Friday, March 14, 2008

Fighting the Battle of "Jericho"

As reported here on March 9th, CBS' Jericho is in trouble. Numbers are down -- and this week was no exception -- and fans seem to be girding up for another cancellation. The New York Times had a good article earlier in the week, and as TFN surmised, it doesn't look good for the phoenix-like show, which rose from the ashes only to...fall back down into them, it seems.

Of course, this has nothing to do with the merits of the show, how great it might or might not be -- probably certainly is, in this case -- but it's all about contemporary television. The quick meteoric rise is the trajectory of choice, especially if the vehicle is an expensive and ambitious hour-long drama.

I know CBS could keep this going, but what would they have at the end of it? Does Jericho have the legs to go 50 episodes? And then what do you have? 100 million dollars spent on a broken series? Even I don't like the math of that. How you make that up in the aftermarket? Too bad nobody much does exciting miniseries anymore...perhaps eight hours might have served Jericho's tale better.

And I'm speaking as somebody who isn't a regular viewer, which says something in itself. Normally I'd probably be all over this series -- is there something in amiss in the TV landscape that is keeping vibrant action drama down? Didn't seem to be a problem for Fox and The Sarah Connor it that CBS seems an unlikely place for a show like this? On another network, might this have found an audience? I believe that viewers watch programs not networks, but perhaps that rule isn't always accurate in today's TV world.

I've always loved (and counted on, when I was programming) the support and devotion of rabid fans (and I've been a crazy devotee of countless shows) to get a show noticed, but you've got to have that real life momentum and critical mass, otherwise it's just a cult. And you can't run a business like that, no matter how cruel or idiotic or suit-y it sounds. I'd hate to be CBS right now, probably having to face the Jericho fans with bad news.

Hey, maybe everything will turn out all right! Go, Jericho! You're fighting the good fight!

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