“We’re telling better stories, better this year,” Hell On Wheels showrunner John Wirth (Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles), who is new to the show, told TV critics this afternoon at TCA Summer TV Press Tour 2013. Wirth’s the guy who came to the show after the creators’ contracts were not renewed and the guy who took their place took a powder three days later. Naturally press-tour attendees were eager to hear what the new guy had to say. Addressing the ballroom full of TV critics, reporters, bloggers, and tweeters, Wirth said he’s kept “virtually the same writing staff” but is taking a very different approach than that of creators Joe and Tony Gayton. “The show kicked off with revenge being the motivation. That gets wearisome for people over time,” Wirth said. “So we shifted gears…shifting more into an area of redemption, or as we call it, ‘reconstruction’. It’s opened the show, and made the characters more embraceable.”
UPDATE, FRIDAY PM: The producers of Hell On Wheels just made the call: The AMC series has started its hiatus, originally planned to begin next Thursday.The decision came after the set of the show got flooded by rising waters in the Calgary area. (Here is a picture of the set posted by Hell On Wheels star Anson Mount.) U.S. cast and crew are in the process of flying home from Calgary, which is under water following torrential mountain rains and is bracing for more flooding. The natural disaster has claimed its first victims as two bodies were recovered in the city of High River.
AMC will make Saturdays a third night of original programming with Hell On Wheels. The third season of the period Western will premiere on Saturday, August 3 at 9 PM and air on the night, once a popular destination for TV originals, which has rarely housed original series in the past decade. Meanwhile, AMC has established Saturdays as a destination for Westerns, airing acquired series and movies in the genre for over a decade. Along with the scheduling of Hell On Wheels, the cable network has picked up a selection of classic Western films from Paramount Pictures for Saturdays, including El Dorado (1967), The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance (1962), The Shootist (1976) and The Sons Of Katie Elder (1965). “A new episode of Hell On Wheels on Saturday night after a full day of western fan favorites is going to be like the saddle on top of the horse,” said Charlie Collier, President and General Manager, AMC. “This is a programmer’s dream – to have a genre specific, 14-hour lead-in to one of your highest rated originals. The move follows AMC’s recent expansion into Thursdays with an all-unscripted lineup. Sunday remains AMC’s signature night of original programming where its other scripted dramas air.
EXCLUSIVE: The power vacuum at the top of AMC‘s Hell On Wheels has been filled. Veteran John Wirth has been tapped as executive producer/showrunner of the the Western drama. With him on board, the series, from Entertainment One, Endemol USA and Nomadic Pictures, is back on track with a third season renewal, and will proceed with production on 10 new episodes to premiere in third quarter of 2013. Wirth’s start date is undetermined as he is wrapping up his services on TNT’s Falling Skies where he has been working as consultant. “As we gear up for season three of Hell On Wheels we are pleased to have such an accomplished showrunner as John Wirth join our team,” said Susie Fitzgerald, AMC’s SVP of scripted development and current programming. “With the help of our partners at Entertainment One, Endemol and Nomadic, we look forward to a new season of the poetic and pulpy adventures of Cullen Bohannan and the other characters as they build the railroad across the US.”
UPDATE 1:40 PM: AMC just issued a statement confirming that Hell On Wheels showrunner John Shiban has left and that the series’ third season renewal is now contingent on hiring a new showrunner approved by the network. In a statement, Shiban called the departure “a difficult decision.” Read both statements below my original post:
EXCLUSIVE 11:50 AM: There is some behind-the-scenes drama on AMC‘s Hell On Wheels. The Western drama on Monday was given a 10-episode third-season renewal, but it was picked up without its creators/executive producers Joe and Tony Gayton, who left their day-to-day duties on the show when their contract was not renewed. (They may consult.) At the time, AMC said John Shiban would continue as executive producer/showrunner. Now I hear that veteran showrunner Shiban has informed the network that he won’t be coming back after two years on the show. As a result, I hear Hell On Wheels‘ pickup has been put on hold until a new showrunner is found.
The project, produced by 20th Century Fox TV and Marty Adelstein and Shawn Levy’s studio-based 21 Laps/Adelstein Prod., follows the escapades of Kyle Jones, a recent college grad who can’t find a job and who finds himself forced to courier cash for criminals. After outsmarting the criminals and delivering the cash to their boss, Kyle is offered a job in the organization and the adventure ensues. The Gaytons will write the script and executive produce with Adelstein, Levy and Becky Clements as well as New Wave’s Brian Volk-Weiss, Matt Ochacher, and Michael Pelmont.
AMC announced today its summer programming slate, including the highly anticipated premiere of the first part of “Breaking Bad’s” final season on Sunday, July 15 at 10pm ET/PT. The final season of the Emmy® Award-winning and critically acclaimed drama, produced by Sony Pictures Television, consists of 16 episodes, with the first eight episodes beginning July 15 and culminating with the series’ final eight episodes next summer 2013. Also this summer, the network debuts its newest unscripted series, “Small Town Security,” on Sunday, July 15 at 11pm ET/PT and season two of the epic western “Hell on Wheels” Sunday, August 12 at 9pm ET/PT.
December 27, 2011 – AMC has announced the renewal of Hell on Wheels for a second season. The original series reigns as the second highest rated series on AMC, averaging 3.2 million viewers and 1.5 million Adults 25-54.* Season one’s finale is Sunday, January 15th at 10pm EST. Hell on Wheels is created and written by Joe and Tony Gayton, who also serve as executive producers. John Shiban, Jeremy Gold, Endemol’s SVP of scripted programming and David Von Ancken, who also directed the pilot, serve as executive producers. The series is executive produced by Endemol USA with Entertainment One serving as the studio. eOne’s Television CEO John Morayniss and EVP series television Michael Rosenberg oversee production in partnership with co-producers Mike Frislev and Chad Oakes at Nomadic Pictures.
AMC today released the first trailer for the new original series Hell on Wheels, which begins production May 16 in Calgary. Created, written and executive produced by Joe and Tony Gaytons, the series is described as a contemporary Western that centers on former confederate soldier Cullen Bohannon (Anson Mount), whose …