Inside Jericho's resurrection - TCA report
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.