Should MTV Have Cancelled Buckwild After the Death of its Star?

After the death of star Shain Gandee, MTV decided to cancel the popular show. But Buckwild's producer doesn't agree with the decision

Credit: MTV Canada

The cast of controversial (and now-cancelled) MTV reality hit Buckwild

MTV pulled the plug on the controversial reality TV show Buckwild after the death of star Shain Gandee, and the show’s producer is not happy

I’ve never actually watched an episode of Buckwild, the controversial MTV reality show focusing on the dimwitted adventures of a group of rowdy young rednecks from West Virginia.

Despite my avoidance, the show’s first season earlier this year managed to become a huge hit as it chronicled the kids’ shenanigans as they got drunk, got into fights and did all manner of dumb, dangerous stuff, including shooting guns, rolling down the side of a mountain inside huge tractor tires and filling the back of a dump truck with water so they could use it as a backwoods swimming pool. 

The series — which has been described as the Jersey Shore of Appalachia — was criticized by West Virginia politicians and slammed by pundits for its glorification of stupidity, but it took the death of one of the show’s stars to bring about cancellation. 

The Death of Buckwild’s Shain Gandee

In fact, MTV opted to cancel the show when 21-year-old Shain Gandee died of carbon monoxide poisoning while driving his truck in deep mud — an activity called “mudding” — after the tailpipe became clogged with mud. 

MTV subsequently announced it was pulling the plug on filming the show’s second season, releasing a statement claiming it “was not appropriate” to continue the series without Gandee, who had been Buckwild’s breakout star. 

Buckwild Producer Says Show Should Continue

This decision, however, did not go down smoothly with the show’s producer, J.P. Williams, who is also manager of several members of the Buckwild cast. Understandably miffed that his meal ticket has been axed, Williams blasted MTV in an interview with The Hollywood Reporter: “This is the network that has shows about teen pregnancy,” he said. “They’ll stick by a show that allows you to abandon a child, but a kid dies doing what he does for a living and they cancel the show? There’s something that smells of **** here on every level.” 

With or without MTV, Williams insisted he’s going to continue filming the show, and claims to be investigating the logistics of producing a Buckwild movie — even if he needs to finance it himself. “My job is to protect these kids,” he said. “This will get ugly.”

Originally published in TVW. For daily programming updates and on-screen Entertainment news, subscribe to the free TVW e-newsletters, or purchase a subscription to the weekly magazine.