Third Season Renewal of ‘Hell on Wheels’ Put on Hold

It seems the cable gods’ giveth and the cable gods’ taketh away.

That certainly seems to be the case for the AMC western drama Hell on Wheels. We reported that the acclaimed series received a third season order from the cabler just two days ago, but now word is out – via Deadline – that the renewal order was made without its creators/executive producers Joe and Tony Gayton, who left their duties because their contract was not renewed.

The plan was for John Shiban (whose credits include ‘Supernatural’, ‘The Vampire Diaries’ and ‘The X-Files’) to continue as executive producer/showrunner, but now it seems he won’t be coming back either, leaving the show without a leader and the third season pick-up on hold until a new showrunner can be found.

This isn’t the first time this kind of situation has happened at AMC, though, as Frank Darabont left ‘The Walking Dead’ in season 2 while Jason Horwitch left as series creator and executive producer of ‘Rubicon’ during its one and only season.

The second season of ‘Hell on Wheels’ aired on October 7, earning an average of 2.4 million viewers for network; which, while lower than the first season, seemed to be enough for the third season pick-up, but this behind-the-scenes drama could be the final nail on the railroad tracks (yes, I just made a pun about the show’s central theme) for this series.