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By Hollie McKay, ,
Published April 13, 2016
One of the stars of MTV’s controversial reality series “Buckwild” was found dead along with his uncle and another unidentified person on Monday, presumably from carbon monoxide poisoning, after a late-night four-wheeling expedition gone wrong.
Gandee’s sudden death comes just days after his "Buckwild" co-star, Salwa Amin, was arrested for stockpiling oxycodone and heroin with the intent to distribute, and another show regular was arrested for a suspected DUI.
In the wake of Monday's tragedy, and the cast's run-ins with the law, Charleston mayor Danny Jones told TMZ he hopes “Buckwild” will be booted from the small screen.
“Of the few cast members on the show, already two have had legal issues, and now one has died. The show only enhances the negative stereotype the Kanawha Valley already has,” he said. “I hope the show’s life is short.”
MTV told FOX411 that filming of the show's second season, which started last week, has been suspended, but they would not go so far to say the show has been canceled.
Many show fans, now turned critics, are hoping they take the next step.
“Hopefully they will cancel the show now or the rest of the cast will die, go drink and drive some more,” tweeted one, while another weighed in that it’s time for MTV to “cancel Buckwild and stop influencing kids to act like idiots.”
Others were more skeptical.
“MTV probably still won't cancel Buckwild after this," another chimed in. "They'll dedicate half an episode to the funeral and follow it with a drunken mud orgy.”
Outrage surrounding “Buckwild” is nothing new. In December 2012, West Va. Sen. Joe Manchin III wrote a scathing letter to MTV network president Stephen Friedman, calling the then-forthcoming series “a travesty.”
"I am repulsed at this business venture," Manchin wrote. "You preyed on young people, coaxed them into displaying shameful behavior and now you are profiting from it."
Manchin also went on the "Today," emphasizing that viewers needed to understand that “this is not reality; this is not real West Virginia.”
"They come in here and coerce these students or these young people, they pay them money, promise them fame and fortune, they had four and five takes until they got it outrageous enough to show it,” he said. “Now, that's not reality."
But during promotional press, Gandee himself dismissed the criticisms.
“They should like it, ‘cuz it’s fun, we’re just kids having fun,” he insisted.
Reality television expert and agent Marc Marcuse told us it may just be a matter of time before it gets canceled at this point.
"It’s done okay in the ratings and has been renewed, but the network is getting more and more pressure to cancel it. In the end it’s mostly up to the advertisers – if they don’t want to be associated with the show and MTV can’t sell advertising, then the show will be pulled," he said.
Hollywood talent agent Alec Shankman said that he anticipates that at the very least, MTV will slow down and/or halt production out of respect for the family and other cast members.
“The show is a slice-of-life show documenting kids doing what they would likely otherwise be doing, so I don’t necessarily think the network is encouraging new or different behavior,” he explained. “But it’s safe to say that this type of outrageous behavior has likely helped with ratings for this show and others like it. Reality TV doesn’t cause people to act recklessly, but it can often put a spotlight on folks who were already perhaps over-the-top to begin with.”
Crisis communications expert and CEO of New York-based firm 5WPR, Ronn Torossian, predicts that Gandee’s tragic death won’t change business-as-usual at MTV.
“Reality television isn’t meant to depict the normalcy of life, it’s meant to have drama, excitement and controversy. As long as people will stop and watch a car crash on the highway, so too will they watch reality TV,” he said. “It is doubtful that the show will be cancelled and long-term, it’s unlikely we will see a real difference in the entertainment industry because of this tragedy.”
MTV declined to comment further, other than to state that the network was “shocked and saddened by the terrible news about Shain Gandee and those involved in the incident,” and that they were “waiting for more information.”