“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.”
The series was originally supposed to launch on March 7. A new premiere date has not yet been determined. The show was originally ordered at fellow Viacom network TV Land before moving over to Paramount Network (formerly Spike TV) last year.
On Feb. 14, a former student of Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland gunned down 17 people. The shooter, 19-year old Nikolas Cruz, was apprehended about an hour after shots were reported. Student survivors from Stoneman Douglas have pushed for new gun control legislation since the shooting, with a “March for Our Lives” rally planned in Washington D.C. on March 24.
The show, based on the 1988 movie of the same name, is described a pitch-black comedy anthology set in the present day, featuring a group of all-new Heathers, who have the same character names from the original film, but this time, the outcasts are the ones who have become high school royalty. Shannon Doherty’s original character Heather Duke will be played by male actor Brendan Scannell in the revitalized role of a character who identifies as gender-queer; Heather McNamara (originally played by Lisanne Falk in the film) is now a black lesbian played by Jasmine Mathews; and Heather Chandler (originally Kim Walker in the movie) will be played by Melanie Field. James Scully and Grace Victoria Cox will play J.D. and Veronica, the roles originally played by Christian Slater and Winona Ryder.
The film saw Slater and Ryder’s characters seeking lethal vengeance against the popular clique in their high school, culminating in Slater’s character trying to kill many of their fellow students with explosives during a pep rally.