Did Preacher Finally Find a Home at AMC?

Reports indicate development deal for troubled DC Comics property

It's been a long way for Preacher from the comic book page to the small screen, but an adaptation of the salty DC Comics horror/Western book (formerly with DC's corporate sibling HBO) might finally be getting closer to full-fledged production, this time at AMC. A tip was first reported by Badass Digest on Saturday, with geek-culture blog 13th Dimension publishing a third-hand story about an encounter at a comic book store with network group COO Ed Carroll.

All this is to say that there appears to be something going on with the property at AMC, though the network didn't offer any comment. Badass Digest claimed that the network had already inked a full-fledged pilot order; that would be quite a ways out of character for AMC, which has been very slow to green-light new scripted series and has made much of every script deal along the way. From what Adweek is hearing, Preacher does appear to be in development. It just remains to be seen what stage the project is in, and who's attached.

One person claiming to be part of the show is Seth Rogen, who tweeted, "Looks like about seven of years of hard work are about to pay off. I may get to bring one of my favourite [sic] stories ever to life." The next tweet was names of characters from the series—Arseface, John Wayne, and the Saint of Killers. It's been in development many times since the comic book was running in the late 1990's, notably with Mark Stephen Johnson attached to an HBO series, and then with Sam Mendes signed on to direct a movie version. As recently as August, D.J. Caruso told a writer for the Rogue Pictures PR site that he was working on an adaptation, so Johnson, too, may be involved.

And yes, as careful readers may have gleaned, Preacher is a pretty profane comics series, filled with sex and violence and lots and lots of blasphemy. The six books, by Garth Ennis and Steve Dillon and published by DC's grownup-targeted Vertigo imprint, follow down-on-his-luck reverend Jesse Custer (note initials), who gets possessed by a half-angel, half-demon creature that gives him the ability to make anyone do literally whatever he tells them to do. He's chased around Texas and parts adjacent by a secret organization called The Grail and meets a century-old vampire who becomes his closest friend, all while trying to track down a God who has abandoned mankind.

The book is challenging stuff in completely different ways from the disturbing material in The Walking Dead and Breaking Bad, but if the success of those shows has shown anything, it's that an audience will go some very dark places with TV writers as long as they're interested in what happens next.