David Cross/Bob Odenkirk Reunion Scrapped By Analytics: ‘They Have All the F***ing Power’

Is there any hope for ‘Guru Nation’?
David Cross/Bob Odenkirk Reunion Scrapped By Analytics: ‘They Have All the F***ing Power’

Mr. Show nerds rejoiced back in 2022 when David Cross and Bob Odenkirk announced they were reuniting for Guru Nation, a mockumentary about competing cult leaders and their duped, deluded followers. “Guru Nation is ridiculous,” Odenkirk told Deadline back when the project got the greenlight. “We’re playing multiple gurus, David and I. We tell the story of some young people as they make their way through these cults.” At the time, Odenkirk called it “the next Mr. Show project.”

With Borat 2’s Jason Woliner on board to direct, the eight-episode comedy was set to air on Paramount+ — until it wasn’t, as reported by Variety. Cross says you can blame the streamer’s misguided marketing and analytics department. 

“Bob and I wrote, developed and pitched a show, a really cool, fun idea,” Cross told Andrew Santino on a recent episode of his Whiskey Ginger podcast. Four different companies bid on the project before Cross and Odenkirk settled on Paramount+. “We wrote up the first four episodes and then a really specific extensive bible for the last four, all of which we had pitched. Like, here's the story, here are the characters, and here's how it'll work. And then we just actually wrote it. And then they said no, which was weird because it was what we pitched. There was nothing.”

The whole experience served as “an ugly reminder” of where the real power resides in Hollywood, says Cross. Executives at Paramount+ told the comics that, “‘Look, we could go back and forth and we could give you notes’” he said. But it wouldn’t matter — no amount of notes could get the project to the point where the marketing and analytics department would buy in. “It was about the marketing and analytics department not getting it. Not wanting it. And that made them say, ‘No, thanks.’” 

Marketing and analytics wonks are the ones who get to say yes or no? “Dude, they have all the fucking power!” Cross complained to Santino. It’s a lesson he says he learned early on while making the Mr. Show spin-off movie, Run Ronnie Run. “It was crazy. It was quite a shock that if the marketing department doesn't have the imagination to take a preexisting idea and figure out how to (sell) that idea when it's reached its fruition, then they can say, ‘No.’” 

All of which raises a question: If four companies were bidding on Guru Nation just two years ago, couldn’t Cross and Odenkirk revive the project at one of the other interested studios? How about Netflix, the streamer behind the last Mr. Show revival, W/Bob and David? Maybe, just maybe their marketing department would be up to the challenge.


Scroll down for the next article
Forgot Password?