MTV has cancelled the rookie reality program Buckwild.
Originally promoted as the new Jersey Shore, the unscripted series focusing on rowdy youths in rural West Virginia made headlines recently with the death of cast member Shain Gandee.
On April 1, Gandee, 21, was found dead in his vehicle along with his uncle and another man. All three men died of carbon-monoxide poisoning believed to have been caused by the tailpipe of their vehicle being submerged in mud. The men were reportedly taking part in the off-road sport known as “mudding” at the time. Production on the series was immediately suspended following the deaths.
MTV cited Gandee’s passing as the primary reason for cancelling the show. “We felt it was not appropriate to continue without him,” said the MTV statement. “Instead we are working on a meaningful way to pay tribute to his memory on our air and privately.”
In the same statement, MTV revealed it will air a special this Sunday titled Buckwild: WV to the NYC, following an entire day of programming dedicated to Gandee’s memory.
Gandee’s death was not the only hitch during Buckwild’s first 13-episode season. On February 10, cast member Salwa Amin was arrested for possession of a large quantity of Oxycodone. On February 15, recurring cast regular Michael “Bluefoot” Burford was arrested for aggravated DUI.
The cancellation of Buckwild came as a surprise to executive producer J.P. Williams, who railed against MTV in an interview with The Hollywood Reporter on late Tuesday.
“This is the network that has shows about teen pregnancy,” said Williams, referring to MTV’s popular reality series Teen Moms. “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? There’s something that smells of s–– here on every level.”
Williams also told the Hollywood Reporter that he plans to continue shooting the series–four episodes were in the can at the time of Gandee’s death–and will attempt to produce a Buckwild feature film from the footage.