Buckwild’s Future

MTV television network officials have suspended work on the upcoming season of the “reality” show “Buckwild.” Good. Let’s hope they think about the message being sent by the program.

“Buckwild,” focusing on the lives of several devil-may-care young West Virginians, was a hit during its first short season. But since then, one cast member has been arrested for drug distribution, another has been charged with driving under the influence and a third, Shain Gandee, has died in a tragic accident.

Television always tends to blur the line between reality and make-believe. But there is evidence the new wave of “reality” shows takes that a step further. After all, if real people on the programs can get away with the dangerous stunts portrayed, why not viewers?

Is there a link between appearing on “Buckwild” and the trouble and tragedies experienced by some of its cast members? We honestly don’t know. In all likelihood, neither do MTV officials. More important, do shows such as “Buckwild” encourage dangerous behavior by some viewers?

Those are questions MTV officials should consider before resuming work on “Buckwild.”