Monday, March 24, 2008

Jericho cancelled, again

CBS has again cancelled one of my favorite shows, Jericho. It was first cancelled at the end of its first season, in mid-2007, due to low ratings. After the "nuts" campaign, in which tens of thousands of peanuts were delivered to CBS stations in protest, CBS relented and announced they'd bring back a shortened 7-episode season. But these episodes haven't met with high ratings, and so CBS has cancelled the show again, apparently for good this time.

While I'm sure that many fans are again pissed at CBS and are planning another campaign to save the show, it's hard for me to find fault with their decision. Some will argue that they deliberately sabotaged the prospects of the show, scheduling it on Tuesdays at 10 (a rumored "death slot" on the network). But it mostly went up against repeats of other shows, so it should have been able to do moderately well. But it didn't, it often finished last in its slot. It may have a huge following online, and has done very well in Itune downloads and streaming video on the Internet. But that isn't a proven moneymaker, yet.

The bottom line is that, as the president of CBS said, Jericho's viewers are passionate, but there just weren't enough of them. And that's tragic, I think it was an excellent show, and I'm glad I had something to watch while 24's been pre-empted until next year. I consider "Jericho" to be a casualty in our American Idol/Reality age of television. Most people who watch television have been dumbed down over the years, and want to watch programs in which minimal thinking is involved (or programs that show them how to think).

Also, I do believe that Jericho was a little too subversive for its own good. There are pretty strong overtones on how America is being lost to the powerful, in the form of corporations and privatization of government. That wasn't why it was cancelled (at least I don't think so), but I'm sure a few people are happy that it was for that reason.

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