Jericho

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In our second post reviewing the world of TV in 2008, we reveal the Top 5 shows which ended this year:

  1. Boston Legal
  2. Jericho
  3. Agenda
  4. Men In Trees
  5. Eli Stone

Boston Legal: 5 seasons, 101 episodes and it’s a sad farewell to Denny Crane.  The LA Times said: “it has tried to address adult topics in full paragraphs in the only way possible given television’s current devotion to immaturity and outrageousness — with characters so odd they defied gravity. (With his tie-flipping, teeth-grinding, jaw-adjusting, arm-waving and sudden piercing stares, Spader’s Alan was so tic-driven he often seemed in danger of bursting through not just the fourth wall, but the entire set.)”.

Jericho: Not even 20 tonnes of nuts sent by fans to CBS and the largest online protest could stop the show from eventually being cancelled.  The fans did get 29 episodes in total and some closure.

Agenda: Being highly respected by journalists, quoted in Parliament and used to generate countless news stories didn’t count enough in the end, it was all about the low ratings early Saturday morning. The show celebrated 100 episodes early last year.

Men in Trees: The sweet sappy light hearted show lasted 36 episodes, with 5 screening for the first time in New Zealand.  The press seemed more interested in Anne Heche’s off-screen relationship sagas, leaving her husband for her co-star and on-screen love interest James Tupper.

Eli Stone: Barely given a chance on TV2, this delightfully warm, quirky and lovable show lasted a mere 26 episodes.  Notable guest appearances came from George Michael and Katie Holmes.

See also: Top 3 New NZ TV Shows in 2008

CBS released the following statement:

“The March 25th episode of Jericho will be the series finale. Without question, there are passionate viewers watching this program; we simply wish there were more. We thank an engaged and spirited fan base for keeping the show alive this long, and an outstanding team of producers, cast and crew that went through creative hoops to deliver a compelling, high quality second season. We have no regrets bringing the show back for a second try. We listened to our viewers, gave the series an opportunity to grow, and the producers put a great story on the screen. We’re proud of everyone’s efforts.”

Producers filmed two endings for the finale – a cliffhanger and a more conclusive ending, the latter of which will be used as the result of CBS’s decision.

SERIES FINAL

JERICHO

The residents of Jericho are under attack in the two-hour final

Sunday, July 1st at 9:30pm

New Bern unleashes their mortars down on Jericho in the action packed two-hour series final, screening Sunday, July 1st at 9:30pm.

When Jericho’s mayor, Gray Anderson (Michael Gaston), receives a transmission from New Bern’s acting city manager and sheriff, demanding that Jericho turn over several farms and a significant share of its salt mine to New Bern or face an invasion, Anderson refuses.

New Bern fires two mortars on Jericho, and threatens to unleash even more mortars on Jericho every hour, until their demands are met.

After a failed attack on New Bern, the residents of Jericho shelter themselves away under more mortar attacks.

Chaos ensues throughout Jericho in the face of the threat of violence by New Bern. Several members of the community wish to avoid violence and wish to turn their farms over to New Bern.

As the show reaches a chilling climax, the main theme which has run throughout the entire series comes to the forefront.

“It ultimately becomes how do ordinary people handle a situation that is beyond our realm of understanding? Who do we become and what do we fight for and what is it that we are interested in and drawn to,” says Ulrich who plays Jake Green.

Jake and his team decide to fight, and conjure up a group of soldiers, including a bunch of refugees who are promised a portion of the farm each.

Do they have the man power to take down New Bern, and is there an even bigger enemy at large?

Find out in the exciting, action-packed series final of Jericho, screening Sunday, July 1st at 9:30pm.

For more information visit: tv3.co.nz/jericho

Devoted fans rescue series with online revolt
By JOSEF ADALIAN”Jericho” might not be nuked after all.
Hoping to take advantage of a devoted fan based — and the new multiplatform era — CBS is readying a plan to bring back the drama sometime next season. Net will likely order seven or eight episodes for broadcast.

Eye killed “Jericho” last month, leaving the show off its fall schedule and declaring it dead (Daily Variety, May 16). Normally, that would’ve been the end of things.

But fans of the show revolted, launching a massive online-based campaign to save the show. Their gimmick: Deluging the Eye’s Gotham and L.A. HQ with bags of… nuts. Nearly 20 tons, at last count, according to a Web site tracking electronic orders for the nuts. Protesters even found the cell phone number of a CBS exec, flooding him with calls and forcing him to change his number.

Such protests are hardly unprecedented, going all the way back to the failed online-based campaign to save ABC’s beloved “My So-Called Life.”

But meat-and-potatoes CBS execs aren’t used to such attention. Despite its status as TV’s most-watched web, its sked isn’t heavy with buzz-friendly skeins (reality staples such as “Survivor” and “Big Brother” notwithstanding).

CBS execs are no doubt hoping to take advantage of all the buzz surrounding the show’s demise — and likely revival — to help further reshape the net’s image away from the McGeezer web. Net’s just greenlit several new fall shows with very un-CBS themes (vampires, musicals, etc.), and saving “Jericho” fits right into that media gameplan.

What’s more, CBS no longer has to depend solely on primetime broadcast plays for its revenue. Between DVR playback (“Jericho” added nearly 10% more viewers when DVR figures were counted) and the now broadly accepted practice of streaming shows across the Net, CBS could try to make “Jericho” the poster child for a new business model.

Eye’s new CBS Audience Network, for example, distributes full-length episodes (and clips) to partners across the Net, from AOL to Veoh. It’s easy to see episodes of “Jericho” — perhaps with bonus footage? — serving as a key draw for CAN.

CBS wasn’t talking Tuesday, but industry insiders said final details with cast could be worked out by Wednesday or Thursday. “Jericho” showrunner Carol Barbee, who’s taken a similar role on the Eye’s midseason “Swingtown,” would likely work on both shows.

Barbee did not respond to an interview request, but told LATimes.com that a deal repped the dawning of a new paradigm for networks.

“I really think that what has been learned here is that networks are going to have to look at numbers and who is watching their show and who is downloading their show in a different way from here on out,” Barbee said. “I think they have to understand that the Nielsens are not telling the story anymore and that the 18-49 demographic they’re all so keen on is online and that’s how increasingly they are getting their news and entertainment.”

Good news for Jericho fans!!

To the Fans of Jericho:

Wow!

Over the past few weeks you have put forth an impressive and probably unprecedented display of passion in support of a prime time television series. You got our attention; your emails and collective voice have been heard.

As a result, CBS has ordered seven episodes of “Jericho” for mid-season next year. In success, there is the potential for more. But, for there to be more “Jericho,” we will need more viewers.

A loyal and passionate community has clearly formed around the show. But that community needs to grow. It needs to grow on the CBS Television Network, as well as on the many digital platforms where we make the show available.

We will count on you to rally around the show, to recruit new viewers with the same grass-roots energy, intensity and volume you have displayed in recent weeks.

At this time, I cannot tell you the specific date or time period that “Jericho” will return to our schedule. However, in the interim, we are working on several initiatives to help introduce the show to new audiences. This includes re-broadcasting “Jericho” on CBS this summer, streaming episodes and clips from these episodes across the CBS Audience Network (online), releasing the first season DVD on September 25 and continuing the story of Jericho in the digital world until the new episodes return. We will let you know specifics when we have them so you can pass them on.

On behalf of everyone at CBS, thank you for expressing your support of “Jericho” in such an extraordinary manner. Your protest was creative, sustained and very thoughtful and respectful in tone. You made a difference.

Sincerely,

Nina Tassler

President, CBS Entertainment

P.S. Please stop sending us nuts J

Midday update

Maureen Ryan
MCT News Service

Jericho, Kan., is the post-apocalyptic town that won’t die. Or rather, “Jericho,” the show based on the post-blast life of that rural town, won’t be killed – not if fans have anything to say about it.

CBS announced last week that the network was wrapping up the show after only one season. As was the case with many other dramas this season, a lengthy hiatus in the middle of the season drove away viewers, and “Jericho,” an unlikely success in the first place, never quite regained the audience that it had during the fall. But viewers reacted with swift fury, and said “Nuts!” to CBS (echoing a line from the show’s rousing season finale, which saw the residents of the town making a last stand against an armed attack from a nearby settlement).

Viewers inundated CBS with outraged e-mails and message-board comments calling for a second season of the show, and the network’s president, Nina Tassler, was compelled to post a message on a fan forum a few days ago.

“We have read your e-mails over the past few days and have been touched by the depth and passion with which you have expressed your disappointment,” Tassler wrote. “Please know that canceling a television series is a very difficult decision. … Thank you for supporting ‘Jericho’ with such passion. We truly appreciate the commitment you made to the series and we are humbled by your disappointment. In the coming weeks, we hope to develop a way to provide closure to the compelling drama that was the Jericho story.”

It sounds as though Tassler’s talking about a possible wrap-up TV movie (something “Deadwood” fans will have to be content with – if and when those wrap-up movies air, which may be up to two years after the show’s third season ended), but some fans have made it clear that that won’t be good enough.

“While it is very flattering that Ms. Tassler went out of her way to post a message for us online, I have to say on behalf of each and every ‘Jericho’ fan that not one of us will settle for anything less than season two, CBS or no CBS, and if they think our recent campaigning has been bad, it’s only going to get worse,” one fan, Melanie, wrote in an e-mail to me on Monday.

Could “Jericho” move to another network? Hard to say. Network dramas are far more expensive than cable dramas, which would make any cable network very wary of picking up the show (even TNT, which would be a good fit – fans have been pressuring that network to pick up “Jericho”). Still, even after it began getting clobbered by “American Idol” this year, “Jericho” had a respectable audience of 8 million viewers – a segment of which has proven itself to be very devoted (one fan petition already has more than 60,000 signatures).

If you’re upset that Jericho has been cancelled, the send some nuts.

From Sideswipe:

US FANS of post-apocalyptic series Jericho, which screens here on TV3, have gone a little nuts over CBS network’s decision to can the show at the end of season one, without resolving the cliffhanger. Adding to the huge number of written complaints, nut retailer NutsOnline has started a “Nuts to You, CBS” campaign, encouraging fans to send quantities of nuts to CBS in protest. Yesterday at midday outraged fans had ordered nearly 5000kg of nuts, making NutsOnline more than US$14,000 ($19,225). And it looks like the prank has worked. On the Jericho fan message boards, this from Nina Tassler, president of CBS Entertainment: “We truly appreciate the commitment you made to the series and we are humbled by your disappointment. In the coming weeks, we hope to develop a way to provide closure in the compelling drama that was the Jericho story.”

CBS has/is pulling the plug on Jericho. I am still not over them doing this to Invasion and now they do it again. We of course still have episodes to watch but from what I hear ( while trying to stay spoiler free) from friends in the States the show just sort of ends. No resolutions, no tidy end,no real answers. I wonder if I should even bother watching the show anymore, who am I kidding I know I will but dang not AGAIN with the cancellation of series I enjoy.

Will this small town survive, and if so, how?

Sunday, February 11th at 9:30pm

What would happen if the inhabitants of a small town found themselves the subjects of a major catastrophe, with no clue as to whether they were being attacked, or it was a freak accident, and with no contact with the outside world? The people of Jericho find themselves in that situation when this, literally, explosive new drama premieres on Sunday, February 11th at 9:30pm on 3.

Starring Skeet Ulrich (Scream) and Gerald McRaney (Major Dad), Jericho is a small, peaceful American town which gets turned upside down and must learn how to fight for survival, and to rebuild itself. As lead Ulrich says, the show doesn’t really fit into one type of genre.

“It’s not a Sci Fi show. It’s more of a character driven drama, but I can’t really stick it in any kind of specific genre,” Ulrich, who plays Jake Green, told IF Magazine. “I could say survival drama.”

Ulrich remains adamant that the show is less about the catastrophe and more about the people who are affected by it, stating, “I think it ultimately becomes how do ordinary people handle a situation that is beyond our realm of understanding?… Who do we become and what do we fight for and what is it that we are interested in and drawn to. Really the demise of, I won’t say civilisation, but a town and how that microcosm really rebuilds itself and what do they start with.”

Ulrich’s character Green, the lead, is a mysterious person, who has returned home to Jericho after being away for some time. Although many are happy to see him, some seem less enthused with the way he packed up and left, although the viewers are not really told why. Ulrich, who knows more about his character than he can let on, is even in the dark about how much the viewers will find out about Green.

“I’ve been told the whole back story, but as to how they are going to reveal it, I don’t know how that’s going to play out. We went over and over about what it was going to be and there were things to hold.”

Although Ulrich won’t give away too much information about where the series is going, he will divulge that he has complete faith in the show, and is in awe of the work of his colleagues.

“I tell you what, I thought when I first saw the pilot how amazing this was. I didn’t have that many scenes in the pilot with Gerald [McRaney], but the work he did was just amazing. Not just him, everybody was so unbelievable in the pilot I was just blown away.”

See for yourself if Ulrich is right when Jericho premieres on Sunday, February 11th at 9:30pm on 3.