New York, NY, August 10, 2022 – AMC Networks today announced that veteran TV producer and showrunner John Wirth has joined the creative team behind its breakout series Dark Winds and will serve as showrunner for season two. Season one averaged nearly two million linear viewers per episode on AMC in Nielsen live+3 ratings and the series is the #2 new cable drama for the current television season. Dark Winds has also become the #1 new series launch in AMC+ history – in terms of both viewership and subscriber acquisition. Produced by AMC Studios, the six-episode second season will arrive on AMC+ and AMC next year.
Set in 1971 on a remote outpost of the Navajo Nation near Monument Valley, Dark Winds follows Lieutenant Joe Leaphorn (Zahn McClarnon) of the Tribal Police as he is besieged by a series of seemingly unrelated crimes. The closer he digs to the truth, the more he exposes the wounds of his past. He is joined on this journey by his new deputy, Jim Chee (Kiowa Gordon). Chee, too, has old scores to settle from his youth on the reservation. Together, the two men battle the forces of evil, each other and their own personal demons on the path to salvation. The series is based on the iconic Leaphorn & Chee book series by Tony Hillerman.
“We are thrilled to welcome John Wirth, someone we know well and have collaborated with so successfully on multiple shows – most notably Hell on Wheels – to the Dark Winds creative team,” said Dan McDermott, president of entertainment and AMC Studios for AMC Networks. “This series quickly became one of the breakout hits of the year, on both linear television and streaming, and we are looking forward to the ride continuing next year.”
Created and executive produced by Graham Roland (Tom Clancy’s Jack Ryan, The Returned, Almost Human, Fringe), the series stars McClarnon (The Son, Westworld, Fargo), who is also an executive producer, Gordon (The Red Road, Roswell, New Mexico) and Jessica Matten (Tribal, The Empty Man, Frontier). Executive producers are Robert Redford, George R.R. Martin, Anne Hillerman, Chris Eyre, Vince Gerardis and Tina Elmo.
“Hap and Leonard, Hell on Wheels, Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles, Nash Bridges – John Wirth is someone who needs no introduction and knows his way around a compelling and highly watchable story,” said executive producers McClarnon and Eyre. “Tony Hillerman gave us so much rich material to explore, we are excited to dive into season two with the rest of the creative team and John as our showrunner. Together, we aim to return with something special for the fans of Dark Winds.”
“I’m delighted to be returning home to AMC to join the Dark Winds team for season two and roll up my sleeves alongside Zahn McClarnon, Chris Eyre, George RR Martin, Robert Redford and others. I’m a long-time fan of the Tony Hillerman novels and am looking forward to working with my indigenous partners to bring his books and the world of the Navajo Nation to life on screen,” said John Wirth, showrunner and executive producer.
Dark Winds as a television series has been a project 35 years in the making. Robert Redford optioned Hillerman’s book collection more than three decades ago, and the series, whose first season focuses primarily on the book The Listening Woman, with elements of People of Darkness, found a home on AMC+ and AMC. The production worked closely with the Navajo Nation. With special permission, 70% of Dark Winds was filmed on tribal lands at Tesuque Pueblo in New Mexico, using their facility Camel Rock Studios. Another 30% of the series was filmed on tribal lands at Cochiti Pueblo, also in New Mexico.
About AMC Networks
AMC Networks (Nasdaq: AMCX) is a global entertainment company known for its popular and critically acclaimed content. Its brands include targeted streaming services AMC+, Acorn TV, Shudder, Sundance Now, ALLBLK, and the newest addition to its targeted streaming portfolio, the anime-focused HIDIVE streaming service, in addition to AMC, BBC AMERICA (operated through a joint venture with BBC Studios), IFC, SundanceTV, WE tv, IFC Films and RLJE Films. AMC Studios, the Company’s in-house studio, production and distribution operation, is behind some of the biggest titles and brands known to a global audience, including The Walking Dead, the Anne Rice catalog and the Agatha Christie library. The Company also operates AMC Networks International, its international programming business, and 25/7 Media, its production services business.