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THE WOMAN WHO TRIED TO SAVE SARA

"To fans, losing Sara is a crime''; Oct. 16, 2007; See past coverage at life.tampabay.com.

THE STORY: From her Dunedin living room, part-time hotel worker Devon Pierce led a national effort to pressure producers on CBS's CSI series not to kill off the character Sara Sidle, played by Jorja Fox. Through a network of Web sites, Pierce and her pals raised nearly $10,000 for their efforts, which included flying banners from airplanes above the studio where CSI is filmed and fliers which prompted fans to send 20,000 $1 bills to the network.

FROM THE STORY: "Told that some readers are going to conclude she's a little nutty - spending hours each day protesting for a TV show with a husband and young child at home - Pierce smiles. 'There's a thin line between crazy and committed,' she said, quoting a phrase taped to the door of her makeshift office. 'And if I'm crazy, there's 19,000 other people who are crazy with me.' "

THE REST OF THE STORY: The effort to save Fox's character failed, but Pierce turned the network of fan friendships she made online (and a friendship with CSI writer David Rambo) to another purpose: supporting striking TV writers in Hollywood. She says her group raised close to $10,000 during the three-month strike, paying for airplane banners, donations to the writers union strike fund, food delivered to writers on picket lines and bunches of pencils sent to the TV producers' consortium.

WHAT HAPPENED NEXT: Following the writers' recent vote to end the strike, Pierce is mostly feeling satisfied these days, encouraged that she and her buddies may have played a small part in helping them earn better contracts. "Good writing equals good television, period," she wrote in a recent e-mail to the St. Petersburg Times. "I know as an avid TV fan, I became apathetic about TV (during the strike), and I hate feeling that way."

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