Zach Stone Is Gonna Be Famous

Zach Stone Is Gonna Be Famous is an American television comedy series created by comedian Bo Burnham and Dan Lagana that aired on MTV from May 2 to June 29, 2013.[1] The sitcom stars Burnham as Zach Stone, a fresh-out-of-high school teenager who opts to pursue a life of fame and stardom instead of attending college. The series follows Zach, who hires a camera crew to film him throughout his daily life as a part of his quest to become an over-night celebrity, even though he possesses no real talent.

Zach Stone Is Gonna Be Famous
Created by
Country of originUnited States
Original languageEnglish
No. of seasons1
No. of episodes12 (list of episodes)
Executive producers
  • Bo Burnham
  • Dan Lagana
  • Dave Becky
  • Justin Levy
  • Luke Liacos
  • Michelle Klepper
Camera setupSingle
Running time21 minutes
Production company3 Arts Entertainment
DistributorViacom International Media Networks
Original networkMTV
Picture format1080i 16:9 (HDTV)
Audio formatDolby Digital 5.1
Original releaseMay 2 –
June 29, 2013 (2013-06-29)

On June 26, 2013, it was announced that Zach Stone Is Gonna Be Famous had been canceled after one season.[2]


Zach Stone, an 18-year-old high school graduate from Boston, opts to pursue his dream to reach the life of fame and stardom instead of attending college. Thanks to his saving income from his grocery store job over the last couple of years, he hires a camera crew from MTV to film him throughout his daily life as a part of his quest to become an over-night celebrity, even though he possesses no real talent. From Zach's attempts to become a celebrity chef or a ring-tone recording artist or purposely going missing, he will try any avenue he can to get noticed and stop at nothing until he reaches fame. He has the entire summer vacation to get noticed and to hang out with his friends before they all leave to go to college.


The series was commissioned in September 2010 by MTV. Variety magazine reported that MTV had ordered a half-hour-long television "put pilot", from Burnham "about a kid fresh out of high school who's pursuing the new American dream of being a celebrity without having any talent".[3][4] The show was inspired by a study that polled graduating high school seniors on their possible career paths, and 40% chose "famous" as opposed to extraordinarily low numbers for more realistic choices, such as "doctor".[5] The pilot was filmed in 2011, while the rest of the season was filmed over the course of 2012. Burnham initially felt the show to be a dark, satirical comedy that slams the title character for having "shallow priorities", but grew to feel the character more a product of the culture surrounding him.[6] The show was primarily inspired by the original British The Office, The Larry Sanders Show and The Comeback.[7]

Cast and charactersEdit

  • Bo Burnham as Zach Stone,[8] the eponymous protagonist; a recently graduated teen who pursues fame and stardom over college. Stone will do anything to get famous, including attempts to become a celebrity chef, a ring-tone recording artist, and purposefully going missing.
  • Kari Coleman as Sydney Stone,[8] Zach's patient mother
  • Tom Wilson as Andrew "Drew" Stone,[8] Zach's exasperated father
  • Cameron Palatas as Andrew Michael "Andy" Stone,[8] Zach's successful younger brother.
  • Caitlin Gerard as Amy Page,[8] Zach's best friend who lives four houses down and love interest.
  • Armen Weitzman as Greg LeBlanc,[8] Zach's shy, Jewish best friend.


  • Rory Scovel as Pat,[8] Zach's attention-seeking boss
  • Robbie Amell as Nick,[8] Amy's friendly boyfriend and Zach's rival
  • Shelley Hennig as Christy Ackerman,[8] the hottest girl in Zach's old high school
  • Jason Rogel as Marcus,[8] member of Zach's camera crew
  • Justin Dray as Phillip,[8] member of Zach's camera crew
  • Arshad Aslam as Hasaad,[8] member of Zach's camera crew


Zach Stone spoofs youth culture, celebrity and the pursuit of fame.[6] Outwardly, the character of Zach Stone projects the image he feels will most make him famous and casts a thin layer over his true feelings.[7] Stone, in reality, is completely insecure and the idea of fame presents a "fix-all" to him.[5]


No. Title Directed by Written by Original air date U.S. viewers
1"Pilot"Jeffrey BlitzDan Lagana & Bo BurnhamMay 2, 2013 (2013-05-02)0.65[9]
Zach Stone decides to forgo college to star in his own, self funded reality show. With his friends all leaving for school, he envisions a different path toward fame and a chance to "headline" a funeral is his first big step.
2"Zach Stone Is Gonna Be a Recording Artist"Joe NussbaumIsaac Aptaker & Elizabeth BergerMay 9, 2013 (2013-05-09)0.57[10]
The music business is Zach's next frontier as a front man of the first ringtone band. Embracing his "rebel" persona, he takes to the stage with sidekick Greg and beautiful Christy.
3"Zach Stone Is Gonna Get a Makeover"Joe NussbaumJon Silberman & Josh SilbermanMay 16, 2013 (2013-05-16)0.39[11]
When Christy invites Zach to a weekend pool party, he wants to show off his new image. After getting a full makeover, he's ready for his big reveal but his attention shifts when he witnesses a spark between Amy and Nick.
4"Zach Stone Is Gonna Make a Sex Tape"Joe NussbaumTodd WaldmanMay 23, 2013 (2013-05-23)0.39[12]
Christy asks Zach out on a date and insists on bringing the camera crew. When Christy's true intentions come out, Zach decides to kick her off of his show.
5"Zach Stone Is Gonna Get Wild"Jeffrey WalkerJulia BrownellMay 30, 2013 (2013-05-30)0.36[13]
An invitation to his first college party gives Zach an idea as to how he may be able to pursue both college and fame at the same time.
6"Zach Stone Is Gonna Be a Famous Chef"Jeffrey WalkerGavin StecklerJune 6, 2013 (2013-06-06)0.33[14]
Zach challenges Nick to a cook-off to try and realizes that becoming a celebrity chef may be a tall order.
7"Zach Stone Is Gonna Be The Zachelor"Jeffrey WalkerIsaac Aptaker & Elizabeth BergerJune 13, 2013 (2013-06-13)N/A
"America wants competitive love" and Zach plans to deliver on his new reality show "The Zachelor".
8"Zach Stone Is Gonna Go Missing"Todd Strauss-SchulsonRyan WallsJune 20, 2013 (2013-06-20)N/A
With a ransom video and well planned disappearance, Zach plans to go "missing" to garner evening news fame while America watches with bated breath.
9"Zach Stone Is Gonna Be Scary"Todd Strauss-SchulsonRyan WallsJune 20, 2013 (2013-06-20)N/A
To win a bet with his brother as to who gets scared first, Zach plans a hoax to film his brother in an ultimate scare video to become the next YouTube sensation.
10"Zach Stone Is Gonna Be an Actor"Todd Strauss-SchulsonBo BurnhamJune 27, 2013 (2013-06-27)N/A
Life feels magical after Zach's kiss with Amy and a chance to be a movie star shines after a student film audition. But emotions threaten his role, a run-in with Nick turns ugly and his relationship with Amy leaves questions.
11"Zach Stone Is Gonna Be a Hero"Stuart McDonaldGavin StecklerJune 29, 2013 (2013-06-29)N/A
After seeing a man on television getting interviewed for saving children from a burning building, Zach decides that he is going to be a hero.
12"Zach Stone Is Gonna Be Famous (No, Really)"Stuart McDonaldDan Lagana & Bo BurnhamJune 29, 2013 (2013-06-29)N/A
"Good Morning Boston" is preparing to do a story on Zach's journey to fame, which causes more drama within his family, and threatens to destroy his relationship with Amy.



Zach Stone Is Gonna Be Famous struggled in the ratings during its run. The series premiered to 650,000 viewers and saw its numbers decrease to half of that midway through its season. The show originally aired at 10:30 p.m. on Thursdays, but was moved to 11 p.m. in June 2013 to expand its dwindling audience.[15] MTV scheduled its eighth and ninth episodes to air back to back, and burned off the following three the next week. MTV officially cancelled the series on June 26, 2013.[15]

Critical responseEdit

Zach Stone Is Gonna Be Famous has received mixed reviews from television critics. Brian Lowry of Variety wrote, "While the concept is hardly original ... the series still feels fresh and timely," adding, "this single-camera satire zeroes in on a burning, warped desire to be famous that MTV, as much as anyone, has stoked and exemplified. ... Indeed, even MTV appears oddly oblivious to the ironies of this dichotomy."[16] Entertainment Weekly called the pilot a "promising debut", positively reviewing Burnham's portrayal of the titular character: "Because there's an inherent empathy to the character, it's a delight watching him strive and fail to make the mundane ordinariness of his suburban reality sexy."[17] While noting the premise of parodying reality shows covered no new ground, The New York Times did commend the show's attempt to aim "straight for the dark underbelly of all these fantasies. It's one thing to put on a show; it's another to do so to mask huge holes within."[18]

Pilot Viruet of The A.V. Club noted that the character's "off-camera moments", such as his appeasement of girl-next-door Amy in the pilot, were more satisfying than watching "a completely abhorrent character do awful thing after awful thing. ... It's clear that the writers (and Zach) are so knowledgeable of this particular world that the end result is smarter than you'd expect the average reality show send-up to be."[19] Newsday called the show "almost too clever, funny and ironic for MTV", also praising the show's softer moments: "Zach is both commentary and send-up of the ephemera that MTV and the Internet at large celebrate – then instantly forget. ... But there's a core gentleness here, too, and while Zach's frenetic attention span is extremely splintered, he still manages to be relatable."[20]

In contrast, David Wiegand of the San Francisco Chronicle felt that the show "is more noisy than funny", comparing it to Burnham's beginnings posting videos to YouTube from his bedroom: "His bedroom videos were weird, too, but funny-weird, not I-need-an-Excedrin weird."[21] Hank Stuever of The Washington Post gave the series a scathing review, claiming that "this show is so bad, it's beneath even MTV". Describing the series as irritating, he continues, "One thing about MTV's so-called original programming is that it is often a safe refuge for the criminally unoriginal. I would like to point out that we can extradite Burnham back to reality and prosecute him as an adult."[22]


  1. ^ Bibel, Sara (April 29, 2013). "MTV's New Scripted Comedy Series 'Zach Stone is Gonna Be Famous' to Premiere Thursday, May 2 - Video". TV by the Numbers. Archived from the original on May 3, 2013. Retrieved May 3, 2013.
  2. ^ Bibel, Sara (June 26, 2013). "'Zach Stone Is Gonna Be Famous' Canceled by MTV". TV by the Numbers. Archived from the original on June 30, 2013.
  3. ^ Levine, Stuart (September 7, 2010). "MTV orders pilot from Bo Burnham". Variety. New York City: Reed Business Information. ISSN 0042-2738. Retrieved September 10, 2010. Rising comedian just finished run at Edinburgh fest
  4. ^ "Proper Bo". Chortle. September 8, 2010. Retrieved September 18, 2010. Burnham lands US sitcom deal
  5. ^ a b Casey Lewis (April 2013). "Bo Burnham on His New MTV Show Zach Stone is Gonna be Famous". Teen Vogue. Retrieved June 29, 2013.
  6. ^ a b Elise Czajkowski (May 1, 2013). "Bo Burnham on His New MTV Show, Zach Stone Is Gonna Be Famous, and His YouTube Years". Vulture. Retrieved June 29, 2013.
  7. ^ a b Bradford Evans (May 1, 2013). "Talking to Bo Burnham About His New MTV Show, Working with Judd Apatow, and Playing an Unrelatable Character". Splitsider. Retrieved June 29, 2013.
  8. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l "Zach Stone Is Gonna Be Famous — Cast and Characters". MTV.
  9. ^ "Thursday's Cable Ratings: NBA Playoffs, "Swamp People" Top Charts". The Futon Critic. May 3, 2013. Retrieved May 3, 2013.
  10. ^ "Thursday's Cable Ratings: "Swamp People" Pulls Back in Front for History". The Futon Critic. May 10, 2013.
  11. ^ "Thursday's Cable Ratings: TNT, ESPN Top Charts with NBA Playoffs". The Futon Critic. May 17, 2013.
  12. ^ "Thursday's Cable Ratings: "Swamp People" Tops Demos, Viewers for History". The Futon Critic. May 24, 2013.
  13. ^ "Thursday's Cable Ratings: "Pawn Stars" Return No Match for NBA Playoffs". The Futon Critic. May 31, 2013.
  14. ^ "Thursday's Cable Ratings: "Pawn Stars," "Burn Notice" Top Charts". The Futon Critic. June 7, 2013.
  15. ^ a b Lesley Goldberg (June 26, 2013). "MTV Cancels Zach Stone Is Gonna Be Famous After One Season". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved June 26, 2013.
  16. ^ Brian Lowry (April 26, 2013). "TV Review: Zach Stone is Gonna Be Famous". Variety. Archived from the original on April 26, 2013. Retrieved April 26, 2013.
  17. ^ Lindsey Bahr (May 2, 2013). "Zach Stone is Gonna Be Famous review: Rising above the superficial, one-joke premise". Entertainment Weekly. Retrieved May 3, 2013.
  18. ^ Jon Caramanica (May 1, 2013). "In Vain Pursuit of That 15 Minutes". The New York Times. Retrieved May 3, 2013.
  19. ^ Pilot Viruet (May 2, 2013). "Zach Stone is Gonna Be Famous: Review". The A.V. Club. Retrieved May 3, 2013.
  20. ^ Verne Gay (May 1, 2013). "Zach Stone Is Gonna Be Famous review: Bo Burnham's sitcom wins". Newsday. Retrieved May 3, 2013.
  21. ^ David Wiegand (April 29, 2013). "Zach Stone Is Gonna Be Famous review". San Francisco Chronicle. Retrieved April 30, 2013.
  22. ^ Hank Stuever (May 1, 2013). "On MTV, a surprisingly sweet Vinny, and an irritating Zach Stone". The New York Times. Retrieved May 3, 2013.

External linksEdit