MTV has announced that this will be the last season of the Ashton Kutcher and Jason Goldberg-produced reality show Punk’d.
The final episodes of the hidden camera prank series will be aired in a “Sneak Peek Marathon” on Saturday, April 7th. The “Sneak Peek” will actually include the all eight episodes, run back-to-back. The episodes will then be replayed on a regular schedule beginning April 10th. MTV is hoping that the marathon will generate buzz and word of mouth that will inspire viewers to tune in to the regular Punk’d airings and the other shows on the MTV Tuesday night schedule.
In the tradition of Allen Funt’s old Candid Camera series, Punk’d has been duping celebrities since 2003. Punk’d victims this season will include Academy Award winner Hilary Swank, basketball legend Magic Johnson, and singers Nelly Furtado and Jewel. In addition, Kutcher will host a special Punk’d awards show on June 5th to cap the series. Despite some viewer erosion, the show still boasts solid ratings. Hard to believe the show is ending after eight short seasons. Maybe it’s just a little too hard to believe?
Back in December 2003, Kutcher announced that the show would end after its second season. Many speculated that this was merely a ploy so that celebrity targets would lower their guard. They were correct because Punk’d returned in April 2004.
Will the series really fold this year? President of MTV Entertainment President Brian Graden says it’s for real this time but there could be more collaborations with Kutcher in the future.