The upcoming third season of AMC's "Hell On Wheels" appears to be going off the rails. Deadline reports that showrunner John Shiban has given notice to the network heads that he won't be returning to the series for its upcoming season.
The news comes on the heels of the series being picked up for a 10-episode third season by the cable network on Monday. The season pick-up came with news that show creators Joe and Tony Gayton would be departing the series with the conclusion of this second season, heading to NBC to spearhead a new series project about a criminal courier. While the creators' departure was hardly welcome news, AMC seemed to believe the series was still on track (no pun intended) with showrunner Shiban on board.
With Shiban's exit, the new season of "Hell On Wheels" is reportedly up in the air, pending the network buckling down to bring a new showrunner into the fold. While the series hasn't had the runaway success that "The Walking Dead" has, it posted solid viewership numbers of 2.4 million, down from its freshman average of 3 million viewers likely due to a combination of the effects of the AMC/Dish Network dispute and the lack of "Walking Dead" lead-in.
AMC doesn't seem to have the greatest track record with keeping showrunners happy, as Shiban joins Frank Darabont and Jason Horwitch as showrunners summarily ousted from their respective cable series (either voluntarily or otherwise). Is this a disturbing trend at the network, or a showrunner leaving for greener pastures?