1:53pm PT by Kate Stanhope
'Sweet/Vicious' Team Talks Latest Efforts to Shop MTV Series: "We're Fighters"
It's been more than a month since MTV canceled critical darling Sweet/Vicious, but the show's fan base is alive and well, and appeared in full force at the ATX Television Festival on Saturday.
The show's creative team was also in attendance for the panel, or as they called it, a "family reunion," including series creator Jennifer Kaytin Robinson, showrunner Amanda Lasher, executive producer Stacey Sher as well as stars Taylor Dearden, Eliza Bennett and Aisha Dee.
Premiering last year, Sweet/Vicious centered on two college students (Dearden and Bennett) who have a secret life as vigilantes targeting sexual assailants. Despite great reviews and strong word-of-mouth buzz, the drama could not break through and wrapped its run in January with just 239,000 total viewers.
When MTV made the decision in April, a network spokesperson called it a "timely and thought provoking series" and created it for starting a "much needed dialogue around sexual assault." However, the network was also "deeply disappointed such an impactful show did not find a larger audience."
Sher opened about the show's demise at MTV, which saw network president Sean Atkins exit in October shortly before the series premiered. His exit also preceded a major shakeup among Viacom's various cable channels, which will also see Spike TV change to Paramount at the end of the year.
"They killed us slowly and not-so-kindly," she said. "They went through a lot of regime changes so it was challenging but we're fighters. We hope it's not only 10 episodes."
Sher revealed that she and the other producers have already found four studios to produce new episodes of the series "so all we really need is a network home now," she said. Although the show won't live on at MTV, Sher explained that the network has "said they will make it very easy for us [to continue] because they were proud of the show."
Robinson put the cancelation in more blunt terms: "The disconnect between the business and the heart sucks."
However, she also remained optimistic about a potential season two, saying part of the plan was to shine the light on LGBTQ victims and victims of different ethnicities, "We wanted to tell all these stories and we still do. Hopefully someone will let us," she said.
When asked by a fan how to help secure the series a new home, Robinson encouraged viewers to "stay vocal and tweeting to the network because I do think those optics matter," she said. "As the industry changes and grows, I think that matters more than ratings."
In addition to using the #SaveSweetVicious hashtag, Robinson urged viewers to reach out to Netflix, now known for saving previously canceled series. "Netflix has a page where you can request what you want to see on Netflix," she explained. "Spam that page."
It's through social media that the show has found a fervent and passionate following.
"It's weird to say incredible because it means that thousands of people have told me they've been sexually assaulted, which is horrifying," she said. "But what the show has done and what the show has validated in so many is that they're not alone…and what they went through is not a one-off," she said. "We have a long way to go but I was blown away by the response and a community that was kind of started around this and around what these women did onscreen."
Robinson ended the emotional panel by making a promise to those in the audience and those who have been victims of sexual assault.
She said holding back tears, "I'm not going to stop fighting to tell those stories."