Wayne, the hit YouTube Premium show, has been canceled by the streaming network, but the critically-acclaimed show may yet find a new home if its creator and showrunners have their way. In an attempt to compete with the likes of Netflix and Hulu, YouTube began a premium service that offered original programming to subscribers. Now, the Google-owned website is transitioning away from a subscriber model towards more ad-supported content, and much of their scripted lineup is being canceled.
One of the network's most beloved shows is Wayne, an action-packed black comedy about a teenage vigilante and his quest for justice, from the mean streets of Brockton, Massachusetts to the sun-soaked town of Ocala, Florida. Starring Mark McKenna (Sing Street) as the title character and Ciara Bravo (Red Band Society) as Del, who runs off with Wayne, much to the chagrin of her father and twin brothers, Wayne won over audiences with its infectious mix of deep characters, righteous sensibilities, layered comedy, and sincere emotion. Throw in a standout, Emmy-worthy turn from actor Dean Winters (Brooklyn Nine-Nine) as a scorned, hateful – and frequently hilarious – pursuer of the teenage runaways, and Wayne is easily 0ne of 2019's most beloved shows.
Sadly, YouTube chose to go in a different direction, and Wayne is just one casualty of their transition away from prestige television programming. As Deadline reports, Wayne has been canceled, alongside most of Netflix's scripted slate. Co-showrunner Rhett Reese tweeted about the situation, saying the show, "wasn't canceled, per se. Rather, its network was canceled." Meanwhile, both Reese and creator Shawn Simmons have declared their intentions to save the show by shopping it to another network.
Despite “gangbusters” ratings, being a top 8 halfhour streaming show for 5 months and 100% on Rotten Tomatoes, WAYNE, the non-human joy of my life, is looking for a new home. TV’s wild. I’m heartbroken grateful to the fans and to @Netflix @PrimeVideo @hulu @EPIXHD @IFC @HBOMax— Shawn Jovi (@Simms2673) August 17, 2019
The pilot for Wayne has a staggering 27 million views on YouTube, something any network television show would kill for in today's ratings-starved landscape. As his tweet indicates, Simmons is hopeful that one streaming service or another might pick up the hit show. In a show of solidarity with Simmons, co-showrunner Rhett Reese also stated his intentions to keep the show alive, tweeting:
"Our task now is to find a new home. Shows can find new life elsewhere, but that outcome is by far the exception to the rule. A heroic executive must step up. If Wayne were not to find new life, I would place it on a pedestal next to Freaks and Geeks and Firefly as the best television shows ever to last only one season. I will crawl over f****** broken glass to make sure that doesn't happen."
Compared to other canceled shows, Wayne is in a unique position. Were it not for YouTube's change in strategy, a second season would surely already be in production. The show is popular and absolutely beloved by critics, to the tune of 100% on Rotten Tomatoes. Programs like Lucifer, Designated Survivor, and The Expanse have all been picked up by a streaming network after being unceremoniously canceled by their original home; with a little luck, and an outpouring of support from dedicated fans, Wayne might just be the next show to be added to that list.