AMC has given a third-season pickup to “Turn: Washington’s Spies,” the Revolutionary War drama that drew strong reviews for its second season but has struggled with low ratings and a low profile in pop culture.
Charlie Collier, president of AMC and SundanceTV, said the renewal was a recognition of the show’s creative strength and the growth it demonstrated across the 10-episode run of season two. In live-plus-7 ratings, the show’s total viewer average grew from 1.6 million viewers at the start of the season to 1.74 million by the June 8 finale.
More important, the show’s numbers in affluent homes with annual incomes above $100,000 grew significantly during the season, as did its traction on VOD and streaming platforms with young adults.
“Turn” revolves around George Washington, Benedict Arnold and espionage activity during the war for independence.
Collier cited the vision laid out by exec producer and showrunner Craig Silverstein and exec producer Barry Josephson for season three stories as sealing the deal for the renewal. AMC has ordered 10 episodes to air in 2016.
“We think Craig and Barry delivered a wonderful season of storytelling this year,” Collier told Variety. “And there are so many historical touchpoints for where they will take the show next season.”
“Turn’s” large ensemble cast includes Jamie Bell, Ian Kahn, Seth Numrich, Daniel Henshall and Owain Yeoman.
“Turn” aired this spring as part of AMC’s new Monday night originals lineup anchored by “Better Call Saul” and docu series “Making of the Mob: New York.” Collier emphasized that the cabler wants to maintain a diverse crop of shows, ranging from period pieces “Turn” and “Hell on Wheels” to the sci-fi-flavored “Humans” — and of course, “The Walking Dead” and the upcoming “Fear the Walking Dead.”
“We always want to send a strong signal to the creative community that we will lean in to a diverse slate of stories,” Collier said.
The other sophomore season show on AMC’s air at present, “Halt and Catch Fire,” is also battling low ratings and visibility. Collier said the decision on “Halt’s” renewal will come once execs have the chance to analyze the show’s season-long stats.