MTV made it official: “Buckwild” is now cancelled, following the death a week ago of one of the show’s participants, 21-year-old Shain Gandee.
The official statement from MTV came after the show’s producers, including show runner J.P. Williams, were reportedly informed on Tuesday that MTV had decided to pull the plug on the show rather than resume production, according to the THR story.
The decision angered the producer, who accused MTV of hypocrisy. “This is the network that has shows about teen pregnancy,” he’s quoted as saying. “They’ll stick by a show that allows you to abandon a child, but a kid dies by accident doing what he does for a living [mudding] and they cancel the show? There’s something that smells of s— here on every level.”
Gandee was found dead April 1 in West Virginia along with two others in a vehicle they had taken “off-road” for a form of recreation they enjoyed called “mudding.” The vehicle had apparently plummeted down an embankment and became stuck, and Gandee and the others were eventually asphyxiated by carbon monoxide. The accident had nothing to do with the MTV series, which was not filming Gandee at the time.
Nevertheless, MTV suspended production on “Buckwild” shortly after Gandee’s body was found. In the THR story, Williams insisted that MTV officials told him last Friday production would resume soon. Four episodes for the show’s second season were reportedly completed, with four more scheduled to be produced — at least part of which would have dealt with Gandee’s death and its aftermath. But now, production has been halted for good and the show is cancelled.
“After careful consideration, MTV will not be moving forward with season two of ‘Buckwild’ in West Virginia,” the MTV statement said. “We love the cast and the show and this was not an easy decision, but given Shain’s tragic passing and essential presence on the show, we felt it was not appropriate to continue without him. Instead, we are working on a meaningful way to pay tribute to his memory on our air and privately.”
That tribute will include a special episode of “Buckwild” titled “Buckwild: WV to the NYC,” which will air this Sunday night (April 14), MTV announced. The episode was shot before production had begun on Season Two, but some time after production of Season One, MTV said.
Then, on Monday (April 15), all of the episodes from Season One of “Buckwild” will air back-to-back, taking up much of the day. MTV said the marathon comes with “the support” of Dale and Loretta Gandee, Shain’s parents. MTV’s Wednesday announcement even included a prepared statement from Loretta Gandee.
“Thanks to everyone for their thoughts and prayers during this incredibly difficult time for our family,” she said. “We have truly felt all the love and know that Shain is resting peacefully. Shain was an incredible, outgoing, and positive person who was loved by whoever he met. We are honored that we were able to let the world see what a wonderful son we had. He was the best son anyone could ask for. As we look to honor him in our lives every day moving forward, we are happy to share some of his last moments doing what he loved best: having fun and making people laugh,”
In the THR story, Williams complained that there was “no explanation” from MTV about the cancellation. He then threatened legal action. “This will get ugly,” he said.
“Buckwild” is a show about the lives of nine young adults living in and around Charleston, W.Va. It premiered in January and immediately became so popular that MTV announced in February it would produce a second season.
MTV’s statement did not address the producer’s remarks.