Derek Waters and Jeremy Konner’s Drunk History has been cancelled at Comedy Central after six seasons. It’s strange that the comedy-meets-history series was axed after it had already been renewed for season seven, but it looks to be a casualty of ViacomCBS’s new head Chris McCarthy’s drive for a top-to-bottom makeover of the channel — largely involving reboots of old MTV shows.
Deadline first reported that Comedy Central cancelled Drunk History. The award-winning series featured intoxicated comedians narrating reenactments of notable moments in history, including the story of Nichelle Nichols’ influence on NASA and how Mary Shelley came up with Frankenstein. (The show even told the story of my husband’s ancestor, Deborah Sampson!)
“Season seven of Drunk History was in pre-production and taping some of the comedian narrations when the coronavirus pandemic put a halt to all film and TV production activities in mid-March,” Deadline wrote. “We hear the high costs of producing Drunk History, which features period reenactments, also played a role in the decision not to proceed with another season.”
— Drunk History (@drunkhistory) March 18, 2020
Waters is now reportedly working on new projects with the network. It’s unclear whether the series could be picked up by a streaming platform like Netflix or Amazon Prime. Drunk History debuted during the tenure of former ViacomCBS executive Kent Alterman, who also oversaw popular Comedy Central shows like Key and Peele, Inside Amy Schumer, and Broad City. All of those shows have since ended, and it looks like there are no plans to bring back similar sketch-style content.
Instead (as you might have noticed), the network has been announcing multiple adult animated shows, most of which are reboots of already existing MTV (which is part of ViacomCBS) properties. These include Beavis and Butthead; Grace Edwards’ Daria spinoff, Jodie; and The Ren & Stimpy Show. There’s also a Clone High reboot in the works at MTV itself. More animated projects are still in the works, but ViacomCBS president McCarthy made it clear in a July interview with Vulture that the networks are digging deep into their own wells.
“We’re going to double down on adult animation in a really, really big way,” McCarthy told Vulture. “There’s no doubt that the landscape of content is a little crowded and there’s a lot of adult animation out there. But we have such a treasure chest of IP…that we can lean on and that we can use to break through that clutter.”
McCarthy got his start on MTV, revitalizing the network with a Jersey Shore reboot and other reality shows. He replaced Alterman as Comedy Central president last November, and since then has been spearheading a push for adult animation there. There’s also going to be a big push for Comedy Central movies, with McCarthy hoping to produce 10 to 20 films per year in an attempt to recreate the success of landmark TV events and Hallmark’s annual holiday slate of movies. According to Vulture, McCarthy is trying to target Gen-Z and thinks they’ll respond well to all the new content.
Deadline reminds us, “The sixth — and now final — season [of Drunk History], which wrapped its run on Aug. 6, 2019, is up for three Emmy nominations, Outstanding Variety Sketch series, as well as Outstanding Costumes and Production Design for a Reality/Variety/Competition series.”
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