When Jackass premiered on MTV way back in 2000, it is hard to imagine that anyone involved could have predicted we would not only be talking about it 22 years later but that it would still be growing as a franchise. But that is what is happening, as Paramount Global has announced they are developing a new show for streaming and their Paramount+ streaming platform. The statement from CEO Bob Bakish even went so far as to directly credit the extension of the franchise to a new series as being based on the recent success of Jackass Forever. He did also specifically note that Paramount is “working with the creators” of Jackass for a new series. Combined with series figurehead/producer Johnny Knoxville’s recent statements about passing the dumb and dangerous stunt torch to a new generation of jackasses, it seems likely that this new series may be the start of a new era.
Jackass Forever was released in February to an unexpectedly strong box office (considering there had not been a feature film in the franchise in over a decade) and even more unexpectedly strong critical reviews. Since the series launched with three seasons on MTV, it has expanded into numerous spin-off shows, feature films, films produced under the “Jackass Presents” aegis, a Shark Week special, and now apparently is about to move into the streaming market. Early on in the history of the franchise, the show became particularly notable for a small-scale moral outrage about the danger of extreme stunts and worries of copycats, but by this point, it has aged to somehow become a beloved part of pop culture.
It is not at all surprising that Paramount Global would look to be leveraging the Jackass property into streaming. As the still-developing streaming market gets ever more competitive, it seems incumbent on every platform to both produce their own content and develop flagship programs. Paramount+ has to try to elbow their way into the Big Four of Netflix, HBO Max, Disney+, and Amazon Prime Video, not to mention the innumerable other smaller streamers looking to make their own mark. Paramount already has an edge with current mega-producer Taylor Sheridan and his stable of gritty Western shows on their side, but they certainly can’t put all their eggs in the Yellowstone basket. Jackass is a known and popular property and thus ripe for further development.
Paramount Global did not announce their specific plans for Jackass on Paramount+, but they have already added old episodes of the original series to the platform, which feels like testing out how many viewers will actually sign up for it. Given the increased risk of serious injury and/or death (and the increased litigiousness of the franchise), it feels like this may be the turning point when the original series stars begin to fully become behind-the-scenes players. It is difficult to begrudge Johnny, Bam, Steve-O, and all the other beloved figures of Jackass to manage to keep this thing alive for at least a while longer.