Tag Archives: Save Jericho

TV Real Estate: Searching for a New Home for ‘Jericho’

With news from Jericho’s Executive Producer Carol Barbee that they are working behind the scenes with both CBS and other networks, one has to wonder: what other networks would be in a position to take the show on? And why would they be interested in getting a show like Jericho with a dedicated fan base and a high value? Cultural Learnings investigates.production


Why They Should be Interested: TNT showed a willingness to take on first-run programming earlier this development season when they made a pitch to NBC for Law & Order to move to the network. In the end, NBC chose to keep Law & Order, and kept Criminal Intent in the NBC family, so TNT was left out in the cold.

Concerns: TNT has already moved towards developing more drama series: Saving Grace (Starring Holly Hunter) and Heartland (Starring Treat Williams) both debut this summer, so their development slate is actually fairly full. Plus, for better or for worse, Jericho would be the network’s first foray into non-procedural television. Still, there’s no better place to start than with an already established series that could pull in numbers similar to a well-established syndicated series.


Why They Should Be Interested: Showtime, like HBO, operates on a subscription basis: any show that can bring with a dedicated set of fans is something that they should be interested in. Plus, the cable channel was very interested in Arrested Development, which had even lower ratings (Although that show was perhaps the best comedy of the decade, and (with apologies) I don’t think Jericho has quite as much critical pedigree. Still, it’s a sure-fire way to boost subscriptions.

Concerns: Showtime, like TNT, has been developing a lot of their own shows recently. Weeds, for instance, has made a big splash for the network, and The L Word is buzzworthy. As a result, Jericho doesn’t seem to fit: even Arrested Development was closer to their core audience-base. As much as it’s about expanding that audience, Jericho doesn’t seem like a Showtime type of show. Of course, change can often be a good thing.

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Filed under Jericho, Television, The CW

‘Pirate Master’ Walks the Ratings Plank

Edit for July 24th 

Pirate Master has officially walked the plank for good, as CBS has pulled the show from its lineup and will stream the remaining episodes online each Tuesday. For more info, head to Variety. Or, really, less info, it’s not very informative.

So, Overnight Ratings are in, and Pirate Master was not embraced by viewers. At all. This highly advertised CBS Reality series was supposed to make a big splash, but it wasn’t appointment television for viewers [You can read Cultural Learnings’ full recap for more info]:

In series-premiere news, Survivor-clone Pirate Master on CBS did not fool the audience, with just 7.09 million viewers (#2) and a 2.4 rating/ 8 share among adults 18-49 (#2) from 8-9 p.m. Considering how tired the Survivor franchise is, what sense did it make introducing the same show with a different title this summer? Wouldn’t it have been better resting the format, and filling the hour with a game show? Bad move, CBS.

Now, there’s multiple reasons this probably took place.

1. Competition

The show faced competition from Are You Smarter Than a 5th Grade? and the Scripps National Spelling Bee, along with repeats of My Name is Earl and 30 Rock. A special event, an established reality series, and some solid comedy reruns: that’s a tough-ish draw for the summer.

2. The Jericho-fan led CBS Boycott

I’m not entirely convinced that the Jericho numbers are substantial enough to skew things at this stage, but CBS is certainly having some trouble launching what was supposed to be a sure-fire success. That’s got to count for something, and is definitely a buoy for the campaign. Yes, that’s right, a buoy. A Pirate Buoy.

3. The Mark Burnett Curse

Survivor might be surviving, but with The Apprentice gone and FOX’s On the Lot falling fast, Mark Burnett has gone from reality-tv poster child to washed up failure. Well, not quite, but still: his days as Midas have ended.

4. People were all Pirated-out

With At World’s End tearing up the Box Office over the past week, were people just already too mired in pirate-talk to really embrace such a series?

5. It was boring

While I think the premise has potential, the first episode definitely wasn’t a fast-paced affair. It was more of a “Here’s what could be interesting in the future”, which would turn people away fairly quickly.

Will this signal an end to CBS’ reality dirge? It is unlikely, considering they’re likely to just develop more. Still, for new summer reality series, things are not looking good in the least.


Filed under Jericho, Pirate Master, Ratings, Reality TV, Television

‘Save Jericho’: Considering the Next Step for the Campaign

Fans are sending peanuts. Fans are posting comments on blogs and message boards. Fans are making phone calls, sending post cards, bombarding Nina Tassler and Les Moonves with emails. But the question is: “Where does a movement go from here?” And, some people are offering answers, like Rich at Copywrite, Ink.

And, with no offense intended, I believe his answers to be unrealistic and unachievable for this movement. Right now this movement needs a Stage Two, and what Rich is offering is but an extension of this existing phase.

Rich suggests seven ways for fans to spread their base of support, all of which I feel somewhat miss the mark of what is actually going to make this campaign a success:

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‘Save Jericho’: “Les Moonves at CBS knows about this?”

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.

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‘Save Jericho’: IF Jericho is Renewed, What Timeslot is Best?

After posting my discussion of midseason shows earlier, I hopped over to the CBS Jericho boards in an attempt to figure out where fans of the show would rather be watching it. While there has been no confirmation of its renewal for a second season, a little bit of hypothetical optimism never hurt anyone. I had trouble finding a timeslot for the show in my head that would avoid strong competition and yet not be a complete dead zone, so I figure there’s no better people to refer to than the fans themselves. The following are the different options brought forward in that thread.

Wednesdays at 8pm

Pros: Kid Nation is likely to either end early or quickly, it’s the same as the old timeslot, early enough for families to watch.

Cons: Too early for people in Central Time Zone, competition with American Idol in the Spring, early hour limits producers in discussing and portraying certain issues.

Tuesdays at 10pm

Pros: Cane could possibly be canceled in the timeslot (CBS struggled to establish new dramas in it this year), late hour allows people to watch it live after work, decent lead-in with The Unit.

Cons: Families couldn’t watch it together, competition in Law & Order: Special Victims Unit and Boston Legal, Cane is perhaps CBS’ strongest drama prospect.

Sundays at 8pm

Pros: Viva Laughlin will be a tough sell for the network, it has a 60 Minutes lead-in, early for families.

Cons: The slot isn’t exactly big with young viewers, and it would be hard to crack into in the fall when NFL football airs on NBC. Also, it would have to deal with football overruns, which would make for wonky scheduling (A tough thing for a serial drama to overcome).

Fridays at 9pm

Pros: Moonlight could be axed early with poor performance, CBS is a consistent winner on Fridays with Ghost Whisperer and Numbers, established fanbase will follow show even onto a tough night, 9pm start time is a happy medium for families and other viewers.

Cons: Friday has limited viewership, and a 2nd season would struggle to gain much growth on the night when most are out and about.

There was some talk about Saturday Night (No new programming will air on Saturday Night for as long as we live, more than likely) and Monday (Comedy block is strong counter-programming) but I think the above four are the best options.

So, fans of Jericho, where do you think your show should be scheduled. Or, if you’re not a fan, where do you think a serial drama could find a safe haven on the 2007/2008 Schedule?


Filed under Jericho, Television

The Midseason Contenders: The Shows You Might Be Watching in January

It’s now been two weeks since the glut of Network Upfronts coverage, and I guess you could say I’m a little nostalgic for it. Gone are the days when breaking television news hits every hour, which is really quite unfortunate. However, in recent days there’s been some news about the one thing that networks are always unwilling to talk about: the midseason substitutes.

You see, each network knows that they’re not going to actually be able to hold on to all of their fall dramas and comedies, but publicly they need to talk about how awesome they are and how they’ll run for years and years and years! In reality, they’re quietly organizing possible replacements that could be plugged in by January. While some networks have actually scheduled shows at midseason, there is still the possibility that new pilots or existing shows could be picked up. So, let’s take a gander at all of these possible contenders to see where they might fight in should a space open up.

The Contenders



What is it: 70s-set drama about an apparently quiet suburb that, as new residents discover, is actually a swingin’ sex haven.

Where will it go: It will be scheduled at 10pm somewhere, based on its subject matter. Chances are that it would be a good fit on Sundays, but we’ll see how Shark does in the timeslot. Shark is a show that could easily be moved to fill in for a struggling drama, so it could give up its spot to the new show.

Chances of Midseason Placement: High. CBS is only saving the show until midseason so it can air uninterrupted through to May.


What is it: Post-apocalyptic drama turned town survival drama that garnered a strong enough cult following to result in the Nuts for Jericho campaign of the past few weeks.

Where would it go: I really, really don’t know. This is a tough one: technically, the spot guaranteed to open up (Wednesdays at 8 after Kid Nation ends) could work well, but it’s also going to run right back up against American Idol. Meanwhile, there isn’t a whole lot left in terms of timeslots. If CBS really wants to try to take its cult following with it, they could plug it in on Fridays and hope that people show up. Still, it wouldn’t be easy.

Chances for Midseason Placement: The ‘Save Jericho’ movement is still fighting, and the campaign is gaining steam daily, but the deadline is two weeks before CBS loses the cast to other projects. That’s a short amount of time to convince CBS to make a huge commitment, and a late fall miniseries might be the more likely option at this stage.

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Filed under ABC, FOX, Jericho, Law & Order, Lost, Medium, NBC, One Tree Hill, Reality TV, Sarah Connor Chronicles, Television, The Amazing Race, The CW, Upfronts, Veronica Mars

‘Save Jericho’: The Facebook Movement

As a university student, Facebook basically runs my life; it’s my #1 form of communication with some individuals, and can often become a rather alarming addiction when things slow down. However, it also has a fair amount of clout in terms of its status as the future of internet communication. Unlike MySpace, Facebook has a certain…I dunno, credibility to it. And as a result, it is the perfect medium to help spread the ‘Save Jericho’ message.

There are two groups to note:

First, Dan Eagleton created ‘Bring Back Jericho!’ over the past two weeks as an attempt to bring together fans of the show. Thus far, it has 450 members.

Now, however, Jeffrey Braverman (Of NutsOnline) has created his own group which will likely end up with a higher number of members: ‘Nuts for Jericho’ is yet another opportunity for the campaign to gain a base of support amongst a primarily young audience which represents a key demographic for CBS in this fight.

I think this should be an interesting test of Facebook’s ability to band together around causes. The campaign has thus far been fairly centered in Jericho message boards and blogs which have picked up and run with the story (Like Cultural Learnings). Can it extend into social networking, or will it be unable to make the leap?

Watch the groups, join the groups, and we’ll find out over the next few days.

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‘Save Jericho’: Why Ratings Are Not Jericho’s Friend

While I’ve been turning very quickly onto the positive side of the ‘Save Jericho’ campaign, this doesn’t mean that I have shied away from being critical or certain aspects of it. My criticism is an attempt to keep this campaign grounded, if you will, without losing sight of CBS’ flawed, yet substantiated, standpoint on this issue. It is for this reason that I must object to a recent list being posted as a way of supporting Jericho that I came across this weekend.

“For the first week of May, Jericho had more viewers than the following shows…

Family Guy
American Dad
The Entire NBC Thursday Comedy Lineup
How I Met Your Mother
New Adventures of Old Christine
The Unit
America’s Funniest Home Videos
Notes From the Underbelly
All the Law and Order shows

All these shows renewed, Jericho canceled.”

Now, as some have said, this is a very simple message that could be incredibly powerful…if it were not for the fact that parts of it are outright lies, it all ignores scheduling realities, and fails to recognize that CBS is an inherently different network than the others. It is an over-simplified list that only dilutes and weakens the complexity of the campaign. This campaign is trying to fight against traditional ratings barometers; this list accepts them, and puts key goals of the campaign in jeopardy. With tomorrow’s big New York City rally being planned, I would hate to see this campaign run off the rails with something this simple.

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Filed under Jericho, Ratings, Television

‘Save Jericho’: Considering a ‘Jericho’ Miniseries

The ‘Save Jericho’ campaign has been going for a week and a half. The network is promising to consider fans’ cries for closure, which could mean a multitude of things. In my view, the fan response has been good enough that CBS will not suggest a simple interview with producers to let fans know how it would have ended. Instead, I believe that what CBS will suggest is a 2-hour movie which will complete the series quickly but in a more resolute fashion. Fans, clearly, are adamant that a second season is the only option: that there is no other way they will be satisfied. And this has been their focus: the message to fans is that, much like Jake facing the threat from New Bern, surrender isn’t an option.

What I want to consider here is whether or not a 4-hour miniseries would be surrendering. It has benefits for fans over a two-hour movie, and it has benefits for executives in a shorter shooting schedule. It provides CBS with an opportunity to test this fan support in gauging possible further extension of the franchise without risking it on a season order, while also providing producers more room to work with. I think that asking CBS to cough up a second season of the show is a lot, which is why I think that Jericho fans need to be prepared to compromise, not surrender. And I believe that a two-part miniseries is that compromise, and one that could continue the campaign’s momentum into the fall months.

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‘Save Jericho’: The Cowardice of Traditional Media

So, I’ve written extensively about the ‘Save Jericho’ Campaign, as have a large number of internet sites and blogs. This thing is only a week old, and already it has escalated into an internet phenomenon on the levels that were unfathomable when the show was canceled last week. And, it’s had an impact: CBS executives are apparently meeting this week, although the chances of a season two still seem fairly remote. However, there’s something that needs to be made note of: there has been little to no coverage of the ‘Save Jericho’ campaign in the “traditional” media.

This would be your newspapers. Your television stations. Your major media outlets for entertainment news. These sites? Aren’t quite as willing to jump on the bandwagon. Now, there have been some stories about it in more major news outlets, but there is a distinction that needs to be made.

Those outlets (New York Times, USA Today, Chicago Tribune) are not reporting on the actual content of the Save Jericho campaign, but rather on its status as an internet phenomenon from a group of crazed fans [The New York Times walks a fine line]. They are not covering the ‘Save Jericho’ campaign as something real, something genuine, but rather as some sort of novelty. Now, for the sake of the campaign, this coverage is good. Major papers covering the story is getting press out there, and that’s a great start.

But these major papers are refusing to really pick up this story and run with it: they were unwilling to send media to cover the delivery of peanuts to CBS headquarters, they are tentative to actually talk to the people involved, and on the whole they’re reporting about the story instead of actually reporting the story itself. And when they do it’s brief mentions in their pop culture blogs, not actual articles. And I think there’s a reason for this:

Cowardice. I believe that they are unwilling to engage this campaign as an actual entity because it will be legitimizing the internet as a source of power in media. It will be legitimizing blogs, message boards, and everything else. To cover this campaign in the same way blogs have, these major papers would have to admit that they were scooped, that the same stories bloggers are writing about are worthy of their pages.

And that would change the mass media forever.

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