The Paramount Network has dropped Heathers, a reboot of the 1988 movie, before a single episode aired.
Heathers was supposed to debut on March 7, but the anthology series was pulled from the schedule because of the Feb. 14 high school shooting in Parkland, Florida. According to The Hollywood Reporter, the network considered a July launch, but the shooting at a high school in Santa Fe, Texas on May 18 led to another delay.
“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. It’s hitting on so many hot topics,” Keith Cox, Paramount Network president of development and production, told The Hollywood Reporter. “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.”
Cox developed the show at Viacom-owned TV Land, but took it with him to Paramount Network after Viacom re-branded Spike TV. Sources told THR Paramount was so excited about the series it was planning to renew it for a second season before the Parkland shooting.
The decision to pull Heathers came on Friday afternoon, when those who worked on the series were told. Sources also told THR the cast was “relieved” it will not air.
Cox and other Viacom executives are trying to find a new home for the show, since the movie it inspired by is still popular. Plus, production on the 10-episode first season was already completed and writers are almost done writing the second season. THR reports it was going to be set in the 1700s and revolve around Marie Antoinette. The key stars from season one would play new characters.
The first season was set in a high school, with newcomers James Scully and Grace Victoria Cox playing the roles originated by Christian Slater and Winona Ryder in the film. Shannen Doherty, who starred in the film, had a cameo in the pilot. Leslye Headland directed the pilot, and Jason Micallef was the showrunner.
Like the movie, the series featured suicides and the high school blows up at the end.
“In the end, we didn’t want to butcher the show or make it something that it’s not, which isn’t fair to the writers, producers and cast,” Cox told THR. “The goal is to sell it and keep the franchise alive.”