‘Heathers’ TV Reboot Premiere Delayed Out of Respect to Parkland Victims
The Paramount Network (formerly known as Spike TV) has officially announced its decision to delay the premiere of its Heathers reboot — based on the 1988 cult classic — in the wake of the recent horrific school shooting in Parkland, Florida. In a formal statement, the network explained that the premiere will be pushed back from March 7 to later this fall “out of respect for the victims, their families and loved ones.”
The Paramount Network only recently entered the scripted series game with Waco, its first attempt at a prestige limited series (based on the infamous, ill-fated standoff between the FBI and David Koresh’s Branch Davidians). Heathers was meant to be the network’s next series premiere — a reboot of the 1988 dark comedy starring Winona Ryder as a popular teen who teams up with her outcast boyfriend (Christian Slater) to disrupt her former clique of mean girls. In the new version, it’s the rebellious outliers who are popular — though still incredibly mean.
The network released the following statement this afternoon regarding their decision to delay the series premiere to an unspecified date later this year:
Paramount Network’s original series Heathers is a satirical comedy that takes creative risks in dealing with many of society’s most challenging subjects ranging from personal identity to race and socio-economic status to gun violence. While we stand firmly behind the show, in light of the recent tragic events in Florida and out of respect for the victims, their families and loved ones, we feel the right thing to do is delay the premiere until later this year.
The shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, has elicited a bigger response and more media attention than any other recent mass shooting due in large part to the activism of many of its surviving students — several of whom, along with parents and administrators, participated in a CNN town hall last week, where they challenged Senators Marco Rubio and Bill Nelson, along with Representative Ted Deutch on the subject of gun legislation.
In addition, several prominent corporations have severed their ties with the National Rifle Association, including Delta, Avis, and MetLife, while Dick’s Sporting Goods has vowed to stop selling assault-style rifles.
Although Heathers had not yet premiered, a handful of episodes were sent out to journalists for review. In response to Paramount Network’s decision, New York Times critic James Poniewozik tweeted, “Critics who saw screeners of the fifth episode will not be particularly surprised.” He went on to criticize the series for its “emptily button-pushing treatment of violence.”
Other early reviews of the series were similarly unkind, suggesting that perhaps the episode in question may not be the only problem with Heathers — though it is the most significant. Given that mass shootings have sadly become a regular occurrence in America, and lawmakers largely refuse to enact meaningful legislation to prevent them, it’s not a problem that will be going away anytime soon.