The Paramount Network has decided not to air the episodic TV reboot of the 1989 teen black comedy film Heathers. The show was set to premiere on the Paramount Network on July 10, after its initial March 7 premiere date was delayed over the Parkland shooting. But in an interview with The Hollywood Reporter, Keith Cox, president of development and production at the Paramount Network, basically said that the show is too dark and school shootings keep happening too often for the network to feel comfortable airing it. So is the Heathers reboot cancelled? Not exactly… instead, the Paramount Network is shopping it around to see if another network will buy it.
If you’ll recall, the reboot followed the plot of the original film. An evil clique called The Heathers (this time made up of a plus-sized model, a genderqueer guy and a lipstick lesbian) terrorize Westerburg High with their ruthless brand of identity politics and liberal bromides (the left’s version of bullying, replete with social media shaming). Things turn topsy-turvy, though, when a new boy in town, JD, enters the picture, igniting a series of murders among the popular clique and its following.
“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,” Cox said. “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.”
“The combination of a high school show with these very dark moments didn’t feel right,” Cox added.
The Paramount Network falls under the control of the media company Viacom, a company that broadcasted 17 minutes of silence on all of its media platforms out of respect for the victims of the Parkland shooting. The Hollywood Reporter says that the Paramount Network decided not to air the Heathers reboot on July 10 either after the May 18 school shooting in Santa Fe, Texas.
Basically, school shootings happen too often for Paramount or Viacom to ever feel comfortable airing a high school dark comedy which has scenes of students shooting each other and blowing up the school.
So is the Heathers reboot cancelled? No, but no one knows when we’ll see it.
Cox says his company is now shopping around the show’s completed 10-episode first season to get it broadcasted at another network or streaming service because his company is dedicated to making sure the show gets seen.
The show’s trailer seemingly shrugged off society’s obsession with political correctness. Some people find that appalling, and one outlet even called it “out-of-touch bigotry while another called it the first Trumpian TV show, since it might depict white students getting revenge on queer, marginalized and hypocritical social justice warriors.
Showrunner and writer Jason Micallef insists this is a misreading of the intent of the series. The creators have said it is not “a power fantasy about a straight white couple murdering minorities,” yet we will have to wait and see.
“[We] love the show and we are trying hard to set it up at a place that then can keep the franchise going,” Cox said. “[The writer’s room is] in now and closer to the end of prepping season two. The goal is when we sell this, you get a package: season one and all the development for season two. You’re buying a franchise.”
Cox hinted that the show’s second season won’t happen at a high school since the show is an anthology series with each season portraying a different scenario. “Heathers really are just a group of people,” Cox said, adding that a non-high school setting would help the show reach a different viewer demographic beyond the high school set.