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Scream: The TV Series: The Complete History Of An Underrated Horror Gem

After slashing up the global box office and keeping fans guessing over who was terrorizing Sidney Prescott and her friends again, "Scream" made the jump to the small screen in the form of the aptly titled "Scream: The TV Series" (2015-2019). The show shifted the setting of events from Woodsboro to Lakewood, with an all-new cast and story that served as an homage to the franchise. While it was a big piece of news for horror fans, the series struggled to draw in the viewers, as only the debut episode managed to cross the million-viewer mark in the United States, as per TV Series Finale.

The retention of viewers wasn't the biggest obstacle that the show had to contend with, either. There was a constant turnover of showrunners, while there were questions posed about the decision to change Ghostface's iconic mask and not involve the original voice actor for the character. To further confuse matters, the third season rebooted the entire story and cast. It ultimately proved to be the final installment in the series.

The passage of time allows for clarity and reflection, as some fans and critics have realized "Scream: The TV Series" was a horror gem (via Buzzfeed). With that being said, let's take a look at the history of this show.

Bella Thorne turned down the lead role

When the news broke that Bella Thorne had been cast in "Scream: The TV Series," fans expected it to be the role that would help her shed the Disney child star image she had cultivated after her performance as the affable CeCe Jones on "Shake It Up." However, in the pilot episode of the horror show, Thorne's character, Nina Patterson, meets her demise rather soon. Nina does appear again in the series through flashbacks, but it's a much smaller part than most would have expected for Thorne.

Speaking about the series to HollywoodLife.com, Thorne revealed she had been offered the part of Emma Duval at first. "I had the option to do the lead, but I thought I should choose this role because I felt it was more iconic," she said. "I thought it was just a little bit more and also I've never been killed on screen before."

Ultimately, Thorne ended up having a role similar to Drew Barrymore's Casey Becker in "Scream," as she's also the first victim of the killer. Since "Scream: The TV Series," Thorne has gone on to appear in other horror properties, such as "The Babysitter" and "Amityville: The Awakening."

The original plans for Scream: The TV Series Season 3 and 4

Despite having the name of a major horror franchise attached to it, "Scream: The TV Series" seemed to have an aura of constantly being on the chopping block. It didn't help when Season 3 left the previous storyline on a cliffhanger and decided to move in an entirely new direction. While it may have appeared as if there were no real concrete plans for the series, the showrunners for Season 2 — Michael Gans and Richard Register — revealed to Bloody Disgusting they had mapped out two more seasons.

Gans and Register explained how Season 3 would have seen Emma drifting away from her surviving pals. Of course, there would be more characters introduced to throw the audience off the scent of the real killer. In this version of the show, Kieran would still be alive, as this was planned before the Halloween specials. "We pitched this kind of 'Silence of the Lambs' thing," Gans said. "Someone was doing [the killings] at Kieran's bidding, and the only person he would tell what was going on to was Emma."

At the end of Season 3, it would have been revealed this was all a TV show. Essentially, Season 4 would have been meta, like "Wes Craven's New Nightmare," where the actors play fictionalized versions of themselves with a killer on the loose. It also would have been an opportunity for the original film's actors to return.

Amy Forsyth was replaced before filming started

Fans of the drama series "The Path" will be familiar with Amy Forsyth, who portrays Ashley Fields on two seasons of the show about a fictional religious cult. The Canadian actor has also dipped her toes into the horror genre, appearing in films such as "Torment," "A Christmas Horror Story," "Hell Fest," and "We Summon the Darkness." In 2014, Forsyth had been initially cast as Audrey Jensen in "Scream: The TV Series." However, as per Deadline, she was quickly replaced by "Arrow" actor Bex Taylor-Klaus after the table read.

In a case of ironic serendipity, Taylor-Klaus and Forsyth would end up sharing the screen in 2018's "Hell Fest." In this horror film set in an amusement park, Forsyth plays the lead part of Natalie, while Taylor-Klaus is cast as one of her friends, Taylor. However, in the end, it is only Natalie who survives the slasher's rampage.

Wes Craven wasn't a fan of the new Ghostface mask

When "Scream: The TV Series" aired its first footage, there was a seismic gasp from the fandom — not because of the terrifying scenes, but because of the change to Ghostface's iconic mask. Bob Weinstein, an executive producer on the show, told The Hollywood Reporter that the change was necessary as it ties into the story and separates the show from the movies.

Created by Fun World, the original Ghostface mask became synonymous with "Scream," and even Wes Craven believed it was a critical element to the franchise's success. As the director of four "Scream" films and an executive producer on the series, Craven explained to The Hollywood Reporter that he had no part in the decision to change the mask and felt it unnecessary.

"I'm not going to speculate in public, probably shouldn't have even mentioned it, but you know, sometimes you realize that something's not broken, so don't fix it," Craven said. "And that was the course we took on all the 'Scream' films: Don't mess with that, it's just perfect." Ultimately, the original Ghostface mask returned for Season 3 of the show.

Neve Campbell turned down a part on Scream: The TV Series

The "Scream" franchise might be best remembered for the Ghostface mask and its revitalization of the slasher genre, while still acting as a satirical look at horror movies as a whole. However, the main character is indisputably Sidney Prescott (Neve Campbell), who is integral to the entire storyline and kickstarted the events in Woodsboro. She is to the franchise what Laurie Strode and Nancy Thompson are to "Halloween" and "A Nightmare on Elm Street," respectively.

While "Scream: The TV Series" remained its own isolated part of the universe, fans expected Campbell might cameo at the very least. After all, she is the final girl of the series, and one of the most iconic of the horror genre, so it would make sense to include her in some form.

Campbell revealed to HollywoodLife.com that she had been approached for the show but turned it down. "I was invited when it was starting, but it didn't seem to make sense to me," she said. "Well, I wasn't working at the time — I was just being a mom — but also, because I'm a part of the films, for some reason, it didn't make sense to me."

The cast only found out the killer's identity towards the end of production

There are many franchises that keep the actors on a need-to-know basis. The MCU and "Star Wars" are prime examples, as they often only provide partial scripts to their actors in an effort to keep a lockdown on the production and to prevent any potential leaks from reaching the media's eyes and ears. Turns out that "Scream: The TV Series" applied a similar principle, as the actors had no idea who the killer was until they needed to know for filming purposes.

"I didn't know until very close to the end," actor Amadeus Serafini, who plays Kieran Wilcox on the show, told Showbiz Junkies. "It was that way with the rest of the cast as well, and they haven't really changed their ways into the second season. It's very, very much the usual suspects."

Serafini added how he did wonder if he would be the killer in the first season (Kieran is revealed as one of the accomplices in Season 2). The actor explained how most of the cast would rather be revealed as the killer than be the victims, as it would ensure they would continue on the show. It must have been fun to speculate among themselves on set, though.

Roger L. Jackson wasn't approached for the first two seasons

From the harrowing voice to the pitch-perfect delivery, "What's your favorite scary movie?" is an iconic line from "Scream" that even non-horror fans will instantly recognize and associate with the franchise. Most people outside of the fandom might not even be aware of the name of the actor who voiced Ghostface, but rest assured they will notice the difference if someone else takes over — much like they did for the first two seasons of "Scream: The TV Series," where the killer was voiced by Mike Vaughn

The actor behind Ghostface's unmistakable original voice is Roger L. Jackson, whom many might also know as the voice of Mojo Jojo in "The Powerpuff Girls." Speaking to The Hollywood Reporter, Jackson confirmed that he wasn't contacted by the producers to reprise his role — or any other — for "Scream: The TV Series" when it first began. However, the actor did return for Season 3 of the show, as well as 2022's "Scream" and "Scream VI."

The original cast were shocked about the shake-up for Season 3

The first two seasons of "Scream: The TV Series" possess a connected storyline that follows the Lakewood Six. After 24 episodes, the audience is invested in their story and wants to see where it goes, especially after the shocking conclusion to Season 2. With all the questions and plot threads still up in the air, fans hoped that Season 3 would provide all the answers and tie up loose ends. No one expected it to be a reboot and tell an entirely new story with different characters.

Fans weren't the only ones left shocked by this decision. Carlson Young, who plays Brooke Maddox, told Collider about the cast's reaction to the news. "It was like, 'You got renewed for a third season!'" Young said. "Then it was quiet. And we're like, 'What does that mean?' And especially just the way the show ended. There's these cliffhangers and, I don't know, it didn't feel wrapped up."

Young added how when she found it was a reboot, she chose to be grateful for the experience and being a part of the "Scream" franchise rather than be upset about it. However, she did pitch an interesting idea that she felt could have closed the chapter far better: an episode where the original cast is all killed off.

Tyler Posey joined the show without reading a script

"Scream: The TV Series" was retitled "Scream: Resurrection" for its third season and featured an all-new cast, including Keke Palmer, RJ Cyler, and "Teen Wolf" star Tyler Posey. As a recognizable TV actor, adding Posey to the cast was a shrewd move that brought more eyeballs to the screen. For Posey, though, the decision to join the show was a complete no-brainer since he had been a fan of the series from the get-go.

Speaking to Daily Dead, Posey explained how the opportunity came about. "When they rebooted the entire thing for Season 3, I got a call from one of my friends who was the director of photography on 'Teen Wolf,' and he was also hired to come and do 'Scream,'" the actor said. "He called me, and he was like, 'Hey, man. There's this role that we would love to have you play. Would you want to come down and play with us?'"

Posey added how he didn't have a script or even know much about the story or role, but he accepted because he wanted to work with his pal and loved the "Scream" franchise.

Scream: The TV Series went through different showrunners for each season

Showrunners make or break a show. However, it isn't unusual for these creative minds to be replaced after some time — either because they want a new challenge or the show is looking to freshen up its storylines. In the case of "Scream: The TV Series," though, there was a constant state of flux as the showrunners were replaced after every single season of the show.

As per The Hollywood Reporter, Jill Blotevogel and Jaime Paglia departed after the first season; however, Blotevogel stayed on as a consultant for the next season. Reportedly, there had been friction brewing between the showrunners and the production company Dimension Television regarding the overall direction of the show, so they decided to part ways. Subsequently, Blotevogel and Paglia were replaced by Michael Gans and Richard Register for Season 2. Before Season 2 had aired its final episode, however, it was announced that Gans and Register would be replaced for Season 3, per Deadline. A few months later in 2017, MTV announced that Brett Matthews would serve as the sole showrunner for Season 3 of the series.

How American Horror Story influenced the show

Ryan Murphy and Brad Falchuk's "American Horror Story" made quite the splash when it debuted in 2011. The horror series proved how anthology stories have a place on network television and how it was possible to shake things up with different storylines and actors while retaining an engaged and loyal audience. As such, Hollywood did what it does best and tried to replicate the formula for other shows. "Scream: The TV Series" wasn't immune to this either, as then-MTV president Chris McCarthy told The Hollywood Reporter.

The original plan for the "Scream" show was for it to be an anthology series, and this approach was eventually implemented for Season 3 after the reboot of the cast and story. "What FX did in 'American Horror Story' was groundbreaking," McCarthy said. "We would like to do that in this genre with more comedic sensibility, a little bit younger and a little less serious. We think that it's a great model." McCarthy added how everyone thought it would be possible to do this approach on a yearly basis à la "American Horror Story." In the end, though, Season 3 of the show didn't even air on MTV, as the series moved to VH1.

Wes Craven's actual involvement in Scream: The TV Series

As one of the masters of horror, Wes Craven had a hand in shaping some of the most beloved and successful franchises in the genre, such as "The Hills Have Eyes," "A Nightmare on Elm Street," and "Scream." Having directed the first four "Scream" films, Craven was brought on as an executive producer for "Scream: The TV Series." However, the filmmaker revealed to The Hollywood Reporter that he didn't have much influence on the show, which aired a few months prior to his passing in August 2015.

In a previous interview, Willa Fitzgerald, who plays Emma on "Scream: The TV Series," confirmed that she never met Craven but said he played a pivotal part in the development of the series. "Wes was involved, but by the time that we were shooting the show, he wasn't traveling much," she said. "He was involved more in the production side of things and was never able to make it to set, but he created a whole genre of slasher, horror, campy."