Zach Stone isn’t going to be famous enough for a second season, but Bo Burnham, the star of the MTV sitcom, already is well on his way to bigger fame.
Burnham is from a generation growing up with the idea that everyone can be famous and everyone will be if they just share enough of their personal lives with enough people. His series, Zach Stone is Gonna Be Famous, played with his demographic’s expectations about fame. And he’s also just as comfortable communicating with his fans, who have found him via YouTube, Comedy Central or the road, about his career and his process. And so Burnham wrote this letter today to his fans, about the MTV cancellation.
As some of you may already know, yesterday MTV decided to not renew “Zach Stone is Gonna Be Famous” for a second season. AKA, they canceled it. The three remaining episodes will air this week—the tenth episode will air TONIGHT at 11pm and the final two will air this SATURDAY, back-to-back, also at 11 pm. The cancellation adds a nice bit of poetry to the arc of the final episodes, as Zach finds himself running out of money and possibly losing his beloved cameras (and show) forever.
Though my initial reaction yesterday was disappointment, that feeling was fleeting and soon gave way to thankfulness—thankfulness for being able to have made 12 episodes of television in the first place and a greater thankfulness for having had the opportunity to share them with you. Your response has been amazing and so appreciated.
I don’t have much interest in going into why I think the show didn’t get as many viewers as we would’ve hoped (promotion, re-runs, wouldacouldashoulda). I do, however, want to emphasize what, in my opinion, is NOT a reason for the show’s lack of viewership. I don’t think MTV’s audience is dumb. I don’t think young people in general are dumb or stupid or shallow. I love my generation. I really do. I believe that the “internet generation” (or “cyber generation” if you want to sound even lamer) is very misunderstood and underestimated. What many older people dismiss as my generation’s short attention spans, I see as young people hunger for density, demanding that every second of material that you give them is worthy of their time. This challenge, though daunting, is a good thing. It pushes art forward.
I believe that young people deserve smart and thoughtful material. I hope that we made a show that challenges and respects the sensibilities of young people—and by that virtue, can also be enjoyed by people much older than the typical MTV-er (which I think is me, actually—and also my mom loved the show, SCORE).
So, is Zach Stone over forever? At MTV, I think so. But who knows? When making the show, I had kind of thought/sensed that it may be a one season show (like Lisa Kudrow’s “The Comeback”), so we made sure that this season could stand alone as its own contained thing. But if you guys continue to watch the show and show it to friends, it very well may have a second life somewhere else (and anyway I think the show is re-watchable, eh?).
But anyways, looking forward, I will be releasing a book of poetry and a new stand-up special, in that order, later this year! Woo! I’m very excited to show you all this stuff. In the last three years, I’ve been working on these three projects (Zach, poetry book, special), and I’m very excited to share the latter two with you in the coming months.
If you liked the show, I am sorry that you won’t be getting more of it soon. But please don’t feel sorry for me. I am the luckiest guy that I know. And my experience with “Zach Stone” has only affirmed that belief.
Thank you all so very much.