Dear Fans of CBS’ Jericho,
Hey folks, hope all is well in the world of rabid fandom. I know that it’s been over a month now since Jericho was saved and rejoicing commenced, but I have to level with you: I’m a bit disappointed. You see, when CBS announced that they would be bringing the show back for 7 episodes and repeating the entire first season, I seem to remember a lot of things being thrown around. Statements like “We need to promote this show!” or “This is the chance we’ve been waiting for!” seemed to be quite common. And I’m here to tell you that…well, you’re currently not living up to those statements.
The first two nights of repeats haven’t been disastrous, but they have certainly not been triumphs. After a decent reairing of the pilot, the two hour event on Friday struggled to pull in as many viewers as Friday Night Smackdown!, yet alone match last week’s numbers. There are all sorts of excuses being thrown around: The recap show was poorly made seems to be the most popular. I’ll be honest: it doesn’t matter how good that recap show was. All that matters is that, clearly, not enough people were going to watch in the first place.
I know how much work went into saving the show, as I witnessed all of your passion for this series here at Cultural Learnings. Whether you were yelling at me, arguing with me, agreeing with me, reasoning with me, I always remained fascinated by how much you loved your show. The fascination turned to admiration with time, and after the show was successfully saved I hoped that you could translate it into something positive, substantial for your series to survive.
And I haven’t seen it yet, folks. We’ve seen two weeks of repeats, and it seems to be like things have just reverted back to where they were before: no one seems to be talking about Jericho. While I know that many have taken a more grassroots approach at marketing the show to friends and family (Which is great), I think that this can only go so far. The way shows like Jericho become successful is through cultural consciousness.
Why was Save Jericho Successful?
The success of the campaign to save Jericho was entirely due to New Media and the internet spreading the word about the campaign far and wide. It was about internet-savvy fans making Jericho something people were talking about, and not just another cancelled show. However, for some reason, the new media side of things has basically died off entirely. What was once this campaign’s bread and butter has basically been tossed out the window in favour of telling family and friends.
I am not insinuating that telling family and friends is a bad thing, but it is very isolated: it is one person telling one person, and the chances of it growing into a cultural phenomenon are slim to none. I understand that you’re trying to create new hardcore fans, but I don’t think we live in a hardcore fan world. We live in a world of jumping on bandwagons and casual television viewing, things that require people, en masse, to be aware.
What should the goals be?
The goal of Jericho fans should be focused on multiple areas:
– Bringing back fans who abandoned the show at the hiatus.
– Building an online community where people can learn and embrace the show.
– Telling friends and family and encouraging them to become part of that community.
So many shows have been saved because of online communities: Veronica Mars lasted three seasons entirely because of it. Jericho was saved because that online community grew into a powerful force. Now, that force has almost entirely disappeared. Why is this happening? While I know these are just repeats, those repeats are a chance to return fans and gain new ones within a community that is the one and only reason your show survived.
What happened to Digg?
Jericho would not be returning to CBS next season if not for Digg…so why aren’t fans using it? I know that Rick over at Copywrite, Ink. has continued posting on Jericho, but if the “big” entertainment blogs are only reporting on the ratings and not the show itself then the internet saturation isn’t going far enough.
So what do you need to do?
You need to remember where you came from, to use a rather cliched term. You need to think back to what happened now almost two months ago and realize that, despite “winning”, the battle isn’t over. So pull up your socks, pick up the ball, and run back onto the internet with it. Use Digg, use MySpace, use anything you can. Telling friends is great, but telling the world is better.