American Movie Classics (1983–2002)

Edited down, from the AP Newswire:

NEW YORK (Dow Jones/AP) - In a wide-scale effort to attract a broader audience, the popular cable channel once known for showing films such as “Casablanca” – will drop many of its classic movie offerings in favor of a modernized programming lineup, the network’s president said late Thursday. The channel also will air more commercials during its films. Classic films will be featured prominently instead on AMC Hollywood Classics, a commercial-free sister outlet designed for digital cable and slated to debut this fall.

The move would appear to take AMC out of direct competition with AOL Time Warner Inc.'s commercial-free Turner Classic Movies. It would instead position AMC to siphon audience away from general entertainment channels such as AOL’s TBS and TNT, Viacom Inc.'s (VIA, VIAB) recently relaunched TNN, and Vivendi Universal SA’s USA cable operations.

Last year, AMC started airing advertising “intermissions” during its movies. Over the last 18 months, the channel also has added modern-era films such as 1987’s “Predator” and 1981’s “Raiders of the Lost Ark” to its mix. The films are about to get a lot more current. Reaction, says McEnroe, “so far has been positive.”

—Reaction from ME ain’t positive. I know this is partly Turner Classic Movies’ fault; when broadcasting rights to a lot of their films ran out, TCM snapped them up so AMC couldn’t show them anymore. What a shame to lose this station. And what the fuck is “digital cable?” Whatever it is, I don’t have it . . . So much for ever seeing the beautiful horror that is “Kiss Her Goodbye” again . . .

I’ll nominate the day AMC aired Predator as the day they died.

But this is truly, sad, sad news.

I actually have been watching TCM much more often, since they had some great stuff from the early 30s and seem to know more about movies than AMC.

So the suits are taking a rather nice thing and FUBARing it, eh? With the aim of “increasing market share” ? I can’t even make a pretense of surprise any more.

With the Baby Boom generation, the famed “pig in the python,” now on into their 40s, 50s, and approaching 60, you’d think that there might be SOME form of popular entertainment around that was geared to an age level beyond 15…


Just as soon as I’ve moved into a place that has cable, this happens (and naturally, TCM is unavailable here). Not that the pickings were necessarily great compared to many years ago, but it was still better than TBS playing Overboard or The Outlaw Josey Wales for the zillionth time. Grrrrr.

I have mixed feelings about TCM . . . I watch (and tape from) it a lot, and I love the fact that they show pre-1935 movies (silents, even). But I know enough behind-the-scenes stuff about them to know how evil they can be, too. THEY are essentially one of the main reasons AMC is going over to the dark side. I also know (all too well) that Turner refuses researchers and historians any access to their MGM files and archives, or to the films in their vaults that have not been transferred to video or digital-whosis.

Well, what can I say, a TV station is a “business,” not an “art.”

That genuinely sucks. I used to love watching those great old movies on AMC, movies that TCM doesn’t show, like the gaudy Carmen Miranda musicals and Esther Williams pictures. Moreover, I think TCM is going the same way–they showed “Austin Powers” last month!


I pretty much stopped watching AMC when they unceremoniously dumped “Remember WENN” but whenever I look at their movie lists, all movies seem to be not just within my lifetime, but within my very recent memory (late 80s - mid 90s). So, reaction from me is “duh.” Isn’t this announcing something way, way, way after the fact?

(I don’t get TCM, my local cable company doesn’t carry it.)

“Isn’t this announcing something way, way, way after the fact?”

—Well, it’s more like making it official that things are not going to get better, as fans had hoped, but that they are going to get worse. AMC had been deluged with complaints from viewers for the last year, but refused to make any statements till now.

Yet “reaction so far has been positive” ? Whose reactions, the financial officers’?

“Gee, teevee viewers can watch 1980s-90s movies on about fifty-eight cable stations, but only two of us show anything pre-1970. I guess we’ll make pots more money if WE become Station Fifty-Nine!”

AMC has been dead for me for the last couple of years. As far as I’m concerned, this is just fanfare over finally putting a stone on the previously unremarked grave.

TCM is my classic-film-channel of choice now. They do absolutely fantastic presentations of some truly obscure movies, and regularly show stuff that no self-respecting movie buff should miss. The other night, for example, they announced Sweet Smell of Success would be starting in a couple of minutes, and I raced to throw in a tape.

But yes, Eve, you’re absolutely correct that the behind-the-scenes stuff is more than a little distasteful. We can all wish that the most prominent vendors of entertainment would also engage in selfless acts of cinematic altruism, not to mention helping little old ladies across the street and rinsing the grit from dropped lollipops at the park, but, clearly, this ain’t gonna happen any time soon.

When it first came on some of the classics would be visible in prime time and I could watch some great black-and-white flicks when I was awake; even silents. Now I have to get up at two or three in the morning (I saw Destry Rides Again this morning). It’s either that or figure out how to work the VCR, and I think that is a lost cause.

I am not a happy camper, but around here it’s the only camp available.

Essentially, it’s the cable company’s way of giving you satellite-quality digital signals via your cable. It also allows stuff like on screen content guides which allow you to look ahead a few days and find out what’s gonna be and, in most cases, the synopsis of the upcoming shows. In some areas, it allows you to purchase pay-per-view events & movies.

I knew something was up when I turned it on last month and they were playing Mother, Juggs and Speed. Yes, that’s correct: MOTHER FREAKIN’ JUGGS AND SPEED!!! While it is an American item (to the best of my knowledge) it is certainly no classic, and barely even a movie – sheesh!

Our cable co. doesn’t carry TCM, along with about a dozen other channels I’d like to have. Bastids. We do have about 5 shopping channels though. :rolleyes:

[Ted Turner]Yes…everything goes exactly as planned. AMC has fallen, and now I control the classic-movie-on-TV business! Soon, my dream will come true…I WILL CONTROL THE WORLD! Bwa-ha-ha-ha-ha!

What’s next…hmm…(checks schedule) “Professional sports.” Hmm, seems simple enough-after all, I am pretty much forcing everyone to watch the Braves…[/Ted Turner]

This really is sad. American Movie Classics was solely responsible generating my interest in classic movies when I about twelve - now they are one of my greatest passions. Some of the only really good memories from time are of sitting breathless and wide-eyed in front of the tube, watching “A Midsummer Night’s Dream” and “The Leopard Man” and “The Lost Weekend”. When all the other girls in my class were crushing on Keanu Reeves I was in love with Jimmy Cagney. AMC was really great back then. They had such classy, funny commercials and they had that guy – what was his name? Gene Klaven? – he was so cute and warm and seemed so happy to be sharing these wonderful movies with you. And their lineup was incredible. I saw movies then that I have not seen since (“Design for Living”? Hello, where ya been?) AMC hasn’t been the same for years now but I will be sad to see it go.

I remember a NY Times article a few years ago comparing TCM and AMC. Very pro TCM. A year later, they had another article just on AMC, talking about what a great channel it was. Total flipflop. Business is business, I guess.

I’ve noticed the slide of AMC for a while, but Predator was a slap in the face. The Third Man was on at 8:30 this morning, I wonder how long until even a classic like it is deemed too old for the channel’s hoped for demographic.

Our local cable outlet doesn’t have TCM, even on digital. They carried it on a preview basis once during a “vote for the new channels” promotional stunt. It was all I watched for the two weeks it was on. It was so nice to come home from work and know that for once there would be something on worth watching.

TCM is great. I was able to tape “A Conversation with Gregory Peck” recently.

Another is the Love Channel from Encore-I taped Roman Holiday AND Breakfast at Tiffany’s from both.

Imagine surfing through the channels at a normal speed.

Now imagine trying to surf through the channels with a 30-second pause between each one.

Throw in a dash of randomly stuttering, pixelating, or going black.

Oh, and about 2 million channels you don’t want/can’t access/lock up your cable box when you go to them.

Yet another sign of the decline of Western Civilization.
I had been noticing a decline in the quality of AMC’s content of late, including the addition of commercial interruption to the movies. I also do not have TCM on my cable service so I won’t be able to see movies there.
Does anyone know if AMC will still be having the annual AFI film preservation festivals? I remember a few years back they showed musicals and I spent most of the week taping all the classic musicals my wife and I love.