'Pitchmen' Ends Season, But What's the Future Without Billy Mays?

Today's cuppa: office coffee

Anthony_Sullivan_Billy_Mays_Pitchmen 2-7-2009 3-55-31 PM The sudden demise of infomercial king and "Pitchmen" star Billy Mays at 50 on Sunday, of apparent heart disease, has ramifications for his hit reality series.

Produced by Thom Beers' Original Productions for Discovery Channel, it has starred Mays and his friend and business partner, British infomercial star and producer Anthony Sullivan, helping inventors bring their products to market.

Today, Discovery released this announcement...

Discovery Channel is devoting its airwaves to the legendary pitchman Billy Mays this Wednesday, July 1.

A previously-scheduled PITCHMEN marathon of episodes 1-11 airs from 11AM ET/PT through 10PM ET/PT culminating in the never-before-seen season finale at 10PM ET/PT.  

To celebrate a man who was larger than life, the network will run tribute promos honoring Billy Mays and never-before-aired moments throughout the day.  A slate will also be added to the end of the season finale in his remembrance.

In addition, a special tribute show is being planned.

No decision has been made regarding season two of PITCHMEN.  The network is focused on supporting Mays' family and friends during this time of incredible loss.

, the 12-part series featuring Billy Mays and his business partner Anthony Sullivan, began airing on Discovery Channel on April 15, 2009.  

Additional details will be provided as memorial plans are determined.

And here's the statement Original Productions released on Sunday...

June 28, 2009
Statement from Original Productions Regarding Billy Mays:

Billy Mays was one of a kind, a wonderful talent who burned bright and brought joy and delight into the homes of millions. His irreplaceable spirit and blue color demeanor will never be matched," said Thom Beers CEO and Executive Producer of Original Productions. "The entire family at Original Productions is saddened at the loss of our close colleague and friend, Billy Mays," said Philip D. Segal, President of Original Productions. "His positive energy was a joy every day on the set of 'Pitchmen'." Both Beers and Segal are Executive Producers of Discovery Channel's "Pitchmen", along with Billy Mays and his long-time business partner Anthony "Sully" Sullivan.

Theoretically, Sullivan could continue "Pitchmen" on his own, or the show could add a new partner. One possibility is Mays' son, Billy Mays III, known on Twitter as @youngbillymays (through which he released the news of his dad's death). He works behind the scenes in the infomercials and has been featured on the show.

Click here for my Sunday post on Mays, which is updated through the preliminary autopsy results this morning.

Of course, Mays' death is one of several in the last few days.

The private funeral of former "Charlie's Angels" and "Burning Bed" star Farrah Fawcett, who succumbed to cancer at 62 on Thursday in Santa Monica, Calif., is planned for tomorrow afternoon at the Cathedral of Our Lady of the Angels in downtown Los Angeles.

The legal, medical, financial and custodial issues surrounding the death, also last Thursday, of music superstar Michael Jackson at the age of 50 in Los Angeles, continue to swirl. No formal announcement of a memorial service or a funeral has yet to be made. Check any cable news channel for hourly updates.

Funnyman Fred Travelena also died on Sunday, losing his battle with cancer at the age of 66.