For a while, it wasn’t clear if “Hell on Wheels” would ever see a Season 3. AMC renewed the series in November 2012, even though creators Joe and Tony Gayton were exiting the show. The very next week, showrunner John Shiban also walked away, putting the renewal on hold. It wasn’t for a full month, when John Wirth was installed as new showrunner, that Season 3 was back on.
During AMC’s presentation at the Summer 2013 TCA Press Day on Friday (July 26), Wirth spoke about what it was like to walk into the series in Season 3 and viewers can expect.
“I experienced the show the same way that you guys did, as a fan and a viewer … When I was approached by AMC to take the job, I sat down with the episodes to watch them straight through from one to 20 and I asked my wife if she would sit with me and just give me her opinion,” Wirth says. “As soon as Anson [Mount, series lead] came on the screen, my wife said, ‘Oh. My.’ SO I thought there might be something that she was seeing that I wasn’t … I think the show has a lot of strengths and that’s what attracted me to it. These two gentlemen being foremost amongst those strengths and also we have the rest of our cast, incredible cast of actors, and we’ve added a couple new ones this year.”
“I think what I brought to the show is, I think we’re telling better stories better this year,” Wirth continues. “I have virtually the same writing staff, a wonderful group of writers writing the show, but we’ve just taken a little bit of a different approach. The show sort of kicked off with revenge being motive and we’ve sort of — I think it’s wearisome for people over time, so we’ve kind of shifted gears and are shifting more into an area … It’s opened up our storytelling a little bit and made our characters more embraceful (sic)…”
Although, take everything Wirth says with a grain of salt. “?I don’t know anything about the railroad, to be honest with you,” he joked. “Don’t print that.?”
Audiences will find out if Wirth was the right man to take the reins when “Hell on Wheels” premieres Saturday, August 10 at 9 p.m. on AMC.