Paramount Network and parent company Viacom have opted not to air the shelved “Heathers” adaptation, instead planning to shop the series elsewhere.
In an interview with The Hollywood Reporter, Paramount development exec Keith Cox said some of the show’s content — guns in the classroom, the explosion of the school at the end the season — was deemed unfit to air on the younger-skewing network in the wake of the Parkland shooting.
“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,” said Cox.
The company will instead shop the show around to other networks and streaming platforms, hoping to sell the completed first season, as well as the development already underway on a potential Season 2. (The series was designed as an anthology with a second installment set to take place in a different location with different characters.)
“We want to protect our producers,” Cox said, admitting that he probably wouldn’t have bought the show if it were being pitched to him in the current, post-Parkland cultural environment. “This is a difficult decision … but I don’t think [the producers are] going to be shocked because they were aware after Parkland that the company got behind the movement.”
A loose adaptation of the 1988 cult film starring Winona Ryder and Christian Slater, the “Heathers” series stars Grace Victoria Cox as Veronica Sawyer, a high school who deals with a very different but equally vicious group of Heathers — Melanie Field as the body-positive mean girl Heather Chandler, Brendan Scannell as the genderqueer Heather Duke and Jasmine Mathews as the biracial lesbian Heather McNamara.
It was initially slated to premiere in March, but was shelved “out of respect for the victims” of Parkland. It was later rescheduled to premiere in July.