Just a few days ago, AMC revealed that they have decided to go ahead with the renewal of their western drama Hell on Wheels for a third season. It was not a clear-cut case of a pickup with just 2.4 million tuning in each week, but it was enough to keep plowing ahead. This of course was done with the knowledge that series creators Joe and Tony Gayton would be leaving their executive producing positions.
What AMC did not expect is that current series showrunner John Shiban wanted out. Deadline is reporting today that, that is indeed the case and the network is stunned by this news to the point where they have to second guess their order for more Hell on Wheels. While executive producers grow on trees, a showrunner for such a niche, serialized drama does not unless you are talking about The Walking Dead.
The cable channel is not yet on board with waving goodbye just yet as they are currently looking for a replacement. Odds are one will be found, but there is really no reason to push ahead with this show should no one make a good fit. If the Gaytons were still on board, this show would certainly weather the storm; however, no one appears set to carry the torch forward and that could create a significant problem even if a match is made.
For those wondering, Shiban was at the helm of the first two seasons of Hell on Wheels, and his credits before that included The X-Files and Breaking Bad. When things like this happen, it could mean that the showrunner wants to pursue their own show as doing just that can be a lot more lucrative than kicking back a chunk of the show’s budget to a pair of creators who left to work on other television series’.
We will keep you posted on the latest drama surrounding showrunners on AMC.