- Melissa Rosenberg (TWILIGHT) has signed on as showrunner for ABC’s drama, BIG THUNDER. (Which, since pilots don’t get “showrunners,” they get “Executive producers,” probably means the series, based on Disney’s (and therefore ABC’s) Big Thunder Mountain ride, is in the bag.)
- Tyler Perry (TYLER PERRRY’S HOUSE OF PAIN, etc. ) has shifted his TBS comedy, FOR BETTER OR WORSE, to OWN, which will own the first two seasons and also produce a second. (Which is what happens when a smart, rich writer buys a network, which for all practical purposes is what Perry has done.)
- Emily Spivey (UP ALL NIGHT) has made a deal to develop-write-produce series at 20th Century Fox TV, starting with the animated MURDER POLICE. (Which has to be in better shape than UP ALL NIGHT, which NBC seems to have totally destroyed because, well, probably because it could.)
- Kurt Sutter (SONS OF ANARCHY) & John Shiban (HELL ON WHEELS) are developing what FX calls “an action horror drama” for the network. (Which is fine by us because it can’t be any worse than the horror of Seth MacFarlane singing, dancing, and driving all the A List stars out of the Oscars audience last Sunday night.)
…Not because they necessarily will be sympathetic to newbies, but because they’re in trouble, Young Jedi, so, hey, it couldn’t hurt:
‘Hell on Wheels’ on Hold as AMC Searches for New Showrunner – by Lesley Goldberg (Hollywood Reporter)
AMC’s third-season renewal for Hell on Wheels is on hold.
Mere days after the Western starring Anson Mount and Common was picked up for a 10-episode third season with John Shiban at its helm, the new showrunner has departed the series, citing personal reasons.
“John Shiban has informed AMC, Entertainment One and Endemol that while he was fully on board when the network informed him about their intent to pick-up Hell on Wheels, he has since made the personal decision that he will be unable to return as showrunner,” AMC said in a statement on behalf of co-producers Endemol and Entertainment One. “He has asked the production partners to seek a replacement showrunner. Like all of our shows, network pick-ups are always conditioned on an approved showrunner. We are confident that eOne and Endemol will satisfy that obligation in the near future.”
Shiban (Breaking Bad, The X-Files), who has been with the series since its first season, was set to take over for creators/showrunners Joe and Tony Gayton, who exited the drama after their contract was not picked up. The brothers will continue to consult on the series when and if a new showrunner is found.
“I’m very proud of our work on Hell on Wheels and was thrilled to hear the show would have a season three. I have since made the difficult decision that the time has come for me to leave,” Shiban said in a statement. “I care deeply about the series and will do whatever I can to aid in the transition to ensure the continued success of the show. I truly value all the time I have spent with this wonderful group of very talented people.”
AMC renewed the series, from Endemol, Entertainment One and Nomadic Pictures, on Monday. The period drama’s second season was down 2 million total viewers after losing ratings juggernaut The Walking Dead as a lead-in. Season two’s 2.4 million viewers are down considerably from the 3 million the series averaged during its freshman run. Season two concluded its run Oct. 7.
For AMC, the move marks the latest in a string of behind-the-scenes showrunner drama among its original fare. The network fired Frank Darabont from The Walking Dead ahead of its second season, and Rubicon creator/EP Jason Horwitch exited during its lone season.
Sounds to us like AMC wants a huge change in the direction/attitude/scripting of this series and although Shiban thought he could get himself to go along with it after they dumped the original creators/showrunners, now he’s had a change of heart. We’re just guessing, mind you, but how wrong can you go whenever you blame a screw-up on network execs?