9:33am PT by Erin Carlson
MTV on 'Buckwild' Cancellation: 'This Was Not an Easy Decision'
It's official: MTV is pulling the plug on Buckwild following the death of cast member Shain Gandee.
"After careful consideration, MTV will not be moving forward with season two of Buckwild in West Virginia," the network said Wednesday in a statement. "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."
On Tuesday, a source close to the show confirmed with The Hollywood Reporter that MTV was taking Buckwild off the air in an effort to duck any potential controversy. The news had producer J.P. Williams fuming.
"This is the network that has shows about teen pregnancy," he lamented to THR. "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."
In deciding to cancel, MTV execs also recognized that Gandee was the show's breakout star. Production on the second season had been suspended after the 21-year-old was found dead April 1 in his vehicle, along with his uncle and a friend, after going off-roading, or "mudding," on a remote road in West Virginia.
The network will pay tribute to Gandee on Sunday with a special, Buckwild: WV to the NYC, after airing a marathon of the series' first season. The program was shot before filming began on season two.
"Thanks to everyone for their thoughts and prayers during this incredibly difficult time for our family," said Gandee's parents, Dale and Loretta Gandee, in a statement. "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."
They added: "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."