The official word: AMC announced today that the network is adding a third night of original programming with the season three premiere of “Hell on Wheels” debuting Saturday, August 3 at 9pm ET/PT.
Executive produced by showrunner John Wirth (“Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles,” “Falling Skies,” “The Cape”), Mark Richard and Jeremy Gold, Head of Creative Affairs, Endemol Studios and, and starring Anson Mount, Colm Meaney, and Common, season 3 of “Hell on Wheels” lands in the year 1867, the third year of the building of the transcontinental railroad.
Cullen Bohannon leaves his vengeance-seeking behind and invests in the new American landscape...the beginnings of big business, big religion, and the new role of Wall Street in the White House. Bohannon must contend with racism, greed and murder as he single-mindedly leads the Union Pacific in its race across the country against the Central Pacific Railroad. The high stakes corporate race, the environmental costs and degradation of the native peoples' way of life are themes that resonate deeply in today's America.
For over a decade of Saturdays, AMC has celebrated the American western genre through a mix of series and movies. Today, AMC adds to its inventory a selection of classic films from Paramount Pictures to super-serve the western fan including “El Dorado” (1967), “The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance” (1962), “The Shootist” (1976) and “The Sons of Katie Elder” (1965). The network will also celebrate the anniversaries of several renowned westerns including the 60th anniversary of “Hondo” (1953) and the 50th anniversary of “McLintock!” (1963), both starring John Wayne, as well as the 45th anniversary of “Hang ‘em High” (1968) and the 40th anniversary of “High Plains Drifter” (1973), both starring Clint Eastwood. These films will join the classics including “Chisum” (1970), “The Cowboys” (1972), “Rio Bravo” (1959), “The Alamo” (1960), “The Undefeated” (1969), “Joe Kidd” (1972), “A Fistful of Dollars” (1964), “For a Few Dollars More” (1965) and “The Good the Bad and the Ugly” (1966), which are already licensed by AMC. Moreover, the network has also acquired the television series, “Rawhide,” starring Clint Eastwood, which joins Rifleman beginning April 20. Additionally the network will air the miniseries Lonesome Dove and, for the very first time on AMC, its sequel, Return to Lonesome Dove.
“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. We are so excited about this opportunity to entertain AMC’s audience in a new way.”
“Hell on Wheels” showrunner, John Wirth, says the new season “will be a western about work -- the building of the railroad, the binding of the nation after the Civil War, and the rehabilitation of the men who lived and fought their way through those exploits. This season we're placing Cullen Bohannon at the center of the show, and taking him away from the revenge motive which propelled him into the series.” He continues, “AMC has raised the bar for television dramas, they've set the gold standard. There's nothing else like this on television.”
“Hell on Wheels,” was the second highest series launch in AMC history and was also a top 20 program for engagement among age 25-54 (IAG) for the broadcast season for 2011-2012. The series’ second season wrapped in October 2012 with an average of 2.4 million total viewers and 3.2 million viewers with Live plus 7.