(“Buckwild” averaged 3 million viewers at the time MTV ordered a second season in February.)
Gandee, his uncle and a friend died of carbon monoxide poisoning April 1 when Gandee’s Ford Bronco sank knee-deep in mud, which covered the exhaust pipe. The three men had gone “mudding” near Gandee’s Sissonville, W.Va., home.
“After careful consideration, MTV will not be moving forward with season two of ‘Buckwild’ in West Virginia,” the network said Wednesday in a statement about its successful “Jersey Shore” successor.
“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,” MTV continued. “Instead, we are working on a meaningful way to pay tribute to his memory on our air and privately.”
MTV’s decision was not embraced by the show’s producer — who belongs to some radical philosophical sect that does not believe in losing one’s employment just because a show’s star has died.
“There’s something that smells of [manure] here on every level,” producer J.P. Williams fumed to the Hollywood Reporter, demonstrating that depth of vocabulary for which the entertainment industry is famous.
“This is the network that has shows about teen pregnancy,” Williams continued. “They’ll stick by a show that allows you to abandon a child, but a kid dies by accident . . . and they cancel the show?”
Shooting had begun on the second season when Gandee died. And the gang had renegotiated their contracts for the second season, upping their salaries from a pathetic $1,000 per episode to a merely embarrassing $4,000 per episode — in case you were wondering why the television industry so loves docu soaps.
The upcoming special, “Buckwild: WV to the NYC,” was shot before production started on that second season, explained MTV — which added that the “tribute” special and marathon are being run “with the support of his parents, Dale and Loretta Gandee.”
In its announcement, MTV included a statement from Gandee’s mother about the controversial show: “We are honored that we were able to let the world see what a wonderful son we had. 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.”
The reality series, about a bunch of “totally wild and carefree” friends (exec producer John Stevens’s description) hit pay dirt not long before its premiere, when Democratic Sen. Joe Manchin III (W.Va.) fired off a letter of protest about the series to MTV President Stephen Friedman. “As a U.S. Senator, I am repulsed at this business venture, where some Americans are making money off of the poor decisions of our youth,” Manchin wrote.