AMC has been at the forefront of the Golden Age of Television. The network has made some innovative programming choices: A one-hour show about a teacher dying of cancer who deals in drugs and murder? They made it a hit. A character-driven drama about the wild world of advertising? Done. Now it’s taking an innovative approach to keeping shows on the air: Variety reports that the bigwigs at AMC suggest that if you want the shows that you tell everyone that you love to keep going, start fucking watching them.
Halt And Catch Fire is a perfect example. Currently entering its second season on the network, Halt And Catch Fire is a drama about computer programmers in the early ’80s attempting to perfect a laptop in the first season and what appears to be the internet this year. Critics like it, but the ratings aren’t there. “We think the show is good,” AMC CEO Josh Sappan said at a recent meeting of the Basic Cable Illuminati in New York. “We’d like the number to be higher on Halt.” That’s industry slang for: Watch the fucking show when it’s on. Don’t steal it off a torrent site or wait to binge-watch it in your own filth when you should be spending time with your family. Watch it like a normal person, one episode a week, and talk about it with your co-workers at the break table. Maybe they can DVR it too. Jesus fucking Christ.
Turn, a spy drama set against the backdrop of the Revolutionary War, is also struggling to get viewership, but Sappan notes that ratings for the show improved toward the end of its sophomore year. Turn’s producers shouldn’t worry too much, though—AMC will keep Hell On Wheels rolling until at least 2016, so there is an audience for period dramas out there.
In the meantime, AMC is subsidizing its numbers with spin-offs of pre-established hits. The Breaking Bad prequel, Better Call Saul, did very well for the network in its inaugural season, and AMC is looking to squeeze a little more juice out of the zombie fad (before Frankensteins become the next big thing) with Fear The Walking Dead, the assumed prequel to Hug The Walking Dead. Also on the queue is the Preacher adaptation and a martial arts drama, now called Into The Badlands. And listen, all AMC is asking that if you want these to new shows to last, for the love of God just set your DVR. You don’t even need to watch them. Just let it play while you’re binging on Orange Is The New Black on Netflix.