Carol Burnett to Guest Star in Sixth and Final Season of ‘Better Call Saul’

Six-time Emmy winner Carol Burnett will appear as a guest star in the sixth and final season of “Better Call Saul,” portraying a character named “Marion.” In addition to Burnett, as previously announced, Bryan Cranston and Aaron Paul will appear reprising their “Breaking Bad” roles of Walter White and Jesse Pinkman, respectively, as the show draws to its conclusion.

The series, produced by Sony Pictures Television, returns for its final episodes beginning July 11 at 9 p.m. ET/PT on AMC and AMC+, with the series finale on Aug. 15.  The final episodes will conclude the complicated journey and transformation of its compromised hero, Jimmy McGill (Bob Odenkirk), into criminal lawyer Saul Goodman.

“I’m thrilled to be a part of my favorite show,” 89-year-old Burnett said in a statement.

The series ended the first half of its current sixth season as the No. 1 acquisition driver in the history of the AMC+ streaming service, and the No. 3 cable drama for the current broadcast season in key demos. The mid-season finale on May 23 delivered more than 2.2 million viewers in Nielsen live+3 ratings.

Since its season premiere, “Better Call Saul” has generated more than 17 million engagements across social platforms, ranking as the No. 1 drama on broadcast and cable for conversation and organic search and the No. 1 cable drama in owned social engagement and content shares, according to data from ListenFirst.

Subscribe HERE to the FREE Media Play News Daily Newsletter!

Season 1 of Western Series ‘That Dirty Black Bag’ Due on Disc July 26

RLJE Films will release the Western series That Dirty Black Bag: Season 1 on Blu-ray Disc and DVD July 26.

The modern take on spaghetti Westerns stars Dominic Cooper as Arthur McCoy, an incorruptible sheriff who’s trying to overcome his troubled past to bring law and order to a town full of bounty hunters, bandits and bloody vendettas. His main nemesis is Red Bill (Douglas Booth), an infamous solitary bounty hunter known for decapitating his victims and stuffing their heads into a dirty black bag. When the paths of these two men collide, they both learn that in the Wild West, there are no heroes, nobody is invincible, and the predators may become the prey.

The cast also includes Niv Sultan, Aidan Gillen and Travis Fimmel.

The series premiered on AMC+ March 10.

Subscribe HERE to the FREE Media Play News Daily Newsletter!

AMC Networks Streaming Services Ended 2021 With 9 Million Paid Subscribers

AMC Networks Feb. 16 said it ended fiscal 2021 with 9 million paid subscribers across its direct-to-consumer platforms that include Acorn TV, Shudder, Sundance Now, ALLBLK (formerly Urban Movie Channel) and AMC+. That compares with 6 million combined subs at the end of fiscal 2020.

ALLBLK and Acorn TV come from AMC’s $65 million acquisition of home entertainment distributor RLJ Entertainment in 2018.

Last year, AMC launched branded AMC+ premium subscription bundle in Canada and Australia on Apple TV channels and Amazon Prime Video Channels. The media company also expanded key franchises with renewal of “Fear the Walking Dead” for an eighth season, commencement of production of “Anne Rice’s Interview with the Vampire” and greenlight of “Anne Rice’s Mayfair Witches.”

“2021 was a strong, pivotal year for AMC Networks,” Matt Blank, interim CEO, said in a statement. “We ended the year with … a significant [streaming subscribers] milestone driven by the strength of our brands and the depth of content within each of our offerings.”

Subscribe HERE to the FREE Media Play News Daily Newsletter!

AMC expanded its over-the-top video platforms with the acquisition of global anime content distributor Sentai and the HIDIVE anime streaming service.

“We deepened our position as a global leader in targeted streaming,” Blank said.

AMC Networks, Comcast Reach New Multiyear Distribution Agreement — That Includes Streaming

AMC Networks and Comcast Cable Jan. 31 announced a new multiyear distribution agreement that includes continued carriage of AMC Networks’ linear networks and expanded availability of its targeted streaming services (Acorn TV, AMC+, etc.) to Xfinity TV and broadband customers. AMC+ was first launched to Xfinity customers in the summer of 2020 and has grown rapidly since.

“We are excited to continue and also expand our longstanding partnership with Comcast through a new agreement that includes not only continued carriage of our cable networks, but also our fast-growing targeted streaming services,” Josh Reader, president of distribution and development for AMC Networks, said in a statement.

Reader said 2022 would be the biggest year of original programming in AMC’s history with final seasons of “The Walking Dead” — the highest-rated series in the history of cable television — “Killing Eve” and “Better Call Saul.” The year will also feature a wide array of new series, including the courtroom drama “61st Street,” “Dark Winds,” “Tales of the Walking Dead,” “Moonhaven” and the first two series in an Anne Rice universe, “Anne Rice’s Interview With the Vampire” and “Anne Rice’s Mayfair Witches.”

Subscribe HERE to the FREE Media Play News Daily Newsletter!

Music Biopic ‘Creation Stories’ Available On Demand and Digital Feb. 25 From RLJ

The music biopic Creation Stories, about Creation Records label founder Alan McGee who became the figurehead of Britpop and indie music worldwide, will be available on demand and digital Feb. 25.

It will also stream on AMC+.

The film follows the true story of McGee, a man from a relatively impoverished upbringing, who against all odds built a record label from nothing, a record label that built the biggest band in the world during the 1990s and created an empire that competed against the huge entertainment corporations in the world. Along the way there was bankruptcy, heartache, mental breakdowns, dinners with Tony Blair and Bill Clinton, treachery, treason, drugs, sex and anarchy,

Subscribe HERE to the FREE Media Play News Daily Newsletter!

Creation Stories tells his story in depth for the first time, from leaving school at 16 to setting up the Living Room club in London, which showcased many emerging indie bands, from managing the Jesus and Mary Chain to co-founding Creation Records when he was only 23. His label had acts such as My Bloody Valentine, House of Love, Ride and Primal Scream. Embracing acid house, Alan decamped to Manchester and hung out at the Hacienda and took Creation into the big time with Screamadelica. After a drug-induced breakdown, he climbed back to sobriety, he discovered the generation-defining band Oasis and oversaw their rise to become one of the biggest bands in the world.

RLJE Sets DVD, Blu-ray Disc Release Dates for IFC Films’ ‘Werewolves Within’

RLJE Films has set a Dec. 7 DVD and Blu-ray Disc release date for the critically acclaimed horror-comedy whodunit Werewolves Within.

The film was released theatrically by IFC Films in June 2021 and became available through digital retailers and on VOD in July.

Directed by Josh Ruben from a script by Mishna Wolff, the films stars Sam Richardson, Milana Vayntrub, George Basil, Sarah Burns and Michael Chernus, among others.

The DVD will carry a suggested retail price of $27.97, with the Blu-ray Disc retailing for $28.96.

The film is about a mysterious creature terrorizing the small town of Beaverton, where a proposed pipeline has created divisions among the townsfolk. When a  snowstorm traps its residents together inside the local inn, newly arrived forest ranger Finn (Richardson) and postal worker Cecily (Milana Vayntrub) must try to keep the peace and uncover the truth behind the strange creature.

RLJE Films Sets Dec. 7 DVD, Blu-ray Release Dates for Shudder’s ‘Creepshow’ Season 2

RLJE Films has set a Dec. 7 DVD and Blu-ray Disc release date for season two of “Creepshow,” the horror anthology series from Shudder that is based on the 1982 film of the same name.

Shudder is AMC Networks’ streaming service for horror, thriller and the supernatural. “Creepshow” was launched in 2019, with the second season debuting in April 2021 and season three last September.

The five-episode season and bonus episodes “A Creepshow Animated Special” and “A Creepshow Holiday Special” from showrunner Greg Nicotero (“The Walking Dead”) stars Kevin Dillon (“Entourage”), Ted Raimi (“Buddy Thunderstruck”) and Ali Larter (House On Haunted Hill).

In season two, a comic book once gain comes to life in nine chilling tales told across five episodes.

Special features on the DVD and Blu-ray Disc release include:

    • WonderCon@Home 2021 interview with Greg Nicotero
    • Photo galleries
    • Comic art booklet
    • Behind-the-scenes featurettes
    • Behind-the-scenes raw footage

 

AMC Networks Says SVOD Properties to Reach 9 Million Subs by Year’s End

AMC Networks Nov. 5 said expects its branded subscription streaming video services to reach 9 million combined subscribers by the end of the year. SVOD services include Acorn TV, AMC+, Shudder, Sundance Now and ALLBLK (formerly Urban Movie Channel).

The notable sub driver for AMC+ was the Aug. 22 Season 11 premiere of “The Walking Dead,” which was a top driver of subscriber acquisition and viewership on the platform, according to AMC.

Subscribe HERE to the FREE Media Play News Daily Newsletter!

Acorn and ALLBLK come from AMC’s 2018 acquisition of home entertainment distributor RLJ Entertainment for $65 million.

“We are building a streaming business that is sustainable and will be profitable over the long term, and with our owned IP, our library of high-quality content, and our strong legacy channels business, we have the right assets to drive growth and increase shareholder value,” CEO Matt Blank said in a statement.

New Series From ‘Schitt’s Creek’ Star Annie Murphy Heads to Disc Nov. 16

AMC Networks’ RLJE Films will release Kevin Can F**K Himself: Season 1 on Blu-ray Disc and DVD Nov. 16.

The dark comedy series stars Emmy winner Annie Murphy of “Schitt’s Creek” as Allison McRoberts, a prototypical sitcom wife married to Kevin (Eric Petersen), her self-centered husband. When she learns that the perfect future she envisioned is impossible, she teams up with her neighbor Patty (Mary Hollis Inboden) as she attempts to escape her confines and take control of her life.

Allison’s life with Kevin is presented in a sitcom format with corny jokes and canned laughter. But when she leaves the scene, her life is presented as a darkly lit drama.

The cast also includes Alex Bonifer, Brian Howe and Raymond Lee. The show was created by Valerie Armstrong and was directed by Oz Rodriguez for the first two episodes and by Anna Dokoza for the rest. Season one of “Kevin Can F**K Himself” originally aired on AMC Networks in June 2021, with a second season coming in 2022 on AMC and AMC+.

The Blu-ray and DVD editions include all eight episodes, plus three featurettes: “A Look at the Series,” “Meet the Characters” and “Making of the Show.”

Subscribe HERE to the FREE Media Play News Daily Newsletter!

AMC Theatres On Demand Utilizing Whip Media Platform

Software platform and data provider Whip Media Aug. 25 announced that AMC Theatres is using Whip Media’s solution for its video on demand business, AMC Theatres On Demand.

AMC Theatres On Demand offers more than 5,000 movies from every major studio and independent film distributors, available for purchase or rent.

Using Whip Media’s platform, AMC Theatres manages the end-to-end process from content management to paying studios. Whip Media drives film selection, asset ordering, pricing and merchandising, and calculating license fees due to studios and device partners, according to the company.

Subscribe HERE to the FREE Media Play News Daily Newsletter!

“Utilizing Whip Media’s platform, allows for more collaboration leading to greater efficiencies, thus allowing us to get more value from our content,” said Nikkole Denson-Randolph, VP of content strategy and inclusive programming at AMC Theatres. “The ability to automate our VOD supply chain, and seamlessly connect to our studios and content readiness partners, provides a huge advantage and ability to drive growth in our business.”

“AMC is a true innovator in the industry for providing a premier movie-watching experience to viewers in the theater or at home,” said Carol Hanley, president of Whip Media. “We’re thrilled to have partnered with AMC to power AMC Theatres on Demand for their millions of customers and provide an infrastructure that is efficient and scalable.”