Is the Next Big Winner for AMC Networks Inc. Set to Debut This Weekend?

Give AMC Networks (NASDAQ: AMCX  ) credit for knowing its audience. The network plans to screen the pilot episode of its period tech drama, Halt and Catch Fire, during this weekend's South by Southwest conference in Austin, Texas. Fool contributor Tim Beyers weighs the possibilities for the show in the following video.

AMC has set June 1 as the official premiere date for the 10-episode series, which stars Lee Pace, Scoot McNairy, Mackenzie Davis, and Kerry Bishe, among others. We'll know a bit more of what to expect when SXSW attendees tweet their impressions of the pilot.

Executives need a hit. For as good as the ratings have been for The Walking Dead, AMC suffered a 4.5% year-over-year decline in adjusted operating cash flow because of $52 million in fourth-quarter writedowns in the value of three seasons of The Killing and the inaugural (and short-lived) season of Low Winter Sun. The network needs a new hit to boost ad gains and protect against downside, Tim says.

Can Halt and Catch Fire be that sort of winner? The show comes at an interesting time: Time Warner's (NYSE: TWX  ) HBO unveils the comedy Silicon Valley next month. The two programs may be different in style (drama vs. comedy), but the topic -- the lure and looniness of the tech business -- is similar. Don't be surprised if an outsized number of gadget-obsessed, social media-addicted youth tune in to watch each program.

Now it's your turn to weigh in. Do you expect to tune in to Halt and Catch Fire? How about Silicon Valley? Please watch the video to get Tim's full take and then leave a comment to let us know where you stand.

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