Every now and then, real life intersects television in a way in which nobody really expects. This is something that has clearly happened with the planned Paramount Network reboot of Heathers.
Originally, this series was meant to air earlier this year, but that was changed following the shooting in Parkland. Then, it was planned tentatively for later this year, but then it was pushed against after the Santa Fe High School shooting. The problem with the series is that much like the movie, it’s a violent story that uses a high school as a backdrop. It’s timely in a way that is at times terrifying. While it may be satire, there are many out there who may not feel that way. This is why the show isn’t airing on the Paramount Network and now, it’s left to find a new home elsewhere.
In a detailed interview with the Hollywood Reporter, President of development and production Keith Cox describes the decision to not air the show, and also how much he still believes in it as a series set to air somewhere else:
To be clear, I love this series and I believe in the franchise. It’s an anthology and was unique for us. The goal is not to scrap it but sell it. We shot this in November 2016 for TV Land. We’ve been working on this for a couple years. The cultural landscape has changed so fast. After Parkland, we as a company — which I applaud — we were in unison with the National School Walkout and went dark for 17 minutes [across all Viacom channels]. We were going to air and we paused that. It was the right thing to do — Viacom’s brands are youth brands. We have a unique relationship with youth and this movement after Parkland was so big and kept growing and we’ve been a partner in that. We were going to air in March and hit pause and then had Santa Fe. We knew we were doing a very bold show that pushes boundaries. It’s a satire but it’s very bold. We knew that and then this movement happened and we as a company applauded that movement. This was a very difficult decision. We had multiple meetings, and in the end, we didn’t feel comfortable right now airing the series and I’m not sure when there might be a time that we as a youthful brand at Viacom would feel comfortable. That said, we are very diligently trying to sell this because we believe in the show.
Is there another capable suitor out there? Given that they already have a violent high school series in 13 Reasons Why, Netflix may not feel the need to double-dip on such content. We would think that Amazon or Hulu would be interesting homes for the show, but even with those two we wonder if they will be equipped to handle the difficult content. The fear here is likely going to be that the show inspires violence, even if that is not the intention.
If there is more Heathers beyond season 1, there could already be some plans in the works; according to the interview, a second season for the show is largely written.
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Meanwhile, be sure to like CarterMatt on Facebook for some other updates regarding the series. (Photo: Paramount Network.)