In light of the recent school shooting in Parkland, Florida, and in the shadow of the current national gun violence debate, the Paramount Network has announced that it is delaying the premiere of Heathers, the network’s series adaptation of the 1988 cult classic film originally starring Winona Ryder (Stranger Things), Christian Slater (Mr. Robot), and Shannen Doherty (Beverly Hills 90210). In their statement, the Paramount Network reaffirmed their commitment to the series but also express grave concern that the timing – only two weeks after the shooting that left 17 dead – wouldn’t be respectful to the victims and their loved ones.
Originally set to premiere on Wednesday, March 7, a new date has yet to be finalized. You can read the Paramount Network’s statement about the move here:
“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,” the Viacom-owned network said in a statement. “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.”
On February 14, 2018, , a former student of Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland murdered 17 people; finally apprehended an hour after shots were first reported. Since that shooting, students who survived the attack at Stoneman Douglas have taken to the media as well as to local/state/federal offices to demand new gun control legislation, with a “March for Our Lives” rally planned in Washington D.C. on March 24, 2018.
In the original 1988 film, Slater and Ryder work to take out as many of the high school’s “upper social echelon clique” as possible; eventually ending with Slater’s character attempting to reset the school’s social status quo with a well-timed set of explosives during a school pep rally.
This modern take on Heathers focuses on three outcasts named “Heather” who suddenly find themselves running the social circles at their high school: black lesbian Heather McNamara (Jasmine Mathews); overweight Heather Chandler (Melanie Field); and Heather Duke (Brendan Scannell), a young man who identifies as gender queer. Grace Victoria Cox and James Scully play new student Veronica and high school rebel J.D. respectively (same roles played by Ryder and Slater in the original film): two students trying to free the school from The Heathers’ grip..but with distinctlydifferent approaches on how to get it done.
Heathers also features Paige Weldon, Cayden Boyd, Adwin Brown Adwin Brown, Christina Burdette and Cameron Gellman. Actress Selma Blair (Cruel Intentions) has joined the cast as Heather Duke’s money-hungry stepmom, and Doherty will be stepping back into the role of a “Heather” but further details haven’t been released.
For Keith Cox, President of Development and Production for TV Land, it was about the series staying faithful to the vibe of the original film while still being able to carve-out its own identity:
“Our take on Heathers is a cinematic, surprising and twisted comedy that gives a wonderful nod to the film while also creating something entirely its own. We’re really passionate about this show and the satirical story-telling its provocative characters allow.”
Jason Micallef (Butter) serves as executive producer and showrunner for Heathers; with Leslye Headland (Sleeping with Other People) directing from Micallef’s pilot script and serving as executive producer on the pilot. Tom Rosenberg and Gary Lucchesi will also serve as executive producers, representing Lakeshore Entertainment.