‘Hell on Wheels’ Has AMC's 2nd Biggest Premiere With 4.4M Viewers

Debut of post-Civil War series comes close to matching the 5.3 million viewers who tuned into the premiere of “The Walking Dead” last year

 

AMC continues to have success launching original series, with its latest offering, "Hell on Wheels," debuting to 4.4 million viewers Sunday.

It was the network's second highest original-series premiere ever, trailing only the Halloween 2010 launch of "The Walking Dead," which premiered to 5.3 million viewers.

A post-Civil War-themed drama, "Hell on Wheels" averaged 2.4 million viewers in the adults 18-49 demo, and 2.3 million adults 25-54.

Here's the full AMC press release:

“HELL ON WHEELS” BECOMES AMC’S SECOND HIGHEST ORIGINAL SERIES PREMIERE DELIVERING 4.4 MILLION VIEWERS

2.4 MILLION ADULTS 18-49

2.3 MILLION ADULTS 25-54

New York – November 7, 2011 – Last night’s series premiere of AMC’s “Hell on Wheels” delivered a 3.1 HH rating attracting 4.4 million viewers, becoming the second highest series premiere in AMC’s history following the success of “The Walking Dead.”  “The Walking Dead,” which premiered its second season on Sunday, October 16th continues to be the most watched drama series in basic cable history for Adults 18-49.

“I congratulate the entire cast and crew of ‘Hell on Wheels’ for pulling off a project of this scope. Bringing the grandeur of the old west and the building of the railroad to life is no small feat and the Gaytons, with their team, have delivered a beautiful world of which we are all so proud,” said Charlie Collier, AMC’s president. “We look forward to sharing the lives of these characters in the weeks and months to come.”

Key Nielsen Highlights for the season premiere of “Hell on Wheels” at 10pm:

3.1 HH rating with 4.4 million viewers

delivers 2.4 million Adults 18-49

delivers 2.3 million Adults 25-54

Source: The Nielsen Company, Live+SD 11/6/11, AA (000), 10pm premiere telecast.

“Hell on Wheels,” is set in post-Civil War America circa 1865. The series centers on former Confederate soldier Cullen Bohannan (Anson Mount) who sets out to exact revenge on the Union soldiers who have killed his wife.  His journey takes him west to ‘Hell on Wheels,’ a dangerous, raucous, lawless melting pot of a town that travels with and services the construction of the first transcontinental railroad, an engineering feat unprecedented for its time.  The series examines the railroad's institutionalized greed and corruption, the immigrant experience, and the plight of the newly emancipated African-Americans during reconstruction.  Over time, “Hell on Wheels” chronicles this potent turning point in our nation's history, and how uncivilized the business of civilization can be. 

“Hell on Wheels” is created and written by Joe and Tony Gayton who also serve as executive producers along with Endemol’s Jeremy Gold and John Shiban. Entertainment One (eOne) produces the series.

“Hell on Wheels” stars Anson Mount (In Her Shoes, “Law & Order”) as Cullen Bohannon;musician/actor Common (Just Wright, Date Night) as Elam; Dominique McElligott (“The Philanthropist”) as Lily Bell; Colm Meaney (Get Him to the Greek) as Thomas “Doc” Durant; Ben Esler (“The Pacific”) as Sean McGinnes; Philip Burke ("Law & Order," "Mercy") as Mickey McGinnes and Eddie Spears (“Into the West”) as Joseph Black Moon.

“Hell on Wheels” has already been described by InTouch as “Unforgiven meets Glory in this grimy post-Civil War Western series.” The New York Daily News said, "AMC rolls out another winner with ‘Hell on Wheels’… 4 Stars." The Washington Post calls it, “hands down the most intriguing show in the fall slate.” USA Today says, “the show aims for “hellish” and it achieves it” and The Wall Street Journal says “railroads may not seem sexy, but this series brings a ‘There Will Be Blood’ aesthetic to episodic TV.”