The ‘Save Jericho’ campaign suffered a rather direct setback last evening, although not exactly a killing blow. The Wall Street Journal posted an interview with Les Moonves, CBS’ President, where he effectively states that CBS could not financially continue with Jericho within a different type of business model.
Asked if CBS would consider producing the show and broadcasting the episodes online, Mr. Moonves responded he “would be losing a considerable amount of money.”
Now, there is nothing within this answer that fans didn’t know. The reality is that online advertising has never reached a point where it could sustain a $2 Million per episode drama, especially because they would lose out considerably on international distribution deals and the like. The model just isn’t there online, where everything goes through CBS and international rights are incredibly difficult to organize (Remember: fans in Canada and other international countries can’t watch in the same way).
Moonves, however, represents the boss of the person being most targeted by the campaign, Nina Tassler. In other words, this is the most definitive statement we’ve seen that CBS is not willing to budge from their current position.
“We feel bad we have canceled the show,” Mr. Moonves said. “Obviously I love to see the passion. I wish we had seen some of that passion as the ratings were going down in the last two months.”
Now, while I know that there is some things to take issue with there, I begrudgingly have to say that he has a point: over those last two months, the show never faced off against American Idol (Except for Idol Gives Back, which was just unavoidably huge). If there was ever a time for it to regain some momentum, that was the time…and it didn’t do it. So Moonves, clearly, has the numbers in front of him. His selection of the last two months certainly isn’t as much of a ratings slides as he thinks it was, but he could have picked worse periods.
And yet, this statement doesn’t jive with his underling’s promise of closure where some of the mistakes with the show were admitted: instead, Moonves is fairly clearly offering the same reasoning that his colleague did before.
Which is why the campaign won’t be stopping here. I’ve remained fairly pessimistic from the beginning, don’t get me wrong, and I believe that the chances of a 2nd season are in fact slimmer now than they were 24 hours ago (When I speculated it could theoretically land a midseason slot). However, the campaign won’t just be stopping as a result of Moonves’ comments.
He offered fans no concrete ideas, and was presenting a very business-focused interview that addressed Jericho only in passing. I think that Jericho fans would have been angry with him for not mentioning Jericho, but doing so in such a basic and patronizing sense is definitely not helping his cause. BuhByeCBS at the Jericho Boards has posted a piece which shows just how much this interview with Mossberg at the Wall Street Journal could affect both his and Jericho’s future.
You can head to the Wall Street Journal to watch the clip for yourself (I actually haven’t been able to listen to it, I do not have a sound card at the moment), but I’ve decided that it looks boring. And instead bring you 30 Rock’s representation of “Moonvest”. I think he’s be smart enough to listen to fans, don’t you think?