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This Ain’t Pandora’s Box – The (Non-)Impact of the Jericho Screener Leak

Have you ever felt that your nose was just a faucet that wouldn’t shut off? It’s a bizarre and rather grotesque image, but “snot faucet” most aptly describes my weekend experience. It was unpleasant, sure, but by the end of the weekend it was mostly gone. There are some leaks, however, that are somewhat more volatile – these are the leaks that are, for better or for worse, not gone by the end of the weekend.

I speak, of course (As if a runny nose opening could lead to anything else), about the fact that the three-episode Jericho screen sent to critics over the past few weeks has become available online through less than legal means. Now, I’ve written on this subject in the past in terms of pilots, and I want to focus on one of the things I emphasized in that instance:

“On the one hand, uptight network executives are probably concerned that their premiere ratings might go down as people watch the show ahead of time, or that bad buzz will take down the series before it can even get started. To those executives I make the following case: premiere ratings don’t matter, and the audience watching these shows online will not penetrate the casual mass of fans who make Two and a Half Men a comedy sensation. What you want to be doing is creating a fan base, something that this actually helps far more than it hurts.”

While I still believe everything I wrote there, the situation gets trickier in the case of Jericho. With Jericho, the premiere ratings do matter, as returning to middling returns will all but sink the show’s chances of gaining a season three if the initial cancellation hasn’t already done so. And Jericho already has a fan base of internet fans, they worked tirelessly to save the show back in June. So the problems facing a new show aren’t quite the same as the problems facing Jericho’s second season, and thus there is some concern that this could sink the show’s chances.

And I’m here to tell you that the answer to that concern?

“Eh, not really.”

And here’s why.

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