POSTED: Thursday, April 11, 2013 - 1:00am
UPDATED: Thursday, April 11, 2013 - 1:04am
CNN — Fans of MTV's West Virginia-based reality show "Buckwild" are rallying to save it in light of MTV's announcement that it's ceasing production on the reality series after cast member Shain Gandee's death.
"After careful consideration, MTV will not be moving forward with season two of 'Buckwild' in West Virginia. We love the cast and the show and this was not an easy decision, but given Shain's tragic passing and essential presence on the show, we felt it was not appropriate to continue without him," the network said in a statement Wednesday. "Instead, we are working on a meaningful way to pay tribute to his memory on our air and privately."
TMZ cited sources connected to the program on Tuesday who hinted that the announcement was coming. MTV reportedly filmed four episodes of the second season, which it picked up earlier this year, but TMZ reports those installments won't make it to air.
The network said that it plans to air a special, "Buckwild: WV to the NYC," on Sunday. MTV notes the special has the support of Gandee's parents, Dale and Loretta, and was filmed before production began on the show's second season. Beforehand, MTV will air the first season of "Buckwild" in tribute to Gandee.
The 21-year-old was a favorite among viewers, who took to his Southern charm and loyalty to his roots. Gandee was found dead along with two others in a vehicle on April 1. The sheriff's office in Kanawha County, West Virginia, later confirmed that the trio died of carbon monoxide poisoning, and their deaths were labeled accidental.
On Wednesday, as viewers caught wind of the reported cancellation, some took to Twitter to urge MTV to keep the show.
"Buckwild can NOT be cancelled. Shain would want them to carry on," an apparent Gandee fan tweeted to MTV's account on the network, along with the hashtag, #MTVDontStopBuckwild." Added another, "Why would they cancel #buckwild do it for Shain god."
"Wait.. @mtv is canceling #buckwild?" said another observer. "So sad when real reality hits the show gets cancelled."
Cast member Ashley Whitt joined in, tweeting with the hashtag, #KeepBuckwildForShain. "Yea people #buckwild is actually canceled & Shain would be ****** p****d. Tweet @MTV & tell them to keep it going."
"Buckwild's" Cara Parrish agreed, adding, "I think @MTV should show reality. Losing Shain broke all our hearts. I want to #KeepBuckwildForShain keep teaching how to #LiveLikeGandee."