Following the news of Ghost Hunters not returning to A&E for a third season via paranormal investigator Brandon Alvis, his co-star, and fellow researcher, Mustafa Gatollari is speaking out about the cancellation and setting the record straight in light of fan questions and comments. In a video shared Sunday morning to his official Instagram page, the paranormal historian and site analyst said there is "no real animosity" between the network, cast members and production company over the news.
"From my understanding, one of the biggest reasons why the show wasn't getting renewed was that there was like a lot of confusion in the beginning once COVID happened as to whether or not we would be able to produce the show in the manner in which we were doing," Gatollari said. "There's a lot of traveling that's involved and we didn't even know if we'd be able to get into places and film."
With the coronavirus pandemic and lockdown leaving many TV shows and movies up in the air, Gatollari admits the uncertainty of the situation "put a damper in things," making the network a bit reluctant for a renewal after the sophomore season.
"I don't blame them. I'd do the same thing if I had a business to sign another deal to renew the show," he said, adding how COVID-19 made things very weird. "We travel around a lot, we got a ton of crew members — about, I think like 26 people total, including our team, who would be going out to these different locations, so that's probably like one of the biggest reasons."
The New Jersey native goes on to share how the network was restructuring much of its programming following the cancellation of Live PD this past summer, which he says "accounted for 49%" of the network's ratings, admitting there was a lot of blowback due to that departure.
Further stating on the record how his interactions with A&E were always great, Gatollari praises working with the network's team on the show. "They were really, really great with us, and they were very, very cool," he said, adding how they are also continuing to set them up with panels and interviews overseas for the show, most recently for an Australian magazine. "So I've got no qualms with A&E or anything like that. I think it was just a whole confluence of events that kind of culminated in this for it not being picked up. Our show's not cheap to produce. We do travel around a lot, and we do have a big [crew]."
With respect to other paranormal shows, Gatollari admits Ghost Hunters always had a "pretty high standard" than the other genre-based series. "There's a lot of paranormal programs out there that [...] do their thing, and they kind of do lowest rate of return for highest maximum value," he said. "So we pretty much prided ourselves on the standard that we had on our show, again, is not really that cheap to produce."
Revealing how they could have kept costs down, he is humbled for the experience and the "really great product" they produced for fans of the paranormal. "We really, really, really did a great job, I think," he said of the cases and shoots that would last 16 hours in historic sites across the country. "The ratings were fairly solid for a paranormal show — I mean, we did really well."
Reiterating how "there was a lot of love, a lot of work that was put into this program," Gatollari says he is unsure if the show will find a home somewhere else at this moment. "I don't know if that offer's there. I don't even know what the structure of what the teams are looking like these days or anything like that, just because everybody's kind of doing their own thing."
While the show might be done, for now, he shares he and Alvis have a book coming out soon surrounding the paranormal, and the team is still heading out on investigatory haunts. We have tons of events that we're all still doing together and stuff. So, if you guys wanted to investigate with us and you could check out our social media pages and see if you want to come out and do an investigatory event."
Ghost Hunters originally premiered in 2004 on the SyFy Network and ran for 11 seasons. Starring Wilson and Jason Hawes, the series served as a pioneer in the era of early paranormal reality TV. Producing more than 200 episodes and 10 specials, the series ended in 2016 but found new life with A&E last summer. The revival, featuring a new cast, ran for two seasons on the network totaling 20 episodes between Aug. 21, 2019 to May 27, 2020.0comments
The show was produced by Lionsgate's Pilgrim Media Group with Craig Piligian and Mike Nichols serving as executive producers, along with original Ghost Hunters team leader, Grant Wilson. Alongside Gatollari and Alvis, the two were joined by investigators, Daryl Marston, Kristen Luman, Brian Murray and Richel Stratton.