AMC’s softly rated period drama Halt and Catch Fire has clinched another renewal. After lengthy consideration, the cable network has ordered a 10-episode third season of the series about the rise of the PC era in the early 1980s, with co-creators and writers Christopher Cantwell and Christopher C. Rogers as new showrunners. They will succeed Jonathan Lisco, who ran the show for the first two seasons. After wrapping Season 2, Lisco segued to Animal Kingdom, a drama project he had had in the works at John Wells Prods. for more than four years. In May, the script written by Lisco received a pilot order at TNT, and Lisco has been executive producing/co-showrunning with Wells the pilot starring Ellen Barkin and Scott Speedman.
Halt and Catch Fire has been a very modest ratings performer, with Season 2 averaging 520,000 viewers in Live+same day, down from 760,000 for Season 1 which had a stronger lead-in. The series has been a solid DVR gainer, sometimes doubling its premiere adults 18-49 rating in Live+3 viewing. Additionally, Season 2, which shifted focus from building a personal computer to online gaming and communication and the early days of what would become the Internet, has been well received by critics, earning the show some of its best reviews.
Owning Halt and Catch Fire was crucial for AMC’s ability to renew the show, said Joel Stillerman, president of original programming and development for AMC and SundanceTV.
“We built an ownership model a few years ago expressly for this purpose,” Stillerman said. While a network that doesn’t own its programming relies on a single metric, ratings, “ownership allows us to make a decision based on on multiple metrics,” Stillerman said. “While not large, Halt and Catch Fire‘s audience is extremely passionate and upscale, and we are pleased with the critical momentum the show has. We love what the creative team and cast have been able to deliver and are particularly grateful to the critics and fans who supported the show throughout the second season and have been pulling for its renewal.”
Owning the series also allows it to run on AMC Global channels around the world, which will continue in Season 3.
Stillerman called the showruner changeover “the best of all scenarios,” with Lisco leaving to pursue a passion project that had found a home and Cantwell and Rogers stepping up. “Jonathan was a incredible mentor and a guiding force, training two young writers who have been remarkably committed to learn cart of showrunning and preparing them to take over.”
While the characters move to Silicon Valley in Season 3, production on the series will remain based in Atlanta.
From AMC Studios, Halt and Catch Fire is executive produced by Gran Via Productions’ Mark Johnson and Melissa Bernstein and stars Lee Pace as Joe MacMillan, Scoot McNairy as Gordon Clark, Kerry Bishé as Donna Clark and Mackenzie Davis as Cameron Howe. Halt and Catch Fire is distributed internationally by Entertainment One Television.