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From 'Beavis and Butt-Head' to 'Yellowstone,' Paramount bets on scripted shows

Ryan Faughnder, Los Angeles Times on

Published in Entertainment News

Q: It's funny to say this, but "Beavis and Butt-Head" is an important series in the history of MTV, and clearly this news series is part of this 1990s revival trend that's happening now. How are you bringing something like that back for modern audiences?

A: With "Beavis and Butt-Head," it's really a story about the genre itself. When you think about what launched adult animation into what it is today, it was really "Beavis and Butt-Head," "The Simpsons," "Family Guy" and "South Park." We've always been wanting to do more with [creator] Mike Judge. The movie that we're kicking it off with was originally in development at Paramount Pictures. We partnered with Paramount to bring it over to the TV side. It's a great opportunity for us. This entire new generation is being raised by people who grew up on "Beavis and Butt-Head," so there's an awesome intergenerational play that'll be happening.

Q: Among the Paramount Network shows, there's a lot of history, with "Black Wall Street," "Waco" and "George and Tammy." Is there a theme you're going for?

A: Not necessarily through the lens of history, but through the lens of subcultures, which is something we learned on the unscripted side. What set "The Jersey Shore" apart from any other reality show? It was a subculture that people had a sense of but didn't fully know.

This coming year will be the 20th anniversary of Waco. It's really about a conspiracy, and here we are in the present day dealing with Jan. 6. That franchise, "American Tragedy," will be an anthology that tackles a complicated moment in our history. Next season, you could easily see the FBI that's in "The Waco Trials" moving over to take over the Oklahoma City bombing. With "George and Tammy," we think this could be the first of many projects like this based on power players, but each series you may see it through a different famous couple's eyes.

[Chastain, executive producer, said in a statement, "'George & Tammy' has been a passion project of mine for a very long time so we were thrilled when MTV Entertainment Studios, Charter, and 101 Studios came to the table to help bring that vision to life."]

Q: And after "The Eyes of Tammy Faye," Jessica Chastain has really cornered the market on playing famous Tammys of history. How did the casting of Harrison Ford for "1932" happen?

 

A: Something like Harrison Ford doesn't happen without a Taylor Sheridan. Taylor has a level of storytelling and creativity that attracts the best of the best. Harrison was one of the names on a wish list, and Taylor connected with him and talked about what he wanted to build and how unique it would be to think about this moment in time after the Great Depression. With Harrison and Helen Mirren, these are two actors that are still at the top of their game.

Q: With everything that's going on in streaming and with linear television declining, there's a lot of concern that upfronts have lost some of their luster. What kind of market are you expecting?

A: One thing that doesn't change is a hit, is a hit, is a hit and advertisers and talent want to be in hits.

Q: With "Teen Wolf," I imagine the sweet spot is something like "Cobra Kai," where there's nostalgia for the gen Xers and millennials but it also appeals to the youngsters. Do teens today know what "Teen Wolf" is?

A: Current "Teen Wolf" fans will bring them in. The real reason why teen "Teen Wolf" is appealing to teens is because it's about transformation. It really resonates with where they are in their lives. It's about hidden identities and becoming who they really are going to be as humans. The stories will be universally appealing. The cast is all new fresh faces, but we're excited. And we know there's gonna be a lot of breakout stars out there.

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