When it was first announced that a TV show based on the movie Heathers was in the works, many fans of the cult hit rejoiced. However, after having its premiere date pushed back, the channel it was slated to air on, the Paramount Network, announced today it will not be broadcasting the series, according to The Hollywood Reporter.
The Heathers reboot was originally scheduled to debut on the network March 7, but the premiere was delayed in the wake of the deadly shooting at the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, that took place on Feb. 14.
A new premiere date, July 10, was announced for the anthology. But now, with another school shooting in Santa Fe, Texas, on May 18, the heated debate over gun control, and the changing times, all plans to air the series have been scrapped.
“This is a high school show, we’re blowing up the school, there are guns in the school, it’s a satire, and there are moments of teachers having guns,” explained Keith Cox, the president of development and production at the Paramount Network, to The Hollywood Reporter. “It’s hitting on so many hot topics. This company can’t be speaking out of both sides of its mouth, saying the youth movement is important for us, and we’ve done all these wonderful things to support that, and at the same time, we’re putting on a show that we’re not comfortable with.”
With Heathers, dark and edgy stories were to be told, showing teenagers as they really are — not some watered-down TV version. Suicide was one issue they explore in the first season.
“We knew we were doing a very bold show that pushes boundaries,” Cox told THR. “It’s a satire but it’s very bold.”
At the same time, the Paramount Network’s parent company, Viacom, applauds and supports the current youth movement.
“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,” continued Cox.
Although originally developed for the TV Land network, who filmed the pilot in November, 2016, the reboot will not be picked up by any Viacom-owned channels. It is, however, being shopped around since Cox and his associates really “believe” in the show.
The entire first season, 10 hour-long episodes, has long been completed, and writers were already working on stories for a second season (even though the series hadn’t officially been renewed), which is said to be tied to the first season, but will be set in a new location and feature different characters — but some of the same actors.
The Heathers anthology features James Scully as J.D., Grace Victoria Cox as Veronica, and Jasmine Mathews, Brendan Scannell, and Melanie Field as the three Heathers. Shannen Doherty, who starred in the original movie, filmed a role for the pilot.
In addition to Doherty, the original Heathers, which premiered on the silver screen in 1988, featured Christian Slater and Winona Ryder. A musical based on the movie has been staged off-Broadway and in other cities.
THR’s sources revealed that several cast members were glad the series will not air right now because of today’s social climate, which is vastly different from when the show initially started production.