'The Walking Dead' and 'Better Call Saul' boosts cable channel operator AMC's profit by 69 pct

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NEW YORK — Bloodthirsty zombies and a small-time lawyer helped boost profits for cable channel operator AMC Networks.

The New York company said Monday that its first-quarter net income jumped 69 percent from a year ago, thanks to strong ratings from its original shows, including "The Walking Dead" and "Better Call Saul," a spinoff of "Breaking Bad," a show that ended in 2013.

"Viewers continue to embrace our original programming," said AMC Networks CEO and President Josh Sapan.

AMC Networks Inc. reported net income of $120.9 million, or $1.66 per share, compared with $71.4 million, or 98 cents per share, a year ago.

Adjusted for amortization costs, earnings came to $1.76 per share, surpassing Wall Street expectations. The average estimate of five analysts surveyed by Zacks Investment Research was for earnings of $1.55 per share.

Revenue rose 24 percent to $668.7 million in the period, also surpassing Street forecasts. Four analysts surveyed by Zacks expected $648.5 million.

AMC Networks Inc. owns and operates several cable channels, including AMC, WE TV, IFC and SundanceTV. In October, it spent $200 million to buy a controlling stake in BBC America.

Shares of AMC Networks rose $1.33, or 1.7 percent, to $77.63 in morning trading Monday. Its shares are up about 16 percent in the last 12 months.

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Elements of this story were generated by Automated Insights (http://automatedinsights.com/ap) using data from Zacks Investment Research. Access a Zacks stock report on AMCX at http://www.zacks.com/ap/AMCX

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Keywords: AMC Networks, Earnings Report

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