This time, it’s no prankâ€”Punk’d will soon have its last laugh. MTV announced Monday that the eighth season of Ashton Kutcher’s hidden-camera show would be its final outing. To mark the celebrity-pranking series’ sendoff, the network said it would air all eight episodes from the upcoming season back-to-back in a special “sneak peek marathon” on Apr. 7. The new season will then officially premiere on Apr. 10, as part of MTV’s new Tuesday night lineup.
“We decided to make an event out of it,” MTV Entertainment president Brian Graden told the Hollywood Reporter. “We’re looking to experiment with many alternate programming and premiere models as a way for things to take hold in an age of technology.”
The show’s final episodes will feature victims including Evangeline Lilly, Magic Johnson, Hilary Swank, Jewel and Nelly Furtado, the network said. The list of celebrities targeted by the show in past seasons reads like a who’s who of young Hollywood, with everyone from Lindsay Lohan to Kanye West falling prey to Kutcher’s hoaxes at some point in Punk’d history. Kutcher once even famously pranked his Punk’d audience, when he announced in December 2003 that he was pulling the plug on the show after the second-season finale.
“We have had an incredible time doing the show and have decided to stick with the old adage of ‘leave ’em wanting more,’ ” Kutcher said in a statement at the time.
Speculation immediately began that the cancellation announcement was itself a prank, designed to lower celebrity defenses. Sure enough, the third season of the show debuted on MTV in April 2004. This time around, the show’s impending demise is no jokeâ€”or so MTV claims. (Of course, it is April Fool’s Day on Sunday…) However, the network said it may collaborate with Kutcher on future projects. As a final farewell to his long-running series, Kutcher will host a special Punk’d awards ceremony on June 5, honoring some of the most memorable moments from all eight seasons.