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Josh Sapan: TV, Tech and the Consumer

Technology and consumer behavior are driving a new age of television, but content is still king. Josh Sapan, chief executive officer of AMC Networks, which owns AMC, IFC, SundanceTV, WE tv and BBC America, discusses the evolution of the industry, his process for identifying “hits” and why great characters make great television.

On selecting shows for each network: “It’s not quite art, but it has a lot more to do with judgment than science.”

On knowing “The Walking Dead” would be a hit: “Several years ago we decided to do a show about the zombie apocalypse, which at the time was a radical idea….a show about zombies eating people didn’t seem to be a likely thing we would do, but we thought the story and the source material were spectacular.”

On the importance of quality storytelling: There are certain stories that just work…they are fundamentally human, beautifully done, and the character development is irresistible…they can reincarnate in different forms. They can be done on big movies, they can be done on small screens, but…they have a long life.”