AMC renews computer drama ‘Halt and Catch Fire’

‘Halt and Catch Fire” will return for a second season
Scoot McNairy as Gordon Clark in the TV show “Halt and Catch Fire.”
(James Minchin III / AMC )

AMC isn’t hitting the ESC button on its computer drama “Halt and Catch Fire.”

The network announced Wednesday it has renewed the 1980s-set drama for a second season that will roll out next summer.

“Halt and Catch Fire” took viewers into the early days of the rise of the personal computer in Texas’ Silicon Prairie, the often overlooked stepsister to Silicon Valley. It stars Lee Pace, Scoot McNairy and MacKenzie Davis as a rebel team that tries to challenge tech giant IBM with their own vision of a computer.

It was created by newcomers Chris Cantwell and Chris Rogers, with  Jonathan Lisco (“Southland”) serving as showrunner.


Ahead of the drama’s premiere, AMC President Charlie Collier seemed confident the show would catch on despite its muted feel, saying the series was “the most fun you’ll have watching people build computers.”

But not everyone saw it that way. The series premiered to 1.2 million total viewers in June, just below half of what the network’s war drama “Turn” delivered with its opening. While it averaged 1.3 million viewers (below the 1.8 million that the network’s now-canceled “Low Winter Sun” delivered), the series closed out its first season this month to about 574,000 total viewers. When delayed viewing over seven days are factored in, that number climbs to slightly below 1 million viewers.

Throughout the network’s release announcing the show’s renewal, it made sure to characterize the turnout as a “committed core audience” and “passionate audience.” And Collier, in his canned statment, played up the network’s reputation for patience.

“This is a show about invention, experimentation and the inherent risks in trying to break new ground -- themes that really resonate with us as a network and attracted a passionate audience,”  he said. “We have a history of demonstrating patience through the early seasons of new shows, betting on talent and building audience over time. We see that opportunity here and look forward to a second season of ‘Halt and Catch Fire’ ...”


In their own statment, Lisco, Cantwell and Rogers had this to say:

“We’re thrilled to have the opportunity to continue telling this story. Our series about creation, innovation and taking bold risks wouldn’t be possible if it weren’t for our partners at AMC, a network known for these very things. Harnessing the momentum of our first season, this next chapter will take the rich characters our audience has come to love in new and surprising directions.”


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