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April 21, 2014

Jericho cancellation the fault of CBS?

by Paul Goebel, posted May 23rd 2007 1:23PM

Johnston Green RIPThere has been an awful lot of talk about CBS canceling Jericho. Over at Observer-reporter.com, they've taken a hard line and decided the fault lays squarely at the feet of the network itself.

Jericho was one of the few new dramas that finished out the season. Heavy duty serials like The Nine, Vanished and Kidnapped were all cut short before reaching their finale. I, myself, was a fan of Jericho, but even I knew it's chances of renewal were slim. Personally, I feel that if the show had revealed some of it's secrets a little earlier, more viewers may have stuck around.

The big question, however, is whether or not the networks need to make a change. It's clear that they won't put their faith in their serials any time soon and it's even more clear that TV watchers refuse to get invested in a show when it has such a good chance of getting the axe.

So what is the answer? My opinion is that the networks should try out the British model for some of their shows. Pick one or two series that have a limited chance of success and commit to one season with a definitive ending. If it catches fire, great; keep producing the show and get rich. If not, let the show finish out the story on Saturday nights, so what few fans it has can TiVo it at their leisure. Any other ideas?

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Christopher J. Arndt

and without reruns, how am I supposed to catch up on the details of my so-called favorite programming if I miss it?

and if I have seen it, I bet I would still rather see a rerun of a show I love than a rerun of a show I like. I would rather see reruns of Lost than a new show I don't care about or a show I hate.

May 24 2007 at 1:49 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
David

I'll admit it now. I canceled the show, not CBS. Plus send me nuts, I like almonds.

May 23 2007 at 8:53 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Fabrice

Let me just say one thing. It's silly to try to figure out a way to explain the show's failure. Same thing to explain why Arrested Development never caught on. It s the way it is... and if there was a reason why viewers are going to stick to a show, we wouldn't have flops every years.
The truth is that a serialized show is a risk for any network. To make it work, they would have to commit for a decided amount of season from the beginning (BABYLON 5), or decide later about 3 more seasons for a show once it's an established hit (LOST). But how many are going to take the huge financial risk ? For every Lord of the Ring Trilogy (filmed at once), there is 200 Matrix (2 and 3) (no offense but urgh !). It's a huge gamble for networks. the kind of gamble they won't take.
Now, your British idea is already applied to 24. Heavily serialized show that works by seasons with very limited cliffhangers at the end (if none at all). Anyone can come at season 7 and go on with it even if they missed the previous 6 seasons. But for a show like LOST or JERICHO, you can't decently expect a resolution in just one season. Do you know how long it took me to get used to BEN from LOST ? And he s now a fine character i couldn't live without. Any satisfying ending for JERICHO would be hurried and not satisfying so early.
The real thing here is the mid season break. It didn t work well with ALIAS at the time, it doesn't work well with LOST (ok combined with 10 pm for a popular show, come on ABC) and it still didn t work with JERICHO.
This is what needs to be changed. I d rather wait a year to get a new season (sopranos style) rather than watch it then wait 5 months for the rest of it. Either that, or increase the number of episode to last without reruns.
After all... those horrible daylight soaps are the perfect example of serialized show that works...

May 23 2007 at 5:47 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
iamhoff

I'm going to agree with most of you and say that it definitely was CBS's fault that Jericho was cancelled. As has been noted, it wasn't promo'ed nearly enough (admittedly having the ratings abortion of Katie Couric for your evening news lead into prime time didn't help), and that stupid 3 month break was an absurd thing to do. Jericho was holding its own and actually starting to pick up solid viewership and build buzz. Then the hiatus. Even shows that either had an established viewership (Lost) or had huge buzz (Heroes) lost ground after their respective breaks. But a show that is starting to gain a footing is not likely to survive a significant break in the middle of things.

That being said, the trend seems to be towards the networks ordering smaller blocks of episodes. The Upfront summaries that TV Squad did last week seemed to confirm that several networks only purchased 13 episode blocks of some shows, as opposed to the 18 to 20 that may have happened in years past. As such, why not go to shorter, continuous seasons. Start a show like Jericho in mid-September. Maybe you miss a week for the Thanksgiving specials, and then miss a week for Christmas. Throw in one or two more weeks for a special sporting event (NFL, NCAA bowl game, World Series, whatever), but with those exceptions show the episodes continuously. Then, in mid-January, after your 13 episodes have shown over the past 16 or so weeks, you start up your spring season. Repeat the pattern, with a week off for MLK Jr./President's Day, a week off for Easter specials, a week specifically for sweeps (or whatever), and you wind up that season around the beginning of May. That takes you into summer specials, baseball, out-of-school-youth oriented shows (Real World, Spring Break, OC-type shows, whatever), and ride that with reruns through to the fall. It beats the hell out of running a show for 8 weeks, taking a 3 month break to try out another half season of a different new show, and then trying to restart the first show after all the viewers left to find something else to watch.

Rant over. TYVM for your time.

May 23 2007 at 5:42 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
joanne

I agree that the networks need to start commiting to one show from beginning to end. I watch alot Italian TV and they do miniseries, these shows are excellent because they run anywhere from 4 to 12 episodes, they have a beginning a middle and an end and no one is upset or dissapointed when it ends because it is expected.

May 23 2007 at 5:40 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Bash

I think, compared to "Lost", there were simply too few secrets to reveal and that there was too much (ridiculous!) filler.

I mean come ON. They used BBQs and love stories to fill the airtime. That was simply too idiotic for me to keep watching. On top of that the sets simply looked too damn cheap and nothing like a real town. Just as good as the street scenes of "Seinfeld". And that was just unacceptable for a show that was supposed to deal with a WWIII scenario. If you aim high you simply cannot shoot with a slingshot.

May 23 2007 at 5:28 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Gwen

If CBS won't bring it back, maybe TNT or USA will pick it up. At least, that's what I'm hoping

May 23 2007 at 4:28 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Cole

It was CBS's fault.

The idea of a Fall finale was dicey, with some shows you can do that, cause they have die hard fan bases or there is no on going story to interrupt, but that wasn't the case for Jericho.

It was a new show, with a new idea, everything about it made it different from the other shows.

CBS completely dropped the ball on this one, no only did they take a chance on a fall finale, they didn't do enough to get Jericho out there. I watch Heroes too, and they was not a day that went by that i didn't seem a promo for the show, the 6'o clock news didn't go off until at least three promos where shown.

And let's be honest it's not like they were up against blockbuster show on another channel, they're biggest competition was Bones on Fox and Law & Order reruns on TNT.

I didn't think they was anything wrong with the writing, i know some other viewers and columnist felt that Jericho was dragging the secrets out too long, but i didn't think so. After all it a 20+ episodes season,and they're were trying to get renewed for another year, not a mini-series it would have made no sense to cram all the secrets into the first weeks.

In my opinion CBS just should have done a better job, and not just for Jericho, i don't think they do enough to showcase they're other shows either. It was the final season for the King of Queens, but i didn't see any commercials for it until a month before they brought it back, and i think the same can said for a lot of their other shows.

I think CBS gave up on Jericho early, and just decided to let it go, which is a shame because it was a great show.

May 23 2007 at 4:18 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Rogphi

Paul,
I agree with your article. I wish the cancelled shows would at least play out with an ending Its very frustrating otherwise. The British Model every one keeps referring to isnt based on a TV season like in the United states Ie September to May. They make a show of 6-8 Episodes or 13 with DR Who( and thats because its been a success) and show it, sometimes in the fall or spring or whenever scheduling allows. Its much more free form and not as structured. IMHO Networks should stop competing for ratings and put on the best programing to suit the viewer. They spend a fortune on developing Pilots and have test screenings! No one once to see a filler episode.
why not show two shows of 12 episodes each? or 3 of 8?this would improve the quality. Fawlty towers, considered by most Brits ads the best comedy series of all time had two " Seasons" and 12 episodes in total.

May 23 2007 at 4:12 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Brent McKee

Of course it was CBS's fault that "Jericho" was cancelled but not for the reason that people think. Most shows get cancelled because not enough people are watching them (duh) but in most cases people aren't watching them because they aren't very good shows or because there's something people would prefer to watch at that time. "Jericho" was doing well against it's competition in the time slot. It was, if not a hit, competitive until it got hit with the long hiatus because unlike most CBS series it was determined to be a "show that doesn't repeat well." People weren't willing to wait through the long hiatus for any show - both "Lost" and "Heroes" dipped in the ratings during their hiatuses. The difference was that those shows had sizable audiences and could afford to lose viewers without being in danger (their network's crappy lineups otherwise didn't hurt either). "Jericho" couldn't.

So what's "the answer?" Short term - and it's probably the direction the networks will be going in for a while - it's to make episodic shows that aren't continuity heavy and that do well when they repeat, like just about every procedural out there. In the long term I think the model for some shows has to change and there are two ways to go. FOX has shown one way, by running "24" in a continuous 24 episode run starting in January. That is, in essence, the British model. The other model is the one that NBC is adopting with "Heroes," with the show doing 24 episodes within the main continuity and six episodes - "Heroes: Origins" - within the same universe but with totally different casts, and presumably a totally different creative contingent.

There is a problem with embracing the British model whole heartedly. It will probably work for established shows, but what about new shows. Would "Vanished" or "Kidnapped" have drawn an audience if it had started in September and had a set ending point in December or January? I don't know.

May 23 2007 at 4:01 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

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