MTV canceling 'Buckwild' after Gandee's death
CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- MTV has decided to cancel the reality-based television show "Buckwild," which was shot in and around Sissonville, in the wake of the death of cast member Shain Gandee.
In a statement Wednesday morning, MTV said, "After careful consideration, MTV will not be moving forward with season two of 'Buckwild' in West Virginia. 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."
MTV also said that Sunday they would run a special "Buckwild: WV to the NYC," shot before the production on the second season began.
A tribute dedicated to Gandee, supported by Gandee's parents, would be run on the network Monday, featuring the entire first season of "Buckwild."
Shain Gandee, 21; his uncle, David Gandee, 48; and Donald Robert Myers, 27, were found dead in Gandee's Ford Bronco on April 1 after telling friends they were going four-wheeling. The deaths were ruled accidental and attributed to carbon monoxide poisoning.
Kanawha County authorities believe Gandee's Bronco got stuck in the mud after slipping off of the trail, apparently burying the tailpipe of the vehicle in the mud and filling the cabin with deadly fumes.
The Gandees were buried on Sunday after a joint memorial service at Charleston's Municipal Auditorium.
J.P. Williams, producer of "Buckwild," did not return a phone call from the Gazette. But he apparently reacted angrily to reports that the show would be canceled.
Williams told The Hollywood Reporter on Tuesday that MTV should stick with "Buckwild."
"This is the network that has shows about teen pregnancy. 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?" Williams told the Reporter. He also said he would continue to shoot the TV series and possibly look to make a "Buckwild" movie.
Last month, "Buckwild" cast member Salwa Amin was sent back to jail for violating the terms of her bond following a February arrest on drug charges. Amin, 24, faces two counts of drug possession with intent to deliver and remained behind bars without bond on Wednesday.
Shooting was underway on season two of "Buckwild" at the time of Gandee's death, but MTV said film crews were not with him over Easter weekend and hadn't filmed him since earlier that week.
MTV said the half-hour series in the old "Jersey Shore'' time slot was pulling in an average of 3 million viewers per episode since its premiere and was the No. 1 original cable series on Thursday nights among 12- to 34-year-olds.
Shain Gandee, nicknamed "Gandee Candy'' by fans, was a breakout star of the show that followed the antics of young friends enjoying their wild country lifestyle. Season one was filmed last year, mostly around Sissonville and Charleston.
Some fans reacted angrily to the decision to cancel the show on social media, launching a campaign to keep the show alive using the hash tag #KeepBuckwildForShain on Twitter. Cast member Cara Parrish was also among those objecting.
"I think MTV should show reality. Losing Shain broke all our hearts,'' Parrish tweeted.
Although the idea of filming without Gandee "hurts me clear through my soul,'' she wrote, "the thought of turning our backs on his dreams is worse.''
But many others, including some at Gandee's funeral, said the show just wouldn't have been the same without him.
The network issued a statement from Loretta and Dale Gandee, thanking fans for their thoughts and prayers.
"We have truly felt all the love and know that Shain is resting peacefully,'' they said. "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.''