Reviews Joining Lineup at AMC

Dec 6, 2004  •  Post A Comment

Movie channel AMC is adding a movie-review show to its marquee.

“Movie Club With John Ridley” will debut Dec. 17 with an episode looking at the current crop of holiday releases. The network has ordered seven more episodes that will run Friday nights at 11 p.m. beginning Jan. 14. The show will repeat on Sunday mornings at 10:30, preceding “Sunday Morning Shootout. “

“This is a flavor we should absolutely have on AMC,” said Rob Sorcher, who joined AMC two years ago as senior VP of programming and production and who has been adding original shows to the lineup. “It brings currency to the network. We show movies from all decades, and this is reviewing current releases in order to make the connection from the past to the present. It’s powerful for us and it’s also a service for viewers.”

“Movie Club” is hosted by Mr. Ridley, an author and a former producer of “Third Watch” and producer of the feature film “Undercover Brother.” In addition to his behind-the-scenes work in Hollywood, Mr. Ridley has appeared on “The Dennis Miller Show” and as a commentator on National Public Radio. Mr. Ridley will be joined by a rotating panel of critics, including Nathan Rabin of The Onion, Anderson Jones of CNN Headline News, Dr. Josh Kun of the San Francisco Bay Guardian and the University of California Riverside and Zorianna Kit of KTLA-TV, Los Angeles.

“What we’ve tried to do is not reinvent the movie review format, but to in some ways revitalize it,” said Dave Ladik, VP of original programming and development for AMC.

“We want to get multiple perspectives,” Mr. Ridley said, referring to the roster of panelists of different ages and backgrounds. “We’re going to make it a dialogue rather than a monologue.”

Mr. Ridley said his role as moderator will be to “challenge [the panelists] about what they’re saying about a film, whether they love it or hate it.”

Mr. Ladik said Mr. Ridley will be a key ingredient. He said that while most of the time “those who can, make movies and those who can’t, review movies,” Mr. Ridley “is someone who has written, directed, produced movies and television. He has a wealth of experience in the field, which we loved about him, but also, what we found that’s better is he is an incredibly charismatic, charming, intelligent and telegenic personality.”

Some of the panels’ extended discussions and extra movie reviews will be available on AMC’s Web site, Mr. Ladik said.

The network made a 10-show order for “Movie Club,” including three test shows, according to Mr. Ridley. That should take the show through February.

The network had its best ratings ever in November, delivering 468,000 adults 18 to 49 in prime time, up 23 percent from a year ago, according to Nielsen Media Research.

Mr. Sorcher has been layering on original programming. Some shows, such as the documentary series “The AMC Project,” which take on controversial subjects, are designed to draw attention to AMC. “FilmFakers,” a reality show in which actors are hired to work on a spoof movie set, is designed to bring new eyeballs to the network, he said.

With “Movie Club” and “Sunday Morning Shootout,” the network is building “a Hollywood insiders’ block,” Mr. Sorcher said. “Both have authority about the movies,” he said. “They talk about movies in an intelligent way and sometimes with a passion that a fan has.”