"Buffy" Slayed by School Massacre

In wake of Columbine shootings, WB subs repeat for episode about deadly campus plot

By Joal Ryan Apr 23, 1999 7:15 PMTags
Vampire-slayer Buffy will not overhear a deadly schoolyard plot. At least not next week.

Colorado's Columbine High massacre has prompted more prime-time tinkering, this time involving WB's teen-hit Buffy the Vampire Slayer.

The network will sub a rerun for a brand-new episode about a "would-be killer" and a "schoolyard massacre." The ill-timed installment, titled "Earshot," was due to debut next Tuesday--on the one-week anniversary of the Columbine incident that left 15 people, including the two suspected teen shooters, dead.

"This is something we need to do," a WB spokeswoman said today.

According to a network synopsis, "Earshot" found Buffy (Sarah Michelle Gellar) endowed with the power to read minds--and, in turn, to uncover a "potential mass murder plan at the school."

In place of "Earshot," the network will air an adventure entitled "Bad Girls," a repeat.

Earlier this week, Canada's YTV announced its intentions to pull "Earshot" in favor of a Buffy rerun.

"It's not appropriate at this time," YTV's Laura Heath told Jam! Showbiz. "Our programming people are parents and it's just, as a parent, it would be offensive to air something like that."

The Columbine incident previously prompted CBS to swap out a scheduled airing of Promised Land. The family drama was to broadcast a story Thursday about a school-related drive-by shooting. But the network decided to run another, bullet-free episode instead.

Marilyn Manson's scheduled April 30 show in Denver is another victim of the shooting's aftermath. Local concert promoters pulled the plug on the show this week, saying they didn't want to antagonize locals with the shock rocker.

There was also news Thursday that MGM was about to lead a sweeping video recall of the 1995 Leonardo DiCaprio film, The Basketball Diaries. But the studio says it won't officially acquire the movie's rights until the summer--and while it doesn't have any plans to manufacture further copies, it doesn't have any plans to recall existing ones, either.

The Basketball Diaries, featuring a dream sequence in which a trenchcoat-clad Leo blasts away at classmates, recently was named in a lawsuit filed by the families of school-shootings victim in West Paducah, Kentucky.