MTV said today it was “not appropriate” to continue with a second season of Buckwild after the death of star Shain Gandee, though the network will air a special, Buckwild: WV To NYC, on April 14. n Tuesday, a week after the 21-year-old reality TV star was discovered dead in West Virginia, the network decided to permanently pull the plug on the series, which MTV had renewed for a second season in February. The network says the special was shot before production had started on the show’s now-scrapped second season and has the blessing of Gandee’s parents. Buckwild: WV To NYC will feature a short tribute to Gandee, network sources say. MTV halted filming on Season 2 of the show called “the Jersey Shore Of Appalachia” on April 1 after Gandee’s body and two others were found dead in a car near Sissonville, WVa. Here’s the statement MTV released today:
MTV has decided not to resume production on Buckwild, a network source confirmed tonight. The final decision comes just more than a week after the sudden death of castmember Shain Gandee. Despite having enough footage for several new episodes, MTV executives couldn’t see any way to continue with the series without Gandee, I’m told. An already fully produced Buckwild special that was shot before Gandee’s April 1 death could still air. TMZ first reported Tuesday on the network’s decision to cancel the reality series. MTV halted filming on Buckwild’s second season last Monday after 21-year-old Gandee and two others were found dead in a car near Sissonville, WVa. Gandee was one of the nine cast members on the hit series, referred to as “the Jersey Shore Of Appalachia”. Buckwild debuted on January 3, 2012 to 2.49 million viewers and a 1.4 rating over its back-to-back episodes. That was better than 1 million viewers more than the 1.375 million who watched the premiere of Jersey Shore in 2009. MTV renewed Buckwild for a second season on February 6.
Here’s more proof that Wall Street has freed Viacom from the penalty box following last year’s steep ratings declines at Nickelodeon and MTV. The stock’s up 2.5% in late morning trading — and touched a record $65.25 — after Nomura Equity Research’s Michael Nathanson and RBC Capital Markets’ David Bank said that trends are improving for the entertainment giant. Nickelodeon’s ratings rose 1% in Q1 and with new shows including Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles establishing themselves “we expect that the ratings momentum at Nick should continue,” Nathanson says. That could pay off if, as the analyst expects, studios boost spending to promote new movies later this year. If that happens and Nick’s ratings continue to improve then it “can likely take back some [advertising] market share from Cartoon Network,” he says. Bank’s upbeat case for Viacom goes beyond Nickelodeon. He says that ratings momentum “accelerated in roughly half of Viacom’s ad revenue portfolio” including Nick At Nite, BET, and Comedy Central. What’s more, he says MTV should look a lot better when year-over-year comparisons no longer include Jersey Shore, which ended its run late last year.
UPDATE, 12:53 PM: Filming has been halted on the second season of MTV’s Buckwild today due to the death of the show’s Shain Gandee, a network spokesperson told me. MTV will not say if the production shutdown is permanent, nor is it clear whether the reality show will go forward or whether Gandee will be featured in upcoming episodes if Buckwild Season 2 does air. Gandee, who was found dead on Monday in West Virginia, was one of nine cast members on the hit show. MTV renewed Buckwild for a second season on February 6.
PREVIOUSLY, 10:45 AM: Buckwild’s Shain Gandee has died, MTV has confirmed, after sheriff’s deputies discovered the 21-year-old reality TV star and two others dead in a car today near Sissonville, WVa. He had not been seen since earlier in the weekend. “We are shocked and saddened by the terrible news about Shain Gandee, and those involved in this tragic incident. We are waiting for more information but at this time, our main concern is for the Gandee family and their friends. Our thoughts and prayers are with them. Shain had a magnetic personality, with a passion for life that touched everyone he met and we will miss him dearly,” the network said in a statement today.
Well, that was no surprise. MTV said today that it has picked up raunchy freshman series Buckwild for a second season. The announcement comes just one day before Thursday’s season finale of the hit reality series about a group of small-town West Virginia thrill-seeking young adults. Called “The Jersey Shore Of Appalachia”, the controversial series debuted on January 3, 2012 to an audience of 2.49 million viewers and a 1.4 rating over its back-to-back episodes. That was over a million viewers more than the 1.375 million who watched the premiere of Jersey Shore in 2009. Buckwild has averaged 3 million viewers an episode in Live +3 in its first season. Late last year, Buckwild attracted some of the controversy and the political spotlight when Sen. Joe Manchin III (D-WVa) called on MTV to “put a stop to the travesty called Buckwild.” Obviously MTV decided otherwise.
Here we go again. In December 2009, MTV’s launch of Jersey Shore, about a group of party-loving young Italian Americans, drew the ire of Italian American organizations and legislators who mounted a campaign against the show. Sen. Joseph F. Vitale, chairman of the New Jersey Italian American Legislative Caucus, and Richard Bilotti, chairman of the New Jersey Italian and Italian American Heritage Commission, sent a letter to MTV parent company Viacom asking them to cancel the show for its “offensive, inaccurate” portrayal of Italian-Americans. “Jersey Shore is a fabrication created by MTV Networks and marketed to represent reality,” the letter says. “This is a far cry from a documentary of a naturally occurring subculture existing in New Jersey.”
Now history seems to be repeating itself with MTV’s upcoming reality series Buckwild, about a group of thrill-seeking twentysomethings in a small West Virginia town, which has been dubbed “The Jersey Shore Of Appalachia” and “Hillbillies Gone Wild” (watch trailer below). MTV has already anointed it a successor to departing hit Jersey Shore by scheduling it in Jersey Shore‘s Thursday 10 PM slot and has been using the same type of provocative promo campaign that it used for Jersey Shore three years ago, perhaps hoping to spark controversy again for extra publicity. As a result, the network is getting a similar reaction from legislators. Sen. Joe Manchin III (D-W.Va.) today …