'Jericho' fan campaign seems successful

The Baltimore Sun

Sometimes going a little nutty is a good thing.

For weeks, Jericho junkies have been firing e-mails (effectively shutting down inboxes at CBS), signing petitions and sending bags of nuts to CBS headquarters in protest.

The assault seems to have worked, Jericho creator and executive producer Carol Barbee said this week. CBS executives are in discussions with the show's producers and actors to resuscitate the show -- killed just last month -- for an eight-episode run in midseason.

"The idea would not be to bring it for eight and out but to bring it back for eight with the hope that it would keep going," Barbee said. "They're making deals with the actors, and there's other logistical stuff to work out, too. Swingtown [a new drama] was supposed to take over the same stages, so it's a lot about the logistics of how to work out a schedule that works for all of us."

Barbee said the fan fever for the show did not surprise her -- she had been keeping a close eye on the show's viewers through the Web. But she never expected CBS to change its mind.

"I was so kicked in the gut when we were canceled," she said. "I was really upset and angry and mourning over this amazing experience we had this year and ... this show we were all so proud of. I didn't see the end coming."

When the fan fight to save the show would not let up, CBS began talks with producers about a two-hour movie that would wrap up the show, but the writers were not interested, Barbee said. (CBS declined to comment for this article.)

"We just felt like that was doing it short shrift, and it's too big of a story to wrap up in a two-hour movie," Barbee said. "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. I think they have to understand that the Nielsens are not telling the story anymore, and that the 18-to-49 demographic they're all so keen on is online and that's how increasingly they are getting their news and entertainment."

Maria Elena Fernandez writes for the Los Angeles Times.

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