'Halt and Catch Fire' Renewed at AMC

Halt and Catch Fire Mackenzie Davis Lee Pace - H 2014

AMC has renewed Halt and Catch Fire for a second season. The 1980s computer drama is scheduled to return next summer.

Halt and Catch Fire — starring Lee Pace and Scoot McNairy and created by Chris Cantwell and Chris Rogers, with Jonathan Lisco as showrunner — explores the personal computing boom.

The renewal was a bit unexpected as the series opened to rave reviews, but just 1.2 million total viewers after an aggressive online and on-demand sampling effort that saw the series become the first show to premiere on Tumblr. Halt's 1.2 million viewers was 900,000 less than AMC's debut of the also renewed Revolutionary War drama Turn.

The series ended its first season in early August with 574,000 total viewers — inching up to just under 1 million when adding seven days of DVR playback. Among the advertiser-coveted adults 18-49 set, the series drew a 0.3 rating, off considerably from its 1.6 million average. Overall, Halt averaged 1.2 million viewers, down from the 1.8 million that AMC's Low Winter Sun drew a year ago. The latter series was canceled after one run.

AMC president Charlie Collier said in a statement that the network is giving the show time to grow.

“This is a show about invention, experimentation and the inherent risks in trying to break new ground — themes that really resonate with us as a network and attracted a passionate audience,” Collier said. “We have a history of demonstrating patience through the early seasons of new shows, betting on talent and building audience over time. We see that opportunity here and look forward to a second season.”

Said Lisco, Cantwell and Rogers in a joint statement: “Our series about creation, innovation and taking bold risks wouldn’t be possible if it weren’t for our partners at AMC, a network known for these very things. Harnessing the momentum of our first season, this next chapter will take the rich characters our audience has come to love in new and surprising directions.”

Meanwhile, fellow AMC rookie Turn has also been renewed for a second run after it averaged 2 million viewers an episode during its 10-episode run this summer. Also on AMC's roster for 2015: Breaking Bad spinoff Better Call Saul, the remainder of Mad Men's final season as well as martial arts drama Badlands, which was picked up straight to series.

On the development side, AMC is prepping a companion series to The Walking Dead eyed for 2015 as well as drama pilots White City, Knifeman and Galyntine, as well as comedy We Hate Paul Revere.

Halt was one of two computer-themed series to debut this year. The second, HBO's Silicon Valley, is up for best comedy series at the Emmys.