AMC is opening up a third night of original programming on Saturdays, hoping to make inroads on a night the broadcast networks have long since abandoned.
The cable channel is moving its series “Hell on Wheels” to Saturdays for Season 3, which will premiere Aug. 3. The show will be the capper for a day of western-themed programming on the network, including movies, classic TV series like “The Rifleman” and “Rawhide” and miniseries including “Lonesome Dove” and 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,” AMC president and general manager Charlie Collier says. “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.”
The third season of “Hell on Wheels” will follow Cullen Bohannon (Anson Mount) as he throws himself into the work of building the Union Pacific railroad and abandons the revenge motive that brought him to the rails initially. New showrunner John Wirth says Season 3 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.”
Themed programming on Saturdays has worked for some other cable channels — BBC America, for instance, has had success with its “Supernatural Saturday” lineup. “Hell on Wheels” drew a little over 3 million viewers in its second season. It will be interesting to see how many of those people follow the show to its new night.