Yesterday as I was glancing at my electronic version of Variety, I came across this clever little ad from the Jericho fans who are trying to save their show. Boy, does this bring back memories of our own campaign to save The Invisible Man.
Besides the ad in the electronic version, the fans also purchased a full-page ad in Daily Variety and The Hollywood Reporter. They spent over $11,000 on these ads. What makes this a bit sad is that this is the second time that Jericho fans are fighting to save their show. Their first campaign involved sending over 40,000 pounds of peanuts to CBS. To their credit, CBS listened and brought back the show. In an open letter to the fans, CBS Entertainment President Nina Tassler wrote:
“You got our attention; your emails and collective voice have been heard,” Tassler wrote, and seven episodes have been ordered for midseason 2007-08. “In success, there is the potential for more. But, for there to be more `Jericho,’ we will need more viewers.” Fans must do their part to rally interest while the network does its job, she said.
This is the point where most fan campaigns tend to falter. The fans are tired from campaigning and overjoyed that they got their show back, but they fail to realize that now the real work has to begin. Nina was right. (And this applies to any in-danger show, not just Jericho.) In order for the show to survive, it needs more viewers. The fans have to aggressively market the show…and this is much, much harder. While before they were targeting only a few specific entertainment executives, suddenly their target becomes much wider and, thus, much more of a challenge. Fans have to start thinking like marketers and publicists.
I remember in the days of our own campaign when Farscape was first cancelled. We had gone to their bboards months before their show was cancelled and had warned them that what happened to I-Man could very well happen to them. We didn’t do it to be malicious, not at all, but to make them aware that they should start working to get their show’s ratings up. Boy, let me tell you, if you ever want to get a bunch of fans angry at you, go to their bboards and tell them their show might be cancelled. Yeah, that works real well. As you can imagine, nobody listened to us. Farscape was the number one show on Sci Fi at the time and they didn’t think it would happen to them. But, hey, I-Man was the number two show on the same network and the only TV show that was growing in syndication at the time it was cancelled. So cancellation can happen even to a show that appears to be in a good position.
I’m not telling this story to put down Farscape fans…no, just the opposite. When their show was cancelled we had Farscape fans coming to us asking for our advice. What did we tell them? To go market the show. And market they did. They put on one of the most aggressive and sophisticated fan campaigns I have ever seen. Because of their efforts they were able to get a mini-series and now they have a webisode series too. My hat off to them.
So what’s the point that I’m trying to make here? Well, if you’re the type of fan that loves a show enough that you would spend your resources campaigning for it if it were cancelled, then, my advice is to promote and market it before it gets cancelled. It’s much easier to support your favorite show now while it’s still on the air than to wait until it gets cancelled.
Now, if you’re one of the fortunate few who has had your favorite show cancelled but brought back due to your campaign efforts, then be prepared to work even harder. As I mentioned above, your target has now become even wider and that’s going to make your mission considerably more challenging. You need to get more eyeballs and you need to get those ratings up.
If the ratings don’t go up, then you’re going to find yourself in the difficult position that the Jericho fans currently find themselves in…campaigning to network executives yet again to try to save their show.
I wish the Jericho fans all the best with their efforts. I like Jericho. I think it’s a smart, well-written show with an interesting premise and I would like to see it continue. As someone who has “been there and done that” with regard to fan campaigns, I can totally sympathize with their plight and efforts. But as someone who is making the journey from fan to entertainment professional, I won’t be joining their campaign. I love quality entertainment and I think my efforts to bring quality entertainment to audiences are better served from within the industry…starting with our own I-Man cast, of course.
But if you love Jericho and the spirit moves you to want to help out their campaign, by all means go over to http://bringjerichoback.com and give them a hand. I’m sure they will appreciate it.
CBS is GAY! and wouldn’t know how to make the right business decision if life depended on it. There are no tv shows currently being aired on any network that have the balls to remind us what inspiration and creativity is all about. JERICHO is the only show that brought those special features to the dinner table and somebody out there doesn’t like it. I hope they rott in hell.
Thanks for writing this and for sharing your insights!
Thank you so much for this article about the campaign to save Jericho! We fans will continue to work to bring it back. Online viewings and DVD sales remain strong, indicating there is more to the story than CBS is willing to admit.
I can promise that Jericho fans have never stopped marketing the show…and we continue! However, there’s only so much fans can do about an eight-month hiatus between Jericho’s first cancellation and the show’s return, a too-little, too-late marketing and promotional push for the show by the network, and a problematic time slot. However, fans worked with what they were given to work with, despite those obstacles.
Now that CBS has canceled Jericho a second time, it has yet to place a show in its fatal Tuesday 10 p.m. time slot that has garnered higher ratings than Jericho. That tells me that placing the onus of saving the show too heavily on the backs of fans is a little misguided.
Thank you SO much for writing about our effort to find Jericho a new home. It’s starting to feel like we are running up hill but with the help from wonderful bloggers like yourself and with the motivation and support we give each other that hill becomes very short. So again, thank you for taking the time to write about us. We all appreciate it very much!
Sabina – Jericho Ranger from Sweden
Thanks for the write up, This show is worth saving and we have only just started to fight, Thank you again for your help.
Thank you very much for writing about our latest efforts to have Jericho find a home. The only thing that I disagree about in your article is where you mentioned that it is the fandom’s job to be entirely responsible for promotion and getting ratings up. CBS has far more money for promotion than any fandom ever will. The nuts campaign gave CBS an excellent marketing opportunity which, for whatever reason, was not acted upon. When it comes to ratings, what we found out pretty quickly was it didn’t matter how many people you told about Jericho, if you were not a Nielson family, YOU VIEWING HABITS DON”T COUNT. We found that we were fighting a system in which there is no rhyme or reason and that doomed our “promotion” efforts as far as ratings go. However, I don’t think that we necessary failed either. If we had, there would not be the outcry that was heard after Season 2 was cancelled. We would not be fighting still. And we won’t quit fighting until we succeed. I truly believe that we have come to a point were the public is willing to fight for quality TV. Hopefully you blog article will help get us the publicity we need! Again, thank you for writing on our efforts.
Thanks for the article. We have always done our best to market Jericho. Unfortunately CBS failed to take advantage of the promotion we gave them last year and waited almost a year to bring out the new episodes. Then there’s the Nielson issue, and the online viewing issue, and the iTunes download issue, and on and on.
Thanks for the article and highlighting our cause!
The real problem has not been the fans and our efforts to support Jericho, but the antiquated Nielsen ratings system, which is barely a 1% sampling. This is hardly indicative of true viewership. It also fails to take into account the numerous alternative viewers… those that download from i-tunes, use a DVR, etc., for watching. This inaccuracy from Nielsen is becoming an increasingly prominent issue as technology advances and viewing options change. Jericho just happens to be one of those shows with a tech savvy following that is at the forefront of this media revolution. While networks like NBC are starting to catch on to this changing market, (ie: the new deal for Friday Night Lights) CBS is still way behind the times. We fans of Jericho are a devoted lot and will continue to press for options for more seasons with a network that understands this new evolution in entertainment.
Thank you very much for bringing attention to the campaign to save the best show to grace the CBS network in ages. Hopefully more people will begin to stand up and express their passion for thought provoking series television.
It faltered in viewing in the second season because CBS put the show on at 10pm Tuesdays. The first season it aired at 8pm, which is a great timeslot for a family show. Curious how the Secret Talent of the Stars only lasted one episode in that same timeslot of 10pm Tuesdays after it replaced Jericho. And in 7 episodes Jericho managed to keep 5 million viewer plus. Maybe the fans of Jericho enjoy real shows not mindless reality that the networks are sloping onto us.
Thank-you for the article. The Jericho story, as well as the writers, cast, crew and fans are all worth fighting for. Jericho is about the good (and bad) in people in a worse case scenario. It is about people joining together to protect and stand up for what they believe in. The Jericho family is also about protecting what they value and standing up for what they believe is right. Thanks again!
I truly appreciate your write up of Jericho. The fan are there and here now. TV needs to get rid of the reality monster and bring back quality television to the viewer’s. It is a shame that the networks are listening to Neilson instead of their viewers. Neilson doesn’t give the networks a true viewer count, they take a sample and then calculate what they feel is a true count. If the networks listened to the viewers, then quality TV shows like Jericho, would still be on the air and earning them lots of commerical dollars.
It seems to me that CBS really didn’t care if Jericho survived or not. CBS should have taken advantage of the amazing campaign started by Jericho’s fans and pushed the promotion of THEIR show to the next level. Instead, they rarely advertised Jericho and then placed in the worst timeslot available for primetime. Jericho was never a “favorite child” of CBS and never seemed to get the attention it deserved. I didn’t start watching Jericho until season 2, but I think that if I had heard about the Nuts for Jericho campaign I would have been curious enough to check it all out. And once you’ve seen an episode of Jericho, you’re hooked.
Thanks so much for writing about “Jericho”! It is nice to know our efforts to bring it back are noticed.
I would say that the responsibility for marketing and promotion lies with the network paying to air the show, though. Fans do what they can … and do Jericho fans ever do that! But our time and budgets are limited. I give CBS a bunch of credit for 1) Bringing Jericho to us in the first place; 2) Bringing it back for Season 2, albeit abbreviated: and 3) Keeping the CBS website for Jericho up. However, it still CBS job to put a show in the best suited time slot for it to succeed and promote it and I think it clearly failed in those areas.
Thanks again for bringing Jericho to readers’ attention.
Thank you for bringing Jericho to people’s attention. I must say, though, that the fans did bring more viewers to Jericho, just as CBS had asked. Many of us recruited family members, friends, co-workers, acquaintances, etc., but the problem was these people were not reflected in the ratings. Many more people discovered the show when the first season re-aired on Sci-Fi and Universal HD, but these people apparently were also not counted. For CBS to say that fans did not do their job by bringing in more viewers is wrong. We did bring in more viewers, it’s just that none of those viewers had a Nielsen box, so they weren’t reflected in the ratings.
For one I think that Nielsen is wrong but two is that a lot of families I knew that watched it Wednesday night were not allowed to have this as a family show. Also the biggest complaint I heard from the new people i brought to the show from the summer said the time. Most of these work 60 hours a week and have a lot of 12 hour days. Starting and ending at 7:00. Personlly for myself THIS WAS THE ONLY PROGRAM THAT I WATCHED FROM ANY OF THE ORIGINAL 3 NETWORKS. Last time I watched anything from the Networks was 1992. The reason they are loosing viewers is that they are alienating them. Nielsen is out dated for 2008 it was fine in 1968.
Please allow me to begin by Thanking You and all Entertainment Reporters alike who have written and/or reported on our efforts to Save JERICHO.
We fans did exactly what CBS wanted of us….to promote the show….reruit new viewers…push the show! I can speak, not only for myself, but for my Fellow Rangers Nationwide, no, Worldwide, that we all recruited viewers, family , friends and co-workers alike. We did more of a publicity push for JERICHO than CBS ever attempted to do.
Self-Admitedly, a CBS Executive commented that JERICHO’s 2nd Season 10 pm Tuesday nite slot is a show killer, stating that in the history of this 10 pm time slot, they have not had a time slot winner. Therefore, why put JERICHO in that time slot, was it perhaps because CBS set us up to fail again? To get rid of the show?
Also, why use the antiquated Nielson ratings as a basis for the size of the fandom? Guartanteed, most fans watching JERICHO are not Nielson families, so why would CBS tell fans that are not counted in their viewership to recruit new fans, whos viewership would also not count? Newsflash for CBS: Nielson families are not the only people watching TV.
Therefore, we fans have all committed to doing whatever it takes, going the distance to save our show. We will not be silenced! We are a loyal group to be reckoned with. Any TV station whether it be Network TV or cable stations, would benefit from having us every week on their channel.
Thanks again for the article and for making it possible for us fans to voice our opinion!
Semper Fi fellow Rangers!
Thank you so much for writting about Jericho. I beleive this is the best show ever put on tv. It has everything that a show needs to run for years. The fans of Jericho will be here fighting for our amazing season 3. I truley beleive we as a fan base have done everything we’ve been ask and someone somewhere just didn’t see the numbers. It is such a messed up out dated system at that. Thank you again for taking time to reach out to Jericho fans and beyond.
Jericho had its second chance and blew it. Time to bury the rotting corpse. I cant believe how they screwed up Season 2. They totally changed the series from a small town family oriented show that appealed to conservatives and turned it into some kind of thing resembling Farenheit 911 by Michael Moore. Shame on you Jericho writers. Jericho devolved into a steaming pile of crap that attempted to turn Kansas into Iraq.. As far as Im concerned Jericho died when Johnston Green took a bullet. I knew the show would be in trouble when the only major conservative actor, the great Gerald McRaney was killed off. I want my nuts back!
Thanks for the timely article. I’m a big fan of the CBS series (and People’s Choice Award-winning) Moonlight, and I remember the lessons we learned from I-Man and, more recently, Jericho. CBS has not cancelled Moonlight, but they haven’t renewed it yet, either. We are already well into fighting for our show, and, as you said, the most important thing is the ratings. True, few people are in a Nielsen home, but that is why we are asking all viewers who watch to write CBS NOW and let them know they are watching.
With luck, the lessons learned from other campaigns will not fall on deaf ears.
Thing is, we did promote the show and did get a lot more viewers. Problem was at ten on a Tuesday in CBS’s “death” spot a lot of them didn’t watch it on tv. Either they watched with tivo or dvr or online. A lot of people go to bed early.
And when you factor in the way all science fiction/what if shows get the short straw from neilson based on their selection methods, even that isn’t accurate.
Quality drama needs to be valued by the networks. Unfortunately they seem to be more interested in game shows and increasingly bizare reality shows. It would be sad if that was all there was left of the networks when the revolution is over.
Thanks for your insight. I can personally tell you as many other Rangers have that we, the fans, did more promoting then CBS did. The 10pm timeslot killed us. We are a working class of people. About 50% give or take a few, had to watch online, even CBS admitted Jericho was the most watch online show they had. We were also in the top 10 of downloads for itunes and amazon. We all believe CBS just put Jericho up to fail. Hopefully another network will want us and promote us.
Thank you for the great article, and the attention you gave to Jericho. As a fan that never stopped talking about the show, I think we did all we could. Until the networks more accurately count the TRUE number of viewers, great shows like Jericho will fall by the wayside. Hopefully this new campaign to get Jericho back on the air, will shed some light on the outdated Nielsen system.Hopefully this time the networks will actually listen to the fans and count us all.
Then I suppose it is easy to forget abt. a television show like Jericho.
So many people are sheep who want to burry their head in the sand and pretend that real life can’t touch them in a very unpleasant way. This is why I think Jericho has struggled from its very inception. People are sheep. we want to be entertained and not think abt the reality of life. We entertain ourseves with trivial “reality” television shows that are anything but real. We ignore a show like Jericho that puts a post 9-11 world into perspective in a very personal way.
Jericho brings the ideas and issues of our founding fathers into a very contemporay context. It reaches out to a post 9-11 world in a very personal way that shows us the very best and worst of our nature. But if you pretend 9-11 never happened then it is easy to let this show go away also.
Wow! Lots of passionate Jericho fans. Let me address some of the comments that were made.
I never said that it was “the fandom’s job to be entirely responsible for promotion and getting ratings up.” No, I think networks do have the primary responsibility to promote their shows. In a perfect world networks would put every show in a great time slot and give them a ton of promotion. But, as you know, we don’t live in that type of world, and the reality is that networks often make decisions about shows that leave fans scratching their heads. Unfortunately, fans have very limited influence on most of these types of decisions, which is why I didn’t go into issues about Nielson ratings, time slots, network promotion, etc. Believe me, as a former campaigner myself, I am all too aware of the obstacles that can be thrown in your path by the networks when you are trying to get your favorite show back on the air. I know how frustrating they can be.
Because of this, my post was focused on what fans can do to support or save their shows, and not at the shortcomings of networks and the ratings system. Look at the obstacles that you need to overcome and try to figure a way around them. For instance, if the network is taking too long to get new episodes up and are thus losing the publicity momentum that came with the renewal news, use all that time to formulate plans on how you’re going promote and publicize the show when it does come back on the air. I’m betting that’s probably what you did. I don’t know. I’m not familiar enough with your campaign.
Another thing…fans may not have the money that the networks have to put into marketing, but what you do have is numbers. You guys are a far larger marketing team than any network’s marketing department. Use that to your advantage.
I don’t want to give you the impression that I’m judging you and thinking that you didn’t do enough. Like I said, I’m simply not that familiar with your campaign to know one way or another. Obviously, you did do enough the first time because you did get your show back. Bravo to you!
But sometimes no matter how hard you try, the obstacles can be insurmountable. Here’s hoping that Jericho beats the odds and goes on to live on another network.
Thanks for the writeup. We did try but that timeslot has been bad for anything CBS tries to put there and CBS knows it. It has been their death slot for several seasons now. It killed Talent of the Stars after only one episode. Shark was just put there for 1 maybe 2 episodes and has already been moved. More so, CBS put it there mid-season and with only 7 episodes. Unless you were keeping up with the CBS it was gone before it hardly got started. Hopefully CBS Parmount will sell it to another network that will get Jericho a chance.
You can recruit all the fans that you want to, but unless they have one of those magical Nielsen boxes, you don’t count. CBS didn’t want Jericho to succeed. They didn’t even show the whole 1st season leading up to the season 2 premiere. Instead, they showed selected episodes during the summer and waited 3 months (and half-way through the writer’s strike) to bring the show back. Then they put the show in one of the worst imaginable time slots, and expected ratings to improve. Congress and the FCC need to examine Nielsen Media Research, and investigate the possibility of corporate collusion with the major television networks to manipulate the numbers for or against certain programming. Nielsen’s sample is not representative, nor does it provide even enough information to indicate a real trend. How can 9,000 people be a representative sample of 113,000,000 households? CBS also lied to Jericho fans last year, saying that the “online and time-shited (DVR) numbers” were going to be figured into their decision for further seasons. They admitted that the online and other numbers were overwhelming–even suggesting that there were as many people watching online as on the tube. People need to stand up and stop supporting mindless reality drivel, and demand that ratings are done fairly, and account for a much larger population sample.
hehehe… Joe Blow up there is obviously a.k.a. Soylent3, our resident fan-turned-troll on the CBS boards. There are so, so many things I’d love to say about him “getting his nuts back,” but I think that about sums it up. He’s already emasculated himself.
I think we DID try everything we knew to do. Nina Tassler said CBS wanting more viewers and we tried to get more people to watch. But the only ones who counted were the ones with Nielsen boxes and frankly, I have never know anyone with a Nielsen box.
So we used the Internet. We commented on every article printed and went to DIGG. We asked all of our friends to ask all of their friends to watch JERICHO. I guess none of them had a Nielsen box either.
The trouble does not fall on us. The trouble falls on Nielsen and CBS’s poor time slot for JERICHO.
But since no one wants to do anything about Nielsen, I guess we could lose one of the best shows that has ever been on TV.
NUTS to them!!!
BTW, if you have any ideas for us now, we would LOVE to hear them!!
Thanks for the mention of our terrific show! Glad to see Jericho and it’s fans still have some peoples attention!
I remember during the Farscape campaign we did some stuff where we made tapes (or DVDs now, I guess), and mailed them to people to watch. I think that if you guys did something like that, it would maybe help, because then you wouldn’t be limited to people that are in the vicinity of you with the tapes/dvds.
I haven’t seen a whole lot of Jericho, but if I get the chance, I’ll watch it for you guys!
Thanks for writing about Jericho – well written article.
I would like to respectfully disagree though 🙂
I feel the Jericho fans did market their show as best they could – the real failure IMHO was on CBS. Where were the cast interviews on major talk shows, cast appearances, where was the merchandising, etc… (not to mention the long hiatus that virtually killed it in the first place as well as a poorly marketed and shortened Summer rerun and again a long wait for the new season)
I look at it from the standpoint that CBS had resources available to them to market the show – and did not.