MTV is rebooting a TV show that hasn’t even ended yet

Not another teen wolf.
Not another teen wolf.
Image: MTV
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It has become common—standard, even—for TV networks to reboot bygone shows for a new audience with updated casts and storylines. Usually, though, they don’t announce plans to do so before the original show has even gone off the air.

That’s exactly what MTV did today, when it revealed that Teen Wolf, a series about teen werewolves, will be rebooted in the near future with a new cast, according to the Hollywood Reporter. Part two of the show’s sixth and final season doesn’t even begin airing until July 30.

MTV president Chris McCarthy told the Hollywood Reporter that in addition to a wholly rebooted Teen Wolf TV series, the show’s current narrative will also continue in podcast form. ”We want to give it enough time to let the series finale marinate a year or so, and then when we find the right story and the right cast, look to resurrect it,” he said.

The move is not all that different from what HBO is doing with its most valuable property, Game of Thrones. The premium cable giant disclosed in May, two months before its penultimate season aired, that it was developing five different prequels to the hit fantasy drama. Those, however, were all framed as spinoff stories, which will use the Game of Thrones setting to tell other tales from George R.R. Martin’s book universe. (It’s also very unlikely all five make it to air.)

MTV, on the other hand, is describing its Teen Wolf moves in language normally only used when talking about older cult shows that have been off the air for many years—not shows that are still alive and popular.

“How do we keep this franchise alive in podcasts, in the spirit of Serial, and then how do we actually reboot an entire new class?” McCarthy told the Hollywood Reporter. “Because the heart of MTV is around these timeless issues of young people and coming of age, but the timely piece will be the whole new cast, new set of issues and stories to explore through them.”

Based on the 1985 film of the same name starring Michael J. Fox, MTV’s Teen Wolf launched in 2011 as the network’s first scripted drama. Since then, though the show’s ratings have declined, it’s remained MTV’s most reliable player in the network’s attempt to shift toward scripted programming,

Since McCarthy was named MTV president last year, the cable channel has been eyeing more video content aimed at younger audiences. In this era of “peak TV,” in which there are 500 scripted shows available to consumers across a wide variety of channels and platforms, it’s increasingly difficult for a network’s programming to stick out from the crowd. MTV’s decision to double (and triple) down on a proven commodity is far from a creatively bold maneuver; in fact it’s become the norm across the TV landscape.

But announcing a full reboot of the show before it even ends? That seems to be a first.