The Heathers reboot was originally set to premiere on the Paramount Network on March 7, but was put on hold following the school shooting in Parkland, Florida. It was then set to premiere July 10, but with school shootings becoming a normal occurrence and the debate around gun control growing stronger, Paramount has now decided to pull the project all together.
Based on the 1988 cult film Heathers, the reboot series is a black comedy anthology following a new group of Heathers set in modern day. The big difference is the high school students who would typically be considered outcasts are now the queen bees running the school. Following an early online release of the first episode, the series received mixed-to-negative reviews.
Paramount Network’s president of development and production Keith Cox spoke with The Hollywood Reporter about the decision to move on from Heathers. “To be clear, I love this series and I believe in the franchise. It’s an anthology and was unique for us. The goal is not to scrap it but sell it,” he said. “We knew we were doing a very bold show that pushes boundaries. It’s a satire but it’s very bold. We knew that, and then [the gun control] movement happened and we as a company applauded that movement. This was a very difficult decision. We had multiple meetings, and in the end, we didn’t feel comfortable right now airing the series and I’m not sure when there might be a time that we as a youthful brand at Viacom would feel comfortable. That said, we are very diligently trying to sell this because we believe in the show.”
Watch my video discussing the Heathers film versus the Heathers reboot pilot, below:
Cox revealed that the series is being shopped around everywhere, even to Netflix. “[Netflix is] definitely in conversations. Absolutely. Out of respect to the producers, we want this to be a franchise and selling it to someone who will maybe do five or six seasons of it was our first job,” he said. “We’re talking to everyone: SVOD, premium cable, and we may have even spoken to a broadcast network. It might go to an ad-supported buyer but it might not. There’s a few in the mix and they’ve shown interest. SVOD places take more risks and can get away with more.”
With the hope to continue the franchise, the writer’s room has already begun work on a second season. “The room is open now and since we moved it after Parkland we could have never made a season two, so we thought, ‘Let’s start a room early.’ They’re in now and closer to the end of prepping season two,” he said. “The goal is when we sell this, you get a package: season one and all the development for season two. You’re buying a franchise.”
With Heathers being an anthology, the next season would be connected to the first but definitely different. “Season two is not set in high school but it’s still bold and pushing boundaries. But you really need season one for season two to make sense — you can’t flip them. There is some connective tissue, so to speak, without giving away too much,” Cox said.
For now, the future of the Heathers reboot is unknown.