October 29, 2012

THE SKED: “Hell On Wheels” Keeps Riding the Rails


AMC has renewed its building-the-railroad melodrama HELL ON WHEELS for a 10-episode 3rd season.  The renewal was far from a sure thing, as the show has indifferent ratings among 18-49s (the recent season finale was at 0.5, which was around where the series usually landed where it didn’t have a strong lead-in), but it does overperform among older viewers, with about 2 million in total audience for its initial airing –i.e., about 2/3 of its viewership is over 50.

It’s hard not to think that if AMC had been excited about a substantial amount of its development, Hell might have been derailed.  The show, however, has had a consistently decent-sized and loyal audience, one likely to grow if AMC gives it a strong lead-in next season.  Also, the quality of the series improved in its 2d season with the addition of new showrunner John Shiban to work with series creators Joe and Tony Gayton (notwithstanding the shaky decision to kill off Dominique McElligott’s character in the Season 2 finale), and Shiban and the Gaytons may have pitched a compelling storyline for Season 3.

No premiere date has been announced for 2013, but the train will probably start running again in late summer/early fall.

About the Author

Mitch Salem
MITCH SALEM has worked on the business side of the entertainment industry for 20 years, as a senior business affairs executive and attorney for such companies as NBC, ABC, USA, Syfy, Bravo, and BermanBraun Productions, and before that, at the NY law firm of Weil, Gotshal & Manges. During all that, he has more or less constantly been going to the movies and watching TV, and writing about both since the 1980s. His film reviews also currently appear on and In addition, he is co-writer of an episode of the television series "Felicity."