Celebrity Chef Katie Lee was on hand to give everyone tips. Host Jeff Glor was making his with apples, when Lee encouraged him to add more. "Don't be skimpy with them," she said. "I like a lot of food."
Then she pointed at a dish on the table and said, "And what about your nuts? Are you going to toast those or anything?" When the studio broke out in Beavis and Butthead-like laughter, Lee rolled her eyes. "This crew, I tell you what," she said.
For the record, they were walnuts, if that makes it any better.
The modern poster-child for a show that's "gone too soon" is Jericho. The impassioned fans buried CBS under a ton of nuts, which got the show renewed for a shortened second season. Your mileage of the quality of that season may vary, but the fact remains that the fans did something none of these internet campaigns today will be able to.
What people don't realize is that when Jericho came back for the second run, the ratings weren't any better than when the first season ended. So when they cancel your favorite show and you start mailing in bizarre objects and setting up your web petitions because "it worked for Jericho," remember that the networks remember Jericho as well. They remember that it failed to find a sizable audience twice.
I know, I know, we've all heard those words before. It seems that every other show that gets canceled these days has a "could it come back on another network?" addendum, a glimmer of hope that somehow, some way, a show that had a small but loyal following will actually survive. Unfortunately, 9.9 times out of 10 it doesn't happen.
But it could happen to Jericho. According to Brian Stelter at The New York Times, CBS/Paramount execs have been having secret talks with Comcast (yes, Comcast) about doing something with the show for a third season. Now, this might seem like an odd, desperate play for another season if it wasn't for the fact that NBC has already done something very similar to this with DirecTV, twice. First they had a deal with the satellite provider to air Passions, but that was a big bust (sorry, Passions fans), but they have a new deal to air another season of Friday Night Lights. The new season will start airing on DirecTV in October, and then repeats will air on NBC in early 2009.
The network told producers yesterday that they are not giving another season to the nuclear attack drama. The show had filmed two endings for the seven episode second season: one a cliffhanger in case the show was renewed for another season, and the other an ending that would serve as an ending to the show and satisfy fans. It's the latter that will air on March 25. While the episode does indeed leave room for a continuation, I think we can say it's really gone for good this time.
Jericho fans, it might be time to grab your nuts again.
Last weekend, Jericho fans got a special treat at the Los Angeles Comic Book and Science Fiction Convention: a stage filled with the cast and creators of the CBS drama. The only problem? Not many fans showed up at all.
The Showtracker blog at The Los Angeles Times says that this might be because the show is neither sci-fi nor comic book-ish, but I don't know if that's a good enough excuse. It has a certain mystery/action element to it, and the first season was certainly enigmatic in a sci-fi sort of way. And plus we're talking about Los Angeles here, not a small town in Ohio, so I would think a lot more people would have showed up than did. Executive Producer Jon Turteltaub joked about the 80 fans in attendance making the ratings jump, but I don't know if that was a funny estimate by him or an accurate number.
Jericho fans saved that show by mailing tons of nuts to CBS, and now fans of The 4400 want you to try something similar to save that show.
They've set up SaveThe4400.com, where you can sign a petition to save the show and also buy a 1.75 oz bag of sunflower seeds from GiantSeeds.com. Then you send them (of course) to Bonnie Hammer at USA Network headquarters in New York City. I'm sure she'll be happy to get them (cough).
I think Jericho fans opened up a Pandora's Box.
Months after that show's fans got CBS to reconsider their cancellation by sending tons of nuts to the network (inspired by a line Skeet Ulrich said in the final episode), Journeyman fans have started a campaign to send boxes of Rice-A-Roni to NBC in hopes of getting them to change their mind (the show hasn't been "officially" canceled, but it doesn't look good).
If you haven't watched the show before, the reason why fans are doing this is because in one episode, our hero Dan Vasser went back in time to 1987 and got trapped in a giant box of Rice-A-Roni.
I suppose we're lucky that this is a "season one" DVD and not a "complete series" set. The nut campaign aimed at CBS worked, and the second season of Jericho will start in a few months. It's only going to be seven episodes long, and then they'll look at those ratings and see if it warrants more episodes.
In the meantime, we have this season one set. You either like the show or you don't, which will help you decide whether you will want the DVD or not. And if you buy it, you're interested in the extras, and on this set they're actually pretty good.
Jericho was canceled once, only to be saved by a massive nut-sending campaign (and that's probably the first time I've ever typed the words "nut-sending campaign"), and the show will return in a few months for it's second season, which at the moment is slated to last seven episodes (when we last left the town, they were starting a battle with New Bern and military people were on the way). But what if the episodes are low-rated? What will happen in the story if the CBS show is canceled again?
Case in point: The current ad for the new iPod Nano plays the song "1234" by Feist. I guess they used the song so Apple could show the different colors of Nano while Ms. Feist counts off in a sing-songy fashion. Also I think they want to show how great a video with a large number of people in it (she uses a large backing chorus on the song) looks on the Nano's itty-bitty screen (though I can barely see it on the ad, but whatever).
Short but good interview with Jericho star Skeet Ulrich over at TVGuide.com. He talks about how surprised he was by the intensity of the fan support the show received after it was canceled. He says his mom first alerted him to the campaign (everyone say it at once: awwwwwwwwwwwwwww!).
He says the "nuts" line was actually the hardest line he had to deliver all season, because "it's such a non-sequitur," so he finds it funny that it was that line that inspired fans.
He also reveals that Gerald McRaney was ready to leave the show. In fact, he was frustrated throughout the season because he wanted more to do.
[via Pop Candy]
Today on TV Squad Daily:
- Criss Angel's cement-block "escape" was kind of a joke.
- Jericho's nut campaign might just have worked. I know, I know... you told me so.
- The Price is Right just won't be the same without Bob Barker!
"The idea would not be to bring it back for eight and out, but to bring it back for eight with the hope that it would keep going," executive producer Carol Barbee told the LA Times. Barbee also said that when the fans initially responded to the cancellation, CBS suggested a two-hour movie to wrap up the series. But Barbee said 'no', because that wouldn't do justice to the series.
Barbee also makes an excellent point about the way networks are going to have to start looking at ratings. She says, they're going to need to consider online fan communities and online viewings and, "I think they have to understand that the Nielsens are not telling the story anymore." The networks need to find the coveted 18-49 demographic by going online. I thought they had figured that out by putting so many shows online, but apparently CBS wasn't taking that online community seriously.
**UPDATE: CBS officially announces Jericho is back... for seven episodes. The full letter is in comments (Thanks, Mark!)
Today on TV Squad Daily:
- The Jericho nut-protest situation continues to grow.
- Women falling, being told to take off their dresses, and quitting at the last minute... the Miss Universe competition was more of a circus than ever this year.
- A Dutch reality program, Big Donor Show, has three contestants all competing for one donated kidney.
Fans have enlisted the help of a family-owned New Jersey nut company called NutsOnline, whose employees are working overtime to handle the sudden increase in demand for nuts. The business is taking orders and sending bulk shipments to CBS. As of Tuesday, nearly 5,000 pounds of nuts have been ordered and/or shipped. You can order here if you, too, think CBS is NUTS for canceling Jericho.
*Update: NutsOnline is donating $.10 on each pound of nuts shipped to rebuild Greensburg, Kansas, which was destroyed by a tornado earlier this month.
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