Fanboy Feud Erupts Over Jericho Revival

by Paul William Tenny

Things are starting to shift on the Jericho front, though not necessarily in a good way. In a story on SyFy Portal, Michael Hinman documents the growing dissension and acrimony in the ranks of Jericho fans, particularly those that took part in the shows resurrection after being canceled earlier in the year. The point of contention now seems to be who gets to take credit for bringing the show back with a reduced budget and a heavily shortened episode order.

Me, I'm wondering if there is anything worth fighting over right now. A new run of seven episodes is fairly weak and noncommittal on the part of CBS and is more likely a backup plan for replacing one of its inevitable failed fall shows such as Kid Nation, and Jericho could easily end up back on the chopping block if the people who were celebrating a month ago keep fighting over who brought it back instead of continuing the work by going out and helping to find new viewers to bring the ratings up above where they before.
Like Hinman, I didn't participate in the attempt to get Jericho back on the air once it had been canceled because the odds of that happening are so far off that it's just not worth the effort. The fact that CBS is trying this experiment isn't a lesson in persistence so much as it is a sign that pundits like us ought to be keeping a watchful eye on CBS to see what their real plan here might be.

If they were truly behind the show, they wouldn't have canceled it in the first place. If executives thought perhaps they had made an honest mistake, they wouldn't have ordered seven episodes and held them in the can until it was convenient to pull them out. That's why my "plug the hole" theory seems most likely, especially with the possibility of a strike becoming more and more likely by the day.

With all the new episodes having finished production, CBS can pull it out at any point to plug gaps in their schedule that the strike would eventually create. It isn't such a bad idea from that perspective, and when you consider the smaller budget, it's clear that the network is hedging its bets here.

Beyond these considerations - and I've tried fruitlessly to explain this to other Jericho fans - they have mostly gone idle, content in having brought the show back for a few more episodes, while the overwhelming majority haven't lifted a finger post-haste to bring in the newer, larger audience that CBS is demanding to keep going.

There is more on Sy Fy Portal (the link near the top of this story) about what is going on, so venture over there if you're interested. All fans must understand this single point if they glaze over everything else from now until the first new episode debuts: even if every person who watched the first season finale comes back, that audience will still need to grow by about 20-30% just to keep CBS executives from puking - and I'm not talking about disgust, but the horror of having wasted the money because that is all that matters. If you were a part of the original campaign and haven't secured somewhere in the range of 5-15 new viewers, this whole thing will coming crashing down in a hurry.

Don't believe me? The odds of this show getting new episodes has be somewhere in the .001% range (that's 1 in 1000 which is probably overly optimistic). What do you think the odds are without a significant increase in the ratings?
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