The award-winning comedy television series Mystery Science Theater 3000, one of the most beloved TV shows of all time, will be returning for a new season after a 15-year hiatus, thanks to a successful Kickstarter campaign helmed by series creator and former host Joel Hodgson, and supported by legions of devoted fans.
The campaign, which concluded at 10 pm PT on Friday, December 11, raised over $6,420,000 in 32 days—$5,764,229 on Kickstarter alone, and more than $660,000 of additional contributions on MST3K.com. In the final hours of the campaign, MST3K’s supporters raced past previous record-holder Veronica Mars ($5,702,153) to set a new record as the highest-funded Film, TV & Video crowdfunding campaign ever.
In total, over 50,000 fans contributed to support MST3K across, with hundreds more making additional contributions after the official end of the campaign.
“When we launched with Kickstarter, it wasn’t clear what was going to happen,” Hodgson admits. “But I did know that we’ve always been a show that relied on our fans. If we were going to come back, we needed to start by making our case to the fans. We wanted to know if this was what they wanted. And over the past month, they’ve sent a really clear message: they want MST3K back just as much as I do.”
In fact, fan demand for MST3K exceeded even Hodgson’s estimation. The campaign’s original goal was to raise $5.5 million, the number needed to cover campaign expenses and produce a full season of 12 brand-new, feature-length episodes. But in the campaign’s final 48 hours, as fans raced past the original target, Hodgson announced two “stretch goals,” and fans responded, passing the final goal of $6.3 million during the final 60 seconds of the campaign.
The additional funds will allow Hodgson produce two more episodes, including a holiday special, and will bring MST3K’s next season to a total of 14 episodes.
Hodgson adds, “It’s just so crazy to see what our fans did when we gave them the chance. And it’s impossible to find the words to explain how humbling this is. I’m so grateful that the fans were still there for MST3K, and am really excited to get back to work. Which, by the way, starts January 4th at 10 am.”
While Hodgson will oversee the new season as creative director, supervising and participating in all facets of production, MST3K’s new episodes will feature comedian Jonah Ray as the next host (“Jonah Heston”), actress and comedian Felicia Day as the next Mad (“Kinga Forrester”), actor and comedian Patton Oswalt as the next evil henchman (“TV’s Son of TV’s Frank”), comedians Baron Vaughn and Hampton Yount as the newest voices of “Tom Servo” and “Crow T. Robot,” respectively, and of course, more cheesy movies to riff. Hodgson is partnered with Shout! Factory, who has been releasing classic episodes of MST3K on home entertainment platforms since 2008 and who recently purchased the intellectual property of MST3K from Best Brains, to bring the show back to life for a new generation.
Throughout the process, Hodgson and team will keep MST3K’s backers informed and involved with regular updates on Kickstarter and MST3K.com. For more information and news, fans should follow @MST3K on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Tumblr.