MythBusters Explain Casting Changes, Reveal New Format

The MythBusters are bringing a new format to TV screens in just a few weeks, without several longtime cast members. Months after fans learned of the decision, they finally have new insight into the changes.

Citing unnamed sources, Entertainment Weekly revealed that the unexpected format modification was the result of a salary renegotiation with the MythBusters cast. The show’s longtime executive producer, Dan Tapster, addressed the departure of cast members Kari Byron, Grant Imahara, and Tory Belleci from MythBusters as part of an interview with the magazine.

“We were very keen for [Imahara, Byron and Belleci] to be a part of the show, we are massive fans of theirs, and what they did over 10 years was phenomenal,” Tapster noted. “There were negotiations, and based on those negotiations, they opted out. It’s a shame for them. It’s a shame for us. But it gave us the opportunity to reinvent the show, which it kind of needed.”

EW points out that MythBusters has been on the air for 11 years, with a larger returning cast than most unscripted shows. Talent costs for a show also tend to rise yearly, further extending the expenses associated with a large cast.

MythBusters co-host Adam Savage addressed the departures as well, noting that he and colleague Jamie Hyneman weren’t involved in the decision.

“Kari, Grant, and Tory are good friends of ours and we love those guys. We didn’t want to see them go. The actual reasons for them going—while we have certain understandings of what went on, that’s a contract discussion between Discovery and those guys. We don’t know much about how that actually went.”

Savage also said that he understands how upset MythBusters fans were when the change in the show’s cast was revealed, as the Inquisitr previously noted. Recalling a cool audience response he received to a joke about altering the MythBusters’ narrator in the past, Savage noted his understanding of fans’ protective nature toward the show.

“When we were looking down the barrel, as it were, of Kari, Grant, and Tory leaving, Jamie and I totally expected a vigorous response. It’s sad. I don’t like to disappoint the fans. I don’t like to make them angry. But I really feel like when they see what we’ve been producing this year, they’ll see a program that we still love to make.”

As CNET notes, the new season of MythBusters presented unique challenges for Savage and Hyneman, requiring them to produce each entire 42-minute episode in the same time allotted for just half that work in previous seasons. Along with a new look, MythBusters has reportedly focused on education as part of the show’s reinvention.

Viewers will get a chance to experience the new format, albeit without some favorite cast members, when MythBusters premiers on January 10.

[Image: Discovery Channel/Benjamin Hanson via International Business Times]