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E1, Endemol to produce 'Wheels' pilot

David von Ancken directing AMC drama shooting in Aug.

SUN VALLEY, Idaho -- AMC on Tuesday unveiled a deal with E1 Entertainment to produce and Endemol USA to executive produce the pilot "Hell on Wheels."

Described as "a contemporary western that centers on the building of the Transcontinental Railroad," it was was created and written by Joe and Tony Gayton, who will also executive produce. David von Ancken will direct.

"Hell" centers on former confederate soldier Cullen Bohannan, whose quest for vengeance has led him to the Union Pacific Railroad's westward construction of the first Transcontinental Railroad.

Production is scheduled to begin in Alberta, Canada next month.

" 'Hell on Wheels' brilliantly captures the world surrounding the construction of the first Transcontinental Railroad in post-Civil War America," said Joel Stillerman, AMC's senior vp of original programming, production and digital content. "The epic setting provides the perfect backdrop for the early industrialism and corruption surrounding the project; the incredible immigrant experience; and the good, the bad, and the ugly of what it took to get this railroad built."

He also said the show "fits perfectly with our goal of creating premium television on basic cable."

E1 and Endemol USA have also entered into their first international distribution partnership. Endemol will hold all TV distribution rights for "Hell" across Europe, with E1 selling it in all remaining territories and holding worldwide rights for DVD/Blu-ray, VOD and digital distribution.