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Why Yellowjackets Didn't End Up On HBO, Despite Network Execs Being Really Into The Idea

Melanie Lynskey, Juliette Lewis, Christina Ricci, and Tawny Cypress in Yellowjackets
(Image credit: Showtime )

When the psychological drama, Yellowjackets, debuted in mid-November of 2021, it became basically an instant hit for Showtime. The much buzzed about show, which focuses on a high school girls’ soccer team that gets trapped in the wilderness after a plane crash, and the survivors 25 years later in the present day, also got lots of love from critics, with even horror-meister Stephen King praising many aspects of Yellowjackets. As they work on Season 2 of the acclaimed drama, creators Ashley Lyle and Bart Nickerson opened up about why their series didn’t end up on HBO, despite the good feedback they got.

What Did Yellowjackets’ Creators Say About Why HBO Didn’t Take Their Show?

If there’s one thing that’s become incredibly obvious in recent years, with a number of streaming services popping up to give premium cable channels and broadcast networks a run for their money, it’s that there's a lot of entertaining and intriguing content to go around. Creators like Ashley Lyle and Bart Nickerson, who also write Yellowjackets, have way more opportunities to have the shows they create get scooped up and aired for all to see, but it also means that the process of pitching your idea can take even longer. 

The team just revealed to Deadline why HBO passed on Yellowjackets, even with executives there being into the idea, with Lyle noting:

I think at one point we were joking with our studio and our producers and were like, 'so who are we pitching tomorrow, Starbucks?' I think we pitched to 16 or 17 different networks. We ended up getting offers from five of them. HBO, as an example, was very honest after the pitch. They said they really liked it, but they already had Euphoria in development. And they were like, we're probably not gonna develop two projects with teenage protagonists. So even though that wasn't a place where we sold it, we were getting positive feedback and that's always helpful as you're going through the absolute grind.

Well, I never would have put this much thought into why a network wouldn’t take on a series, despite liking the basic idea, but I suppose it makes some sense. To me, and probably many fans, the Yellowjackets and Euphoria viewing experiences are very different, but with the foundation of each being that they follow some rather messed up teens as they deal with very dark and potentially crazy-making situations, it just sounds like those at HBO thought the premises were a bit too similar. 

As Lyle said, at least she and Nickerson knew they had a solid idea in Yellowjackets, and that HBO really only seemed to turn the show down because Euphoria got there first. Luckily, we can see that everything turned out just fine. The Yellowjackets cast is absolute fire, and has queer, Black representation in Jasmin Savoy Brown along with other standout performances from the likes of the fierce Melanie Lynskey, Christina Ricci, Juliette Lewis, and many more. Not to mention a number of Yellowjackets WTF moments that keep viewers hooked and looking forward to the second season.

We don’t know when Season 2 of Ashley Lyle and Bart Nickerson’s Yellowjackets will premiere, but you can watch all of Season 1 right now on Showtime.

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