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Punk’d is about to make a comeback on MTV. Unfortunately, Ashton won’t be the one lurking behind the scenes with a mischievous grin on his face. That job’s being handed over to pop-star Justin Bieber.
According to Vulture, the deal is nearly sealed to bring 16-year-old Justin Bieber on board to host the celebrity prank show Punk’d. Formerly hosted and produced by Ashton Kutcher, the show featured various celebrities as they were pranked on camera. In the reboot, Kutcher will be an exec-producer but it’ll be Bieber serving as the prank-master.
I don’t know how I feel about this, honestly. I loved Punk’d, due in large part to Kutcher being like a big kid as he yelled his plans at the camera and then watched gleefully as whoever was being pranked panicked, yelled, or cried in response to whatever snafu they found themselves mixed up in. When Kutcher revealed himself, there was shock and finally some mixture of relief, amusement and irritation but they never seemed to be mad at him. If there was any anger, it was always the playful kind.
The true charm of the original Punk’d was often in the way Kutcher smoothed the situation over afterward. Kutcher made the whole thing feel organic, as though he were actually pranking a friend and we were being allowed to watch, rather than just a show about celebs getting a joke played on them and then realizing they were on camera, which is kind of what the new version sounds like. Vulture says if the deal goes through, Bieber’s involvement in the actual pranks will fade after the first few episodes, so it seems MTV is banking more on the old premise and the kid’s fame to get the show up and running again.