I told him Amazon and he said, No, it's AMC, and Sony's involved, too...well, I never mentioned Sony in any way, so he heard it first from his friend. Hope that helps.
Well since then apart from Rafe Judkins occasionally posting some photos of WoT books to Instagram or Twitter and Ted Field's lawyer saying an announcement was coming soon, we have been starved for information. Time to revisit the rumor!

The Sony part turned out to be true, what about the AMC part? Was it just blind luck that Narg received it days before or did the guys friend actually know something? Is the recent gossip on Facebook legit? Can lightning strike twice? Will revisiting this rumor mean an announcement will come days later? Only one way to find out!

Here goes nothing!

With The Walking Dead seemingly having reached its peak and now in a gradual ratings decline, AMC could be looking to The Wheel of Time to big their next big hit. Would Wheel of Time be a good fit for AMC though? Lets see.

The Walking DeadPreacherInto the Badlands are all extremely violent shows but don't have full sex scenes or a lot of swearing(AMC actually have guidelines that outline how many times certain words can be used in a season). That's the Vibe Narg gets from AMC. Based on that they are actually a pretty decent fit for Wheel of Time as RJ wrote it. Narg doesn't think the tone would differ much in the transition from book to screen and if they use the same fight choreographers(without the slow-mo aerial stuff) as Into The Badlands, the sword fights will rock!

The downside of  AMC is they are very stingy on budgets. The Walking Dead is estimated to be around only $3 million per episode and the original showrunner quit over it.

Some quick estimated figures based on news reports for comparison:

Game of Thrones(HBO) - $6M, $10 million for season six(10 episodes)
American Gods(Starz) - $7.5 M/Episode($60M over 8 episodes)
Outlander(Starz) - $4.69 million($75M over 16 episodes)
Camelot(Starz) - $7M/Episode
Rome(HBO) - $10M/Episode
Spartacus: Blood and Sand(Starz) - $5M/Episode
Da Vinci's Demons(Starz/BBC) - $4M/Episode
The Last Kingdom(BBC) - $6.4M/Episode

On that list, Outlander like The Wheel of Time is produced by Sony and it looks pretty good for the smallish budget it gets per episode. Sony can do wonders on a small budget. One would expect WoT to be more expensive due the the fantasy elements, so anything less than around $5M per episode and you'd really have to fear for how it will turn out.

AMC may stay truer to the books in tone than other networks, but there will likely have to be major story changes to make it work on a small budget if AMC stay true to form. They also tend to have very short first season's(6 episodes) for risky new shows and then slowly add more for each additional season. Walking Dead, Fear the Walking Dead and Badlands all had 6 episode first seasons, though The Terror did get ten, 1 hour episodes more recently. Narg is not sure if EotW can be condensed into six episodes but ten would be perfect in Narg's opinion.

 AMC did do a deal with Amazon for international rights back in November:
Amazon Prime Video will get a raft of AMC series on an exclusive basis across 28 territories after inking an output deal with AMC Studios, the programming arm of the U.S. cable network.
The agreement hands Amazon the AMC shows in an exclusive first window, meaning they will be on the Prime Video service ahead of any other streaming platform, pay-TV service, or free TV.
Australia, Germany, Italy, India, and Japan are among the territories covered. “The Terror,” a series produced by Ridley Scott about an Arctic expedition gone wrong, is the first title covered by the deal.
This deal may allow them to put more money into their shows and take more risk...hopefully!

In Narg's original post on this rumor, he did find one connection between AMC and The Wheel of Time.
AMC interviewed Brandon Sanderson 8 years ago about being picked to finish Wheel of Time. One of the questions was "Universal has optioned the series. Do you think it’s possible to make a movie of this scope?". 
So not only was someone over at AMC interested in The Wheel of Time they also seemed to be thinking that WoT was to big in scope to work in movie format. Narg finds it odd AMC even interviewed Sanderson on their site but maybe they interview people all the time about stuff that has no relation to their shows?
Does that mean anything? Who knows, but Narg found it interesting.

Time will tell!

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