'Jericho' supporters may get wrap-up movie

by Maureen Ryan

Chicago Tribune (MCT)

24 May 2007


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).

My own two cents: The show certainly has some life left in it, but without a certain central character, who died in the season finale, the show is less attractive. The show deserves a wrap-up movie, but perhaps not another season, in my humble opinion.

Topics: cbs | jericho
//Mixed media