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August 29, 2015

Inside Jericho's resurrection - TCA report

by Michael Maloney, posted Jul 19th 2007 7:32PM
Skeet Ulrich on CBS' JerichoCBS starts off the morning a little later so we can all file our Emmy reports. Thanks!

Unexpected swag courtesy of today's first panel: Jericho -- a one-pound bag of peanuts and a t-shirt from nutsoline.com/jericho, the Internet campaign that helped bring the canceled fan favorite drama back to life for seven episodes next season.

Before the Q&A gets underway, CBS announces "CBS Eye-alert" a multi-platform viewer alert system that will help viewers find their favorite shows. I'm going to write more about this -- as soon as I figure out what it all means.

But, first, Jericho...

Executive producer Carol Barbee is thrilled that fans helped convince CBS to bring Jericho back. "I can only think of one other time in TV history when [something like this] happened," says Barbee.

Le'ts see...a huge letter writing campaign (remember those, kids?) saved Cagney & Lacey, the 80s cop drama starring multiple Emmy winners Tyne Daly and Sharon Gless. And huge DVD sales from Family Guy brought that show back, but it's likely that Barbee is talking about the thousands of bottles of hot sauce fans sent in to help keep cult favorite Roswell on the air.

Did Skeet Ulrich (Jake) call cast members personally, asking them to return to the show? "I don't think I had to convince anyone," Ulrich says. "It was more that I heard the news and [wanted to share it]."

Does the actor have plans to thank the show's devoted fans? He jokes he may go door to door, but adds on a serious tone that there may be some ads taken out in a few publications to show gratitude.

Barbee says CBS is going to re-run the second half of last season to bring viewers up to speed.

Spoiler alert if you're a new viewer...

Why kill off Gerald McRaney, who played Johnston, Jake's dad? "It was always the plan that he would die," explains Barbee. "He's tied into Jake's arc. [Jake] needs to become the man he was meant to be -- the leader of the town."

Co-star Lennie James (Robert) says McRaney took his leaving like a pro. "He handled it with grace and class," says James. "It was just another working day." With a lot of tears.

What did the fan response mean to Jericho's cast members?

"The detailed questions were what got to me," shares Ulrich. "It's been great to meet as many people face to face as I have."

James: "It reminded us of who we make [these shows] for."

"It reflects what Jericho is," says Ashley Scott (Emily), the final panelist. "It's about people re-building -- and loving one another."

Will the characters that survived last season all be back? "It's our sincere hope you'll see everyone," says Barbee. Heck, even the dead ones could return. "I would love to do a story in flashback with Gerald, but it's not planned for the seven episodes we have this season."

Which begs the question are Barbee and company ready to stick around, on the off-chance, as one reporter put it, CBS loses "oh, say, Viva Laughlin?"

(On behalf of VL: "Ouch!")

"We would love nothing more than to keep going," responds Barbee.

Next up, a panel on the future of TV audiences and interactive...stuff.

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I have watched Jericho from day one and was involved in the campaign to bring it back. It's a great show and needed a second chance. Thanks to CBS and all of the loyal and devoted fans it is getting that chance.

Hopefully CBS as well as all networks should be looking into and implementing other ways of tracking ratings besides Nielsen and realize that people view TV shows in a number of different ways. Everyone who watches, no matter what the show, should be counted. It's only fair.

July 24 2007 at 2:22 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

I started watching Jericho from the first episode, and I'm glad they are bringing it back. I know a lot of people who won't watch the first season of a show for this exact reason - you just get into it and the network cancels it. It's a vicious circle. How can we end it?

July 24 2007 at 12:30 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

I sent nuts to CBS executives and am thrilled that Jericho was given a second chance. I'm also saddened that I lost a couple other shows that I really liked because I'm not one of the golden Nielsens or I'm not watching the way or in the timeframe the ratings are calculated. It's too bad that these networks are telling such an enormous portion of the viewing population that they don't matter.

As far as the Jericho cast saying "thanks", they already have. They've expressed their gratitude through the CBS.com message board and now the producers have created a blog to share with us the production experience.

With today's technology, it is so easy for actors to take a minute or two and write a post that will reach out to their fan base. How many of them take that opportunity? When they do, they create a fandom that will move mountains on TV.

July 24 2007 at 11:23 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Re: Star Trek... yes there would be no season 3 of Star Trek if there had not been a huge outpouring of letters from fans of the show. And this was before the days where it was easy to organize such things. Another example of how the Nielsen ratings don't work. Oh sure terrible ratings from 1965-1967 but a huge syndication success in later years... doh!

July 20 2007 at 6:34 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Well, I watched Jericho and will watch that second mini-season, but still I'm not pleased with such a "comeback" and I don't think fans got what they wanted, doesnt sound that way to me....

July 20 2007 at 4:09 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

I comment because while I think it's nice that the fans got what they wanted, better series like Veronica Mars die. There I said it.

July 20 2007 at 1:33 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Big John

When are programmers gonna wake up and realize that if it's ratings they want, they should stick to drivel and if it's art they want, then perhaps they should open up a 2nd channel. Also, they should consider quicker DVD releases (UK calling) and plan on shorter-term series (sorta like what Lost and BSG are doing). If you say that 'Jericho' will have a 2-year run and it breaks like it did, then those will be an awesome 2 years. When you leave it open-ended like that, you run the risk of viewer mortality.

July 20 2007 at 11:17 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Jeff N.

I think the most famous letter writing campaign to save a series was the one that saved the original Star Trek back in the 1960's.
Isn't that true?

July 20 2007 at 3:37 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
jan sterling

was interested that fans brought back jericho - had not watched it before now watching it - i am a fan of surface that nbc cancelled - we have been sending mail and email to nbc for 2 years to no avail - no mention if they would bring back or let sci fi channel pick it up - we are sending salt as nim, creature in surface, loves salt - if you want to see what we are doing to try and bring back this great sci fi show go to savesurface.com and ck out what people are doing - thanks

July 20 2007 at 2:52 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

*wonders* why does Bash care enough to be the first to comment on a Jericho story if he thinks it shucks? *wonders*

July 20 2007 at 1:15 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

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