9:39am PT by Lesley Goldberg
'Hell on Wheels' Season 3 a Go With New Showrunner John Wirth
Hell on Wheels' third season is back on.
Executive producer John Wirth has been tapped to take over as showrunner on the AMC Western, the cable network announced Wednesday.
Wirth takes over for John Shiban, who departed the Anson Mount starrer after a few days at the helm in November, citing personal reasons. Shiban, who had been with the series since its first season, was poised to take over the duties for creators/showrunners Joe and Tony Gayton, who exited the series after their contract was not picked up. Shiban will not stay on, while the Gaytons will remain as consultants.
“As we gear up for season three of Hell on Wheels we are pleased to have such an accomplished show runner as John Wirth join our team,” said Susie Fitzgerald, AMC senior vp scripted development and current programming.
The period drama's third season was put on hold as AMC continued its search for a replacement for Shiban. The drama, from Endemol, Entertainment one and Nomadic Pictures, was down 2 million total viewers in its second season after losing ratings behemoth The Walking Dead as its lead-in.
"We look forward to unveiling the next riveting chapter in the complex lives of the denizens of Hell on Wheels,” said Jeremy Gold, head of creative affairs at Endemol Studios and Hell on Wheels EP. "We are delighted that John Wirth will be joining us on this remarkable journey. John is a proven showrunner with a terrific voice and a deep passion for our show."
For his part, Wirth's credits include The Cape, ABC's V reboot, Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles, Love Monkey, Ghost Whisperer, Nash Bridges and Remington Steele.
The 10-episode third season will premiere in the third-quarter of 2013.