When MTV announced they were teaming with Lindsay Lohan for a new reality series, there was a mixture of emotions: Excitement over having LiLo back on our screens in any capacity, curiosity over what in the hell her life overseas might look like, and an overarching suggestion that this could be just the comeback vehicle her once red-hot career needed.
It seemed like everyone knew there was a lot riding on Lindsay Lohan’s Beach Club—Lohan included. While fans were hoping that this pivot into reality TV could be the bit of repositioning she needed, she was counting on this to finally let the world see how far she’d come while operating on her own terms.
For the Mean Girls actress, the series, which premiered on the cable network in January of this year, was the best-case scenario in terms of allowing fans into her mysterious life abroad—she’s been living full-time in Dubai since the mid-2010s and had recently begun dabbling in the hospitality industry, lending her name to nightclubs and beach houses in Greece—without making the show all about her.
“We were all very clear that it wasn’t going to be a Lindsay Lohan follow-her-every-second kind of show,” Lohan, who is celebrating her 33rd birthday on July 2, told Variety back in January. “It was going to be me running a business. It’s different because I’m writing the script, in a sense. I have nothing to hide. What’s left in saying that I’ve gone to a club? Now I own them.”
As she told E! News ahead of the show’s premiere, she’d been hesitant to dip a toe back in the world of reality TV. (Her first endeavor, Lindsay for Oprah Winfrey‘s OWN network, came and went in 2014 with little fanfare save from the gawking at the media mogul’s ill-fated attempts at getting the troubled star’s life back on track.) However, she seemed hopeful that she’d perhaps found something that had legs.
“When I made that beach and I designed it, it was more for me having people come and have fun, but not showing myself being there, that’s the beauty of it. Now I really messed that one up, but in a good way,” she told us. “Everything will be great and we’ll do hopefully another season.”
And then the show premiered.
As the 998,000 viewers who either turned into the premiere live or on demand throughout the first week learned, the show essentially was MTV’s version of Vanderpump Rules, with Lohan filling the Lisa Vanderpump role of stern boss with a heart of gold. And just like with LVP on Pump Rules, it meant that the show was more about the younger nobodies working at her establishment, tapping into their interpersonal relationships as the main source of drama, with Lohan seen only sporadically throughout each episode. Fans who wanted to see more of LiLo’s life were left disappointed, and anyone seeking out a show in the vein of Vanderpump Rules was likely already busy watching the Bravo hit’s seventh season, airing on the same night for much of Lindsay Lohan’s Beach Club‘s first season.
Fans who did stick it out for the show’s entire 12-episode first season watched as Lohan settled on four of 12 prospective staffers who’d been put through the paces to earn a spot as an official ambassador of the Lohan brand, seemingly poised to return for the following summer season. And then three long months passed as we inched ever closer to summer, with no word from MTV on whether the show would go into production on a second season or not. Until, that is, news broke in June that both the show and the beach club it documented were kaput.
According to a Page Six report, “There was a renewal idea that producers hoped would perk it up for a second season. It would be turned into a show about Lindsay and [her mother] Dina and [sister] Ali, [but] that wasn’t going to happen.” As the outlet’s source, said to be close to the production, added, the show didn’t have “enough drama.”
“They wanted ‘breakdowns.’ That’s not where [Lohan] is at with her life anymore,” the insider added. “Their personal business doesn’t need to be aired on television; it’s already in the papers anyway.”
The same report indicated that calls to the phone number listed for the Mykonos club on TripAdvisor were no longer going through, while eyewitnesses claimed on social media that the “Lohan sign” had been “stripped off” the club.
While reps for MTV continue to have no comment on the show’s future, a source close to production told E! News in June that the network was looking to “rework some things” and “try and salvage” the show when they ran into creative differences. Meanwhile, Lohan made it abundantly clear that she was ready to move on.
In a statement provided to E! News via her representative at the time, she said, “The show was moving into a new direction, perhaps not enough drama in my life for reality TV formula (as that’s not where I am in my life) the drama. And for the club, we are simply moving the focus to a brand new and exciting location in Athens and also a new location and partnership to be announced in Mykonos. It’s all positive.”
Since news of the show seemingly folding, Lohan has already begun to bounce back, posting photos of herself in the recording studio amid reports that she’s signed a new record deal with Casablanca Records, home of her first two albums released in the mid-2000s. And, as she told Variety in January, she has other irons in the fire, as well.
“I’m attached to a movie that I’m producing called Frame that will shoot in Saudi Arabia, which is a really interesting story about an American girl photographer who moves to teach a class in Saudi Arabia. We’re raising the financing for that. I bought a book called The Honeymoon. We’ll turn that into either a series or film. I don’t know yet.”
As she told Paper Magazine in December of last year, she just wants the opportunity to work. “That was kind of taken away from me for a while, when I was going through a lot. I was spending money on going to treatment centers because the court was making me,” she said. “It was hard for me to continue working, because when would I even find the time?”
The problem, as she sees it, is that no one can look past her checkered past. “I think there’s a misconception that people still have about me, and I think it’s unfortunate,” she told Variety ahead of Beach Club‘s launch. “Hopefully, this will change people’s perception once and for all.” Unfortunately, the most anyone could muster when it came to Lohan and the show was an unenthusiastic shrug.
And therein lies, perhaps, the true problem. As Lohan attempts to find new avenues of work—of which there always will be something in some shape or another, of this we’re almost certain—it seems the idea of what we want from her has most certainly shifted. As Lindsay Lohan’s Beach Club proved, audiences want something from her with a little bit of juice, while she’s worked hard to make her life drama-free.
“I love working with kids and I love giving back,” she told Paper, but “people don’t like talking about the good stuff. It’s really crazy to me and makes me really sad. A lot of people do a lot of good things for other people, and it’s like a flash in the pan, where if it’s something negative it sticks with you forever.”
At only 33, she remains a woman with plenty of career goals—”To work with Martin Scorsese. Work with Steven Spielberg. I don’t know,” she told Variety. “I think goals are limitless, and there’s always going to be something new that I want to do”—dedicated to proving that she’s truly righted her ship. In the end, the reality show just wasn’t the right fit.
“I just want to make people happy,” she told the trade publication, “and I want to stay happy.”
Here’s hoping her focus remains squarely on the latter in her pursuit of the right comeback vehicle that’ll finally fulfill the former.