CBS Saves Jericho: Critics Everywhere Scratch Their Heads
I don't want to be a wet blanket here. I really don't.
It is an amazing thing that fans of Jericho were able to get CBS to capitulate and agree to put their favorite series back on the air. That they did it by sending the Eye Network thousands of pounds of nuts is just a nice -- really nice -- bonus. (see a video for the campaign here)
But then I took a look at the notice CBS president Nina Tassler put out about the pickup and noted when the show's seven episode miniseason was slated to return: midseason.
Now, the message also outlined lots of stuff CBS was planning to do to keep Jericho alive for those who don't often put nuts in the mail -- reruning the show over summer, releasing a first season DVD in September and maintaining an active digital presence. They are cutting deals with the series regulars and key production people, which means they're spending money, which is always a good sign.
Still there's that word: midseason.
Anyone who has been around the network TV game long enough know what that word really means -- invoking the time between the end of November and the beginning of May when network TV tries out new series to replace faltering fall shows.
It means CBS has put off making a real decision until after its fall schedule has come together. What they're probably thinking, is that Jericho will be a good plug for whatever hole develops from a fall show not working out (my hunch: the Hispanic-centered family drama Cane is going down quick on Tuesdays at 10 p.m.)
But if, by some miracle, everything works, or the hole that appears doesn't suit Jericho very well, I wouldn't be surprised if everyone's favorite post-apocalyptic drama got put on a shelf again. That was once standard operating procedure at Fox, which always announced shows for its midseason (and sometimes fall) slates that never aired.
Here's the white flag CBS waved today, posted to the show's official message board:
June 6, 2007
To the Fans of Jericho:
Over the past few weeks you have put forth an impressive and probably unprecedented display of passion in support of a prime time television series. You got our attention; your emails and collective voice have been heard.
As a result, CBS has ordered seven episodes of “Jericho” for mid-season next year. In success, there is the potential for more. But, for there to be more “Jericho,” we will need more viewers.
A loyal and passionate community has clearly formed around the show. But that community needs to grow. It needs to grow on the CBS Television Network, as well as on the many digital platforms where we make the show available.
We will count on you to rally around the show, to recruit new viewers with the same grass-roots energy, intensity and volume you have displayed in recent weeks.
At this time, I cannot tell you the specific date or time period that “Jericho” will return to our schedule. However, in the interim, we are working on several initiatives to help introduce the show to new audiences. This includes re-broadcasting “Jericho” on CBS this summer, streaming episodes and clips from these episodes across the CBS Audience Network (online), releasing the first season DVD on September 25 and continuing the story of Jericho in the digital world until the new episodes return. We will let you know specifics when we have them so you can pass them on.
On behalf of everyone at CBS, thank you for expressing your support of “Jericho” in such an extraordinary manner. Your protest was creative, sustained and very thoughtful and respectful in tone. You made a difference.
President, CBS Entertainment
P.S. Please stop sending us nuts :)