Ashton Kutcher: Miranda Shen/AP
Gary Susman
April 01, 2004 AT 05:00 AM EST

Naturally, when MTV picked April Fools’ Day to announce that , less than four months after he pulled the plug on ”Punk’d,” Ashton Kutcher was reviving the celebrity prank program, reporters were a tad skeptical. ”This is not an April Fools’ joke,” MTV spokeswoman Vanessa Reyes told the Associated Press. Okay, so when Kutcher said in December that he was killing off his successful show because he didn’t want it to jump the shark, he was punking us then? ”Yes, he was,” Reyes said.

Actually, Kutcher left the door open to revive the series even then. For a day after he announced he was ending the show, the MTV website still said that a third season would be starting in March. (Another ruse perhaps; Reyes now says the show will return April 25). In a February interview, Kutcher told that he hadn’t ruled out a renewed ”Punk’d,” saying: ”Look, if someone comes to me with the right creative [idea] that could make it new and different, then I would [bring it back].” Kutcher told us at the time that he was preparing two new prank series for the network.

In another April Fools’ Day report, according to the Hollywood Reporter, ”Punk’d” costar Ryan Pinkston has signed to star in New Line’s comedy ”Slay the Bully.” He’d play an eighth-grader, a new kid in town who’s mistakenly credited with walloping the local bully, only to be challenged to a public rematch. If ”Punk’d” really is coming back, we’re guessing Pinkston won’t be on board, though the show’s success has blown the young prankster’s cover anyway. Meanwhile, we’re still waiting for an announcement from Kutcher and Demi Moore that they’ve been punking us all for a whole year.

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