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AMC is a cable television channel that primarily airs movie. The letters originally stood for American Movie Classics. However, since 2003, the full name has been deemphasized as a result of a major shift in programming. AMC is owned by Rainbow Media Holdings, LLC, a subsidiary of Cablevision Systems Corporation, and signed on October 1, 1984.



AMC was originally a premium cable channel that aired classic movies during the afternoons and early evenings, largely pre-1950s, in a commercial-free, generally unedited, uncut, and uncolorized format. It was not uncommon for the channel to host a Marx Brothers marathon, or show such classics as the original Phantom of the Opera. In 1987, the channel first became available on basic cable television systems. By 1989, the channel had 39 million subscribers in the United Statesmarker.


Beginning in 1993, AMC presented an annual Film Preservation Festival to raise awareness of and funding for film preservation. Coordinated with The Film Foundation, an industry group founded by Martin Scorsese, the festival as originally conceived was a multi-day marathon presenting rare and previously lost films, many for the first time on television, along with behind-the-scenes reports on the technical and monetary issues faced by those engaged in archival restoration. Portions of the festival were often dedicated to all-day single artist marathons. During its fifth anniversary year, Scorsese credited the Festival for creating "not only a greater awareness, but (...) more of an expectation now to see restored films." In 1996, curator of the Museum of Modern Artmarker Mary Lee Bandy called the Festival "the most important public event in support of film preservation." By its tenth anniversary, the Festival had raised $2 million from the general public, which The Film Foundation divided among its five member archives.

From 1996 to 1998, AMC aired its first original series, Remember WENN, a half-hour show about a radio station during the peak of radio's influence in the 1930s. The show was well received by both critics and its enthusiastic fans, but was abruptly cancelled after its fourth season when a change of management took over (WENN's replacement was The Lot, and lasted for only 16 episodes). Despite a well publicized write-in campaign to save the series, the show was not renewed for its originally scheduled fifth season.

In 1997, AMC started Monsterfest, a week long marathon of scary movies that airs in late October. The final edition of this popular week long theme was aired in 2007, ending without fanfare or mention from AMC until Fall 2008 with the announcement of the new Fearfest. AMC's website has started a Monsterfest blog, chronicling the latest horror news in movies and on television. In addition, late at night every Friday AMC presents Fear Friday, a horror movie double feature. One popular AMC program was American Pop! (originally intended as a preview of a new 24 hour cable channel), which ran from 1998 to 2002 and featured 50s and 60s movies aimed at baby boomers, such as Beach Blanket Bingo and Ski Party. Of particular interest to movie completists were the segments AMC played to fill out the time slot (Saturday nights from 10pm to midnight): classic movie trailers, drive-in movie ads and snipes (bits extolling viewers to visit the snack bar, etc.), plus music videos cribbed from musical movies from the period.

The majority of films presented on AMC during the 1990s had originally been released by Paramount Pictures, 20th Century Fox, and Universal Studios. There were occasional showings of silent film classics. The regular hosts of the telecasts were Bob Dorian and Nick Clooney (brother of Rosemary Clooney and father of George Clooney) as well as New York Radio Personality Gene Klavan from WNEW 1130am. Another WNEW-AM alum, Al "Jazzbeaux" Collins, provided his voice for the interstitials "Jazzbo's Swingin' Soundies."


Format change

For most of its first 18 years, AMC provided films without commercial interruption. Its revenue came from the cable providers that offered the channel to subscribers. However, AMC then gradually began to put ads between, and then also within, movies.

In October 2002, AMC changed its format from a classic movie channel to a more general movie channel, airing movies from all eras, with the majority of pre-1970 movies airing in late nights, mornings, and early afternoons. Kate McEnroe, then president of AMC Networks, cited lack of cable-operator subsidies as the reason for the addition of advertising, and cited ad agencies who insist on programming relevant to their products' consumers as the reason for the shift to recent movies instead of classics.

At the time of the format switchover, the company also attempted a spin-off digital cable network, AMC's Hollywood Classics, which would have required viewers to pay extra to receive the channel. This commercial-free digital-cable network would have aired the black-and-white classics of the 30s, 40s, and 50s that American Movie Classics had been airing up until its format changeover, but the new network did not come to fruition.

On the AMC site, the channel claims to air fewer commercials per hour than any other basic cable channel. As it is now an advertiser-supported channel, the edited television version of a movie is aired whenever possible.

Expansion of the new AMC

On September 1, 2006, AMC officially became available in Canada for customers of Shaw Communications (both the cable service and the Shaw Direct satellite system), marking the first time the channel was made available outside of the United States. Other cable companies, including Rogers Cable, have followed by adding AMC to their lineup as well.

On September 26, 2008, AMC announced the arrival of their latest October horror-themed movie marathon called Fearfest (replacing the popular Monsterfest). Coinciding with this was the Monsterfest blog now being called the Horror Hacker blog.

In May 2009, AMC unveiled a new slogan: "Story Matters Here"; the new slogan can be seen on the channel's website (as part of the title of the website's front page). AMC's other promotional slogans are "The Future of Classic" and "Long Live Cool."

On November 2nd, 2009, Bell Canada announced that it will add both the SD and HD versions of AMC to its Bell TV lineup on November 11th, 2009.

Original programs

See also


  1. Gildemeister, Christopher. The Fine Arts Are Hard To Find. Parents Television Council: October 2, 2006
  2. Gomery, Douglas. American Movie Classics. Museum of Broadcast Communications
  3. King, Susan (1997-10-02), "Save That Movie! - After a slow start, AMC’s Film Preservation Festival has raised $1.3 million," Los Angeles Times. Retrieved on 2008-September 20.
  4. Van Gelder, Lawrence, (1996-06-30) "Restoring Films to a Former Glory", New York Times. Retrieved on 2008-September 20.
  5. Elber, Lynn (2002-08-30), "Even 1970s Rock Fests Need Film Preservation", Los Angeles Times. Retrieved on 2008-September 20.
  6. AMC TV: Monsterfest
  7. "AMC Ushering In Nostalgic American Pop" (1998-06-20), Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved on 2008-September 20 via
  8. Battaglio, Stephen. It now has enough commercials to make movie watching almost as intolerable as any other commercial channel. "Old-Movie Channels Nearing Showdown." New York Daily News. June 28, 2002.
  9. Why did AMC change its format? From the FAQ
  10. Dempsey, John. "AMC Unveils More Contemporary Slate, Extra Ads." Variety. May 13, 2002.
  11. Battaglio, Stephen. "Old-Movie Channels Nearing Showdown." New York Daily News. June 28, 2002.
  12. Dempsey, John. "AMC Unveils More Contemporary Slate, Extra Ads." Variety. May 13, 2002.
  13. Why did AMC add commercials?
  14. Does AMC edit movies for content?
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