The Washington Post

‘Hell on Wheels’ finds showrunner; third-season pickup un-derailed

The creators, writers and executive producers of 'Hell On Wheels' Joe Gayton (L) and Tony Gayton. (FRED PROUSER/REUTERS)

 Throw your mind back to late October when when AMC announced, on a Monday, it had picked up “Hell on Wheels” for a third, 10-episode season. The network may have omitted mention of the show’s creators/exec producers Joe and Tony Gayton, whose contracts were not renewed (though they would continue to get “consultant” credit) — but, as they say in the biz, you can’t make an omelet without breaking some eggs. And, anyway, show exec producer/showrunner John Shiban, who’d been with “HoW” since its start, was on board to keep the show humming along.

Until, that is, three days later, when Shiban announced he would not return to the show.

 Terse statements issued all around — AMC insisting Shiban had informed the network and show producers he was “fully on board” when the network informed him aobut their intent to pick up the show for a third season. Shiban admitting he’d been “thrilled” with the pickup, but had “since made the difficult deision that the time has come for me to leave.” AMC also stated that “like all of our shows, network pick-ups are always conditioned on an approved showrunner,” like it meant it to sting.

And there we were, until Wednesday, when AMC announced John Wirth (“V,” “Fallen Skies,” “Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles”) had been crowned “Hell” showrunner and the 10-episode third season order had been un-derailed.

 Many nice things were said about Wirth on Wednesday. AMC said it was “pleased to have such an accomplished showrunner”; one of the production companies behind the show went even further, describing Wirth as “an incredible talent who will drive our roaring series,”

And they all lived happily ever after.

 Or did they?



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