Having faced so many critiques and setbacks that we’re now officially out of “What’s your damage?” jokes, the Heathers TV reboot has now been dumped by yet another network. Per The Hollywood Reporter, the controversial remake has just been scrapped by Paramount Network (a.k.a. the recently redubbed Spike), where it was recently moved from its original (and tonally incongruous) home at TV Land.
According to THR, Viacom is still bound and determined to get this take on the 1989 dark comic classic—which features a plus-sized model, a gender-queer teen, and a lesbian person of color as its titular ruling clique, in an inversion of the outsider vs. popular kid tropes at play in the original film—onto the air somewhere. The show was originally planned for a March 7 premiere date, but was indefinitely postponed after the Parkland shootings (and then the Sante Fe shootings after that, and you can probably repeat this list with new names for as long as gun culture in America remains relentlessly terrible and frightening.)
THR talked extensively with Paramount president of development Keith Cox—who originally helped develop the series at TV Land—about the decision to not air the show on his own home network:
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. 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.
Still, Paramount executives are apparently super-enthused about the already-shot series’ quality, to the point that they’d already authorized a writers room to begin working on a second season of what’s now being billed as an anthology series. (In what might be the most baffling element of this whole story, sources say the writers were apparently going to get around this whole inconvenient school shooting thing by making it a 1700s period piece based on Marie Antoinette.) (!???) From the interview with Cox, it sounds like the network is trying to sell the series—and all the development that’s been done on a second season—to some other entity that doesn’t have to worry about its advertisers going full Christian Slater on it for airing such violent and controversial school-adjacent content. (Cox says Netflix is “definitely in conversations” he’s having, but nothing’s down on the books.)
The show’s cast and crew were informed of the decision earlier today. According to sources talking to THR, “multiple cast members are relieved that the series will not currently air.”