The Shannara Chronicle, based on the best-selling fantasy books by Terry Brooks, debuted on MTV in 2016 and was the network’s highest rated and most watched scripted series of the year, earning a second-season renewal. However, I hear the series’ core audience was more mature with a median age in the late 30s and a male skew. Meanwhile, under new president Chris McCarthy MTV is looking to reset itself back to Youth Culture, appealing to Millennials and Gen Zs with a female bent.
The makeup of The Shannara Chronicle’s audience made the series a suitable candidate for Spike TV, which is being prepared for its transformation into the general entertainment Paramount Network.
Additionally, Paramount TV has been designated as Viacom’s leading scripted brand while MTV has been scaling back on scripted programming. which new Viacom CEO Bob Bakish said “didn’t work,” with the network returning its focus to reality, music and live shows. MTV recently canceled all of its scripted comedy series, and The Shannara Chronicles‘ move leaves horror drama Scream, which has been revamped for a six-episode third season, as the only scripted series on MTV.
Going forward, MTV is expected to be active in scripted but with less volume and stronger filter, focusing on
music-inspired and quintessential coming-of-age stories. It is putting a big emphasis on live programming targeting young viewers, starting with the recent MTV Movie & TV Awards.
“After much consideration, it was decided that the second season of The Shannara Chronicles will air on Spike,” MTV said in a statement. “We’re honored to have worked with our extraordinary production partner, Sonar Entertainment, along with fantasy visionaries and Executive Producers, Al Gough, Miles Millar, Jon Favreau, Jonathan Liebesman and Dan Farah along with Executive Producer and best-selling author of the book series, Terry Brooks. We’re pleased that fans of the beloved franchise will be able to follow the characters and epic story they love on its new network.”
At Spike TV, The Shannara Chronicle will join another genre drama based on a literary property, The Mist, an adaptation of Stephen King’s novella, which debuts in June. Spike will use The Mist to introduce The Shannara Chronicles to its viewers, with an encore run of its first season airing Thursdays at 11 PM behind original episodes of The Mist, beginning June 29.
Recent series migrations between Viacom networks include scripted comedies American Woman and Heathers going from TV Land to Paramount Network, unscripted show RuPaul’s Drag Race relocating from Logo to VH1 and The Dude Perfect Show moving from CMT to Nickelodeon.
Filmed on location in New Zealand, The Shannara Chronicles stars Austin Butler (Wil), Ivana Baquero (Eretria), Manu Bennett (Allanon), Aaron Jakubenko (Ander) and Marcus Vanco (Bandon) along with new cast members Vanessa Morgan (Lyria), Malese Jow (Mareth), Gentry White (Garet), Caroline Chikezie (Queen Tamlin), and Desmond Chiam (General Riga).
Season two takes place one year after the events of last season. The Four Lands are in chaos. The re-emergence of magic has the populace terrified, and an organization called The Crimson is hunting down magic users, using fear and intimidation to sow discord among the races.
The Shannara Chronicles was created by Al Gough and Miles Millar based on the books by Brooks. The the three executive produce with Jon Favreau, Jonathan Liebesman, and Dan Farah. The series is produced and distributed worldwide by Sonar Entertainment in association with Millar/Gough Ink and Farah Films. Its SVOD rights have been acquired by Netflix.