AMC was once known primarily for its frequent airings of past films, but in recent years, the network formerly known as American Movie Classics has made headlines for acclaimed drama series Breaking Bad and Mad Men.
Moreover, AMC has proven itself a haven for geek-friendly material like The Walking Dead, its companion talk show Talking Dead and filmmaker Kevin Smith's Comic Book Men. Buzz has swirled for a while that the network was looking to add another comic-book based property to its schedule, and now – at long last – it's official.
AMC and Sony Television have confirmed that the network will air a series based on the Vertigo comic book Preacher. Created by Garth Ennis and Steve Dillon, the series centers on Reverend Jesse Custer, a disillusioned Texas preacher who discovers that God has abandoned Heaven and takes it upon himself to set things right. Seth Rogen and Evan Goldberg – the writing/directing duo behind last year's This Is the End – will write the pilot and serve as executive producers on the series. Breaking Bad producer Sam Catlin will be the showrunner.
The news probably doesn't come as much of a shock for fans, as it was rumored (though never confirmed) late last year. Preacher has been in development for quite some time, with the initial plan to bring Custer and company to the big screen. Director DJ Caruso (Disturbia) was even attached to the project at one time.
However, Ennis had the following to say about the decision to take the story to television:
"Steve Dillon and I are very happy to see Preacher being developed for TV, which seems a much more natural home for the story than a 2-hour movie. Between them, Sony TV and AMC have brought viewers two of my favorite shows with Breaking Bad and Mad Men, and it's exactly that kind of creative commitment and courage that Preacher needs. Obviously it's taken a while, but Ken Levin along with Neal Moritz and his team refused to give up, long after the point when I myself grew skeptical, and their unrelenting enthusiasm for the project has gotten us where we need to be. I'm particularly impressed that Seth Rogen, Evan Goldberg and Sam Catlin understand Preacher fully -- meaning they get it for what it is, not some vague approximation. All in all, it looks like Preacher can now be brought to TV in a way that I'd previously not have thought possible, and I very much appreciate that Steve and I have been included in the conversation in the way that we have."
While Rogen and Goldberg's involvement may be surprising, it's reassuring that one of the comic book's co-creators vouches for their understanding of the material, which meshes together supernatural action with a sharp, satirical edge. The serialized format of comics does naturally lend itself towards television, as AMC has proven with The Walking Dead, and the fact that the network isn't relying solely on spin-offs like upcoming Breaking Bad offshoot Better Call Saul is certainly a good sign.
There's little doubt that – with the right team – the network can create a compelling hour of television out of Ennis and Dillon's work. The bigger question is who the network will get to play Preacher's titular lead character as well as Custer's nemesis, the Saint of Killers.
Are you excited that Preacher is coming to AMC, or were you hoping that the story would find its way to theaters eventually? Sound off in the comments section with your thoughts.
Stay tuned to Screen Rant for the latest updates on the Preacher TV series as this story develops.