'Mystery Science Theater 3000' Revival in the Works

Shout Factory has acquired the rights to the cult hit and has launched a Kickstarter campaign with creator Joel Hodgson for a new incarnation of the series.
Courtesy of Photofest

Beloved sci-fi cult hit Mystery Science Theater 3000 is eyeing a comeback.

Multiplatform media company Shout Factory has acquired the rights to the comedy created by Joel Hodgson, who has launched a Kickstarter campaign to revive the series for a new generation.

Shout Factory made the announcement Tuesday, acquiring MST3K from Best Brains Inc. and taking over ownership of the proprietary rights to the franchise, including brand assets and global intellectual property. The company plans to create new content, digital media initiatives, live events, merchandise licensing programs and content syndication to international territories. Shout Factory and Hodgson (and his company, Alternaversal) will collaborate on future MST3K endeavors. 

"I don’t think there’s ever been a show more dependent on its fans than Mystery Science Theater 3000,” Hodgson said. “Twenty-five years ago, we asked our fans to 'Keep Circulating the Tapes' (a nod to a write-in campaign to keep the show alive) and sharing MST3K with their friends and family to help the show find its audience. Now, I’m hoping the fans will join me again to 'Keep Circulating the URL' of our Kickstarter so that we can bring MST3K back to life for a new generation."

Hodgson hopes the Kickstarter campaign will raise at least $2 million — enough to make three new feature-length episodes — with an ultimate goal of the $5.5 million needed to make a full season of 12 episodes. While Hodgson will be involved in writing and all facets of production of the potential revival, new episodes will feature a new host, Mads (aka "mad scientist") and new movies to riff. 

MST3K premiered in 1988 on a local station in Minnesota before going on to air on Comedy Central for six seasons, concluding in 1997. Then, Syfy picked the show up for another three seasons until its final cancelation in 1999 after nearly 200 episodes. The series, featuring a man and his robot sidekicks, riffed on B-movies as part of an "experiment."

The series won a prestigious Peabody Award in 1993 and was nominated for two Emmys, as well as a Cable ACE Award. It was included in Time's 100 Best TV Shows of All Time list in 2007.

"Mystery Science Theater 3000 is a true cult-classic comedy series that continues to attract fans [to] this day. This is a momentous acquisition for us. We’ve been pursuing this deal for many years, and we’re thrilled that it’s finally coming to fruition,” Shout Factory founders Richard Foos, Bob Emmer and Garson Foos said in a joint statement. “We see that there’s still tremendous untapped potential for the MST3K brand. We’re looking forward to the next phase of MST3K with Joel.”

Added Hodgson: “I am thrilled to team with Shout Factory – one of MST3K’s greatest supporters – to once again pick up the creative mantle. It’s been a long time coming, and I feel ready for the show’s reboot and hopefully lots of new iterations in different media. I’m also looking forward to working with both creative pros and the loyal fan base who have been inspired by our humble show over the years."

Said MST3K EP Jim Mallon: “Fans of MST3K can celebrate as Shout Factory begins a new MST3K adventure with the Crow, Tom Servo and Gypsy reuniting with Joel Hodgson. Shout Factory is perfectly placed for this next chapter, as they have been our partner and excellent stewards of MST3K for the past seven years.”

Shout Factory acquired home entertainment, digital and VOD distribution rights for MST3K-branded content in 2008.

Hodgson and fellow MST3K star Trace Beaulieu recently reunited on Paul Feig's Yahoo comedy Other Space.