No more mudding romps for MTV. The cable network has decided to cancel Buckwild — its controversial reality show about a group of young, hard-partying West Virginians — following the tragic accidental death last week of star Shain Gandee, his uncle and a friend, they confirmed Wednesday, April 10 in a statement.
"After careful consideration, MTV will not be moving forward with season two of BUCKWILD in West Virginia," says the network. "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." The network adds that it plans to run a special entitled "BUCKWILD: WV to the NYC," plus a "day of programming dedicated to Shain in which we will air the entire first season of BUCKWILD."
Just 21 years old, Gandee was found dead April 1 in his Ford Bronco along with his uncle David Gandee, 28, and pal Donald Robert Myers, 27; as confirmed by local authorities, the trio suffered fatal carbon monoxide poisoning after the vehicle became stuck in mud during a "mudding," or off-road driving, excursion.
"Thanks to everyone for their thoughts and prayers during this incredibly difficult time for our family. We have truly felt all the love and know that Shain is resting peacefully," Shain's mom, Loretta Gandee, said in a statement. "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."
Late Tuesday, show producer J.P. Williams first confirmed to The Hollywood Reporter that the channel halted production for good on the show.
And Williams is furious over MTV's decision. "This is the network that has shows about teen pregnancy," Williams snipes, in a reference to popular shows 16 and Pregnant and Teen Mom. "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 and they cancel the show?" says Williams. "There's something that smells of s— here on every level."
According to producer Williams, who manages most Buckwild's young cast and produces the show, MTV told him as of last Friday that it intended to continue shooting the series. But on Tuesday, April 9, the network had changed course, canceling the show for good.
"There was no explanation," says Williams, who says he intends to continue shooting the series and maybe even finance a feature film. "My job is to protect these kids," he said. "This will get ugly."