Once `Punk’d,’ Twice Shy

Apr 5, 2004  •  Post A Comment

We didn’t blink when MTV announced last week that “Punk’d” was returning to its schedule, despite the apropos April Fool’s Day timing. It appeared the joke already had been played on the media in December, when series star-executive producer Ashton Kutcher abruptly canceled plans for a third season of the celebrity prank show despite strong ratings (TelevisionWeek, Dec. 22). At the time of the announcement, MTV posted a notice on its Web site that the show would return in March. Then notice was posted that there would not be a third season. One rival cable honcho said back then, “If I believed for one second he was truly done with MTV, I would be all over his agents for a shot at the series. I don’t care what it would cost. MTV would have to be crazy to let it go.” An MTV spokeswoman said last week that there’s every reason to believe the show will in fact be back for an eight-episode run starting April 25. “This is not a joke,” the spokeswoman said. Mr. Kutcher’s reps could not be reached for comment.