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The Campaign to Save Moonlight Continues

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Fandom. It's one of those things that very few can understand unless they're actively a part of it. Look at those Star Trek people. There are Trekkies and Trekkers (and depending on who you are, never the 'twain shall meet), and two movies about the fans and the phenomenon.

Talking about fans and fandom can be difficult for those not a part of the scene. I could watch a television show and find it rather dull and uninteresting, but there might be a group of people out there for whom it strikes a chord. In the end, the upshot is that there are people out there who become very dedicated to a show, a character, a book, a musician, a series of films, or some similar thing, and when that thing disappears it causes a great deal of upset.

Star Trek disappeared after a few short seasons on television only to be reborn on the big screen and spun off into multiple new series. The X-Files will be returning to theaters this summer several years after the series ended its run and even more years after its first foray onto the big screen. Jericho was abandoned by CBS only to have fans organize a campaign and get their series resurrected for a brief second, and final, season.

And now, there's Moonlight.

It's a vampire show that, to many fans, is far more than just a show about vampires. It's a show about love and loss, it's got mysteries and excitement, and, who knows, maybe some greater truths about the world stuffed in there as well. It's also been canceled.

CBS blames the numbers, but the fans state that they're just fine. It kind of depends on how you see it. Moonlight was, by a significant percentage, the lowest rated show CBS had on Friday nights. Ghost Whisperer, Moonlight's lead-in, averaged 8.7 million viewers, Numbers, its lead-out, averaged 9.1 million viewers. Moonlight put up just under 7.5 million. Devoted fanbase or not, 7.5 million is less than both 8.7 million and 9.1 million.

But the fanbase truly is devoted.

They want their show back on the air and they're willing to do anything to make it happen. They're actually going out on their own and trying to shop the show around to other outlets, including the SciFi Channel and DirecTV.

Now, there's more news. DirecTV has, I'm told, asked the head of the "Operation: Save Moonlight" campaign, who appeared on Blogcritics Magazine's "Screen Time" radio show, to post a poll on her website asking fans whether they'd switch over to DirecTV if the satellite company produced new episodes.

As one could expect, the overwhelming answer is yes, they would (as of this writing 72% said they'd switch and 21% of respondents stated they already had DirecTV). While that sounds great, one has to remember both that this is a fan-based message board that the poll is appearing on and that it's wholly non-binding. Fourteen hundred people saying that they'd buy a DirecTV subscription if new episodes of Moonlight could be found there is all well and good, but can't possibly cover the cost to DirecTV of making the show, even if all those people did sign up.

Whether or not DirecTV has any intention of picking up the series, the very fact that they asked to have the poll placed on the site is interesting. It says a lot about fan campaigns in general and this one in particular.

The odds are heavily stacked against "Operation: Save Moonlight"; their chance of success is slim, but they're still out there making their voices heard and their opinion known. Members of the group have even threatened to stop watching CBS entirely based upon this one show's cancellation.

As fan campaigns to save shows ramp up (there seems to be a new one every time a series is canceled) they become more and more sophisticated. One wonders if networks have to become more clever in the way they cancel shows so as to avoid more public relations issues.

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About Josh Lasser

Josh has deftly segued from a life of being pre-med to film school to television production to writing about the media in general. And by 'deftly' he means with agonizing second thoughts and the formation of an ulcer.
  • This show is so awesome, even though your article was mostly for the ads, it really doesn’t have a significant I appreciate another moonlight story on google news. and I thank you for that even though half your article was about star trek.

  • Cggirl

    I want to thank you for keeping Moonlight in the news and current in readers’ minds, this is important. Yes, Moonlight’s numbers was a little low as compared to the other two shows, which by the way had way more promotion and advertising for than our show ever did and please note our show had to contend with a writer’s strike, and we never got a full season either. This did not help to show the potential of Moonlight either. The numbers stayed consistent even with the strike and during the strike, the viewers/fans voted Moonlight as “Best New Drama”. How can you argue with stats like that. Don’t see how. So, again I really appreciate the article, but please please state the truth for all to see. Thank you.

  • Suzanne

    Thank you for writing about Moonlight. I do have to correct your numbers though. Moonlight avg’d 7.83 million viewers over the 16 episodes. This 7.5 million number given out by the powers that be is not correct. We also avg’d another 1 million viewers weekly from 7 day DVR watchers. Moonlight was a great quality show and deserves a new season. DirecTV would be very smart to sponser this show. They did it with Friday Night Lights and their viewership is less. If it was worth it for Friday Night Lights it is certainly worth it for Moonlight.

  • Katheen Boyle


  • Thanks Josh for the shout-out.

    Unlike Friday Night Lights (NBC negotiated with DirecTV), the fans of Moonlight started a grassroots campaign to ask DirecTV if they would consider the same arrangement.

    The fans’ commitment, passion and determination to save Moonlight must have made an impression on DirecTV for them to have asked to have the poll created.

    All the fans should give themselves a pat on the back to have reached this point especially against naysayer’s.

    Rafferty (continuing to fight for a perpetually cool show) Rulz

  • Allegrita

    Thanks for your thoughtful article. One of the most interesting things about Moonlight fans is that many–LOTS–of us have never been involved in fandom before. We’re not typical squeeing fans by any means, and some of us are a bit bemused by our response to the show. Speaking for myself, I have been inspired by Moonlight to begin writing fiction for the first time in my life. I’ve become involved in MoonlightLine, the fan site you mentioned in your article, and have made friends from all over the world there. Moonlight fans are generally well educated, slightly older than your typical fans, and very well organized. We’ve also put our fervor into wonderful projects, such as blood, food, and bone marrow registration drives.

    Maybe if you looked only at past history, you would say that our campaign to find Moonlight a new home has a very slim chance of success; but we’re not like campaigns in the past. We’re not giving up the fight till Silver Productions tells us to pack our tents…and even if that happened, I’m not sure we’d give up. Moonlight will survive, in one form or another. It has become a lot bigger than just an hour of TV on Friday nights. Maybe it’ll be a movie…certainly it will live on in fan fiction, digital art, video…and the community it has created. And don’t count us out–we’re going to surprise you…the series WILL continue. I’m so grateful to DirecTV for paying attention to us! Thanks again for the article.

  • JustMeMoonlight

    One correction. We did not just threaten to stop watching CBS. We stopped watching CBS. I used to have CBS on all the time; it was the station I had on when I woke up and it was tuned to CBS through out the night.
    NO MORE… To Bad for CBS.. I have found a whole new TV world out there.
    Where ever Moonlight goes, We go.

  • Tami Graham

    Thank you for your mention of our Moonlight campaign. This campaign has many people who have never tried to save a show before, some are learning their way around the internet for the first time, others have just started blogging, watching you tube videos, and getting myspace accounts. Viewers have purchased the series individual episodes and signed up for the Moonlight DVD scheduled for release in September. This show brought entire families together around their television sets many for the first time in years. It made us laugh, it made us cry, and kept us glued to our seats every Friday it was on.

    CBS may say the numbers weren’t good enough but they were good enough during the fall to win the time slot, demographic, and secure CBS’s Friday nights every week it was on.

    Viewers want quality shows that everyone can enjoy, they’re tired of his/hers TV. Moonlight is a great escape from the everyday trials of life.

    Its time networks begin listening to their viewers, we’re much more sophisticated and educated than they believe, and worthy of respect.

  • Beth

    No matter how a station cancel’s a show loved by millions it’s fans are going to know and MORE than likely will be ready to start doing EVERYTHING they can to save their beloved show. As we have done for our MOONLIGHT. It wasn’t given a good chance. That time slot they had it in is called the “Death Slot” because NO SHOW ever does as good as what MOONLIGHT did at that time. Because alot of people are gone out to eat etc. during that time and CBS knowed before they put MOONLIGHT on in that time slot that it was a bad time for ANY SHOW. but you know MOONLIGHT still had viewers such as myself that were devoted to the show and watched it EVERY firday night. THEY could have put it on Thurs. night knowing that or any other night is a better slot than Friday’s but they never had any intentions on keeping this BELOVED SHOW. Also to let you know ALOT of MOONLIGHT fans watched Ghost Whisperer before MOONLIGHT and we also watched Num3ers afterward. So MOONLIGHT FANS DOES HAVE AN EFFECT ON THEIR 2 TOP RATED SHOWS ON FRIDAY NIGHT. AND YES ALL 8 MILLION OF US ARE NOT WATCHING A STATION THAT HAS TREATED US ALL BADLY.

  • Robin Wilson

    I appreciate your article very much. I have never campaigned to save a cancelled series in my life, but “Moonlight” is worth my time and effort.

    I want to reiterate that the viewership for “Moonlight” was extremely high, 7.5-8 million, for a 9 pm time slot on a Friday night. Many people are not home at that hour, and CBS is at fault for placing the show there and not promoting it as it deserved to be.

    For a freshman show to return after the writers’ strike with only a slight 3% drop in its audience is quite remarkable. (Check out the drops for “House” at 36% and “Desperate Housewives” at 17%.) “Moonlight” fans were and are faithful.

    I’ll keep fighting until all avenues are closed. “Moonlight” deserves a second season. Thanks for letting me vent.

  • Jamie

    “As fan campaigns to save shows ramp up (there seems to be a new one every time a series is canceled) they become more and more sophisticated.”

    I’d say this is true. And I’d say that the fandom “prestige” and “cool points” also become more desireable. Which is basically my way of saying that a WHOLE lot of ego stroking goes on in these situations and people can become addicted to the attention. I don’t believe at all that DirecTV asked for a poll to be put up on a fansite. I have serious doubts that Directv has been in contact with the campaign at all. It seems pretty clear to me that this was a last ditch effort by the campaign head to keep the fans from growing disillusioned and disgruntled.

  • Lis4ML

    I’ve never fought for a TV show in my life. There have been many good shows I liked that were canceled, I never gave it much thought. But Moonlight is just amazing. Also winning it’s difficult time slot consistantly without much promotion, and through the writers strike.

    One can only imagine the amount of viewers there would have been if CBS gave it a chance, proper promotion, and a decent time slot. If they counted the number of viewers who recorded it on a Friday night while they were out the number would surely skyrocket.

    The tired line about Moonlight not having enough viewers is absurd!

    If I can see that and I’m not in the business then I’m sure DirecTV does also, that’s why they are interested in finding out just how viable Moonlight will be for them.

    There’s a reason so many viewers are so adament about bringing this show back. If you watch it you will know too.

  • Poster #12- Jaime-
    You are certainly entitled to your opinion and I thank you for expressing it in a non offensive manner.
    I can tell you that from being directly involved in the campaign, that Direct TV has been in contact with the Moonlight Fans and we are working on providing some sort of public verification while still keeping our sources and contacts anonymous(as per their wishes).
    We are not unreasonable people, just passionate about being counted and having a say in what we watch.
    This is not a last ditch effort by any means. If all of our avenues run out, we will continue to campaign for a mini series, made for TV movie or feature presentation…the point is, we may be satisfied with the season finale, but not with the SERIES FINALE. There is more of this story that needs be told and we want to know what it is.

    Thanks Josh for keeping this in the public eye. We have been having a hell of a time getting it in print and on the news!

  • Jamie

    DirecTV has been in contact with “the fans”? Or with one fan who assures you they asked for the poll to be posted? Because for me, in any fan campaign where one person is claiming to be the contact point for everything, something stinks, and while the fans obviously have every right to keep campaigning, I think they should also be taking any info they get from this source with a grain of salt. At this point, the campaign is pretty much her life, which means she has a vested interest in keeping you all motivated, even if that means fudging some things to keep your morale up.

  • Genelda

    Moonlight was the best show on television with romance, adventure, great story lines and was something entire families gathered around the television set to watch and awaited eagerly all week. The chemistry between Mick St. John and Beth Turner was incredible and kept me coming back every week. I was sure to watch the show live every week, even though I taped it also. Frankly without Moonlight, there is no point in even turning on the television because I want to watch the romance of Mick and Beth and there is nothing else on that even comes close to the adventures they share.

  • cobby

    AS STATED BY JAMIE – posted above——“DirecTV has been in contact with “the fans”? Or with one fan who assures you they asked for the poll to be posted? Because for me, in any fan campaign where one person is claiming to be the contact point for everything, something stinks, and while the fans obviously have every right to keep campaigning, I think they should also be taking any info they get from this source with a grain of salt. At this point, the campaign is pretty much her life, which means she has a vested interest in keeping you all motivated, even if that means fudging some things to keep your morale up”.

    Jamie, as with any organization there is a hierarchy and with Moonlight’s renewal campaign we do have a hierarchy that asks it’s fans their opinions….if that were not the case OUR/THIS CAMPAIGN WOULD BE UTTER CHAOS and nothing cohesive would have happened the since May 13th. I’m guessing you are not a fan of ML and one of the instigators who likes to throw COLD WATER on any parade. You may try but you will fail to bring us down. Moonlight will be renewed by persistance and faith regardless of naysayers like you.

  • Jen

    “Members of the group have even threatened to stop watching CBS entirely based upon this one show’s cancellation.”

    This member hasn’t just threatened-I’ve done so. CBS hasn’t been aired in my household since the final Moonlight episode was shown on May 16 – and I was a LOYAL CBS watcher. It was one of the few shows my husband and I watched together and enjoyed.

    Moonlight overcame huge obstacles and built a loyal fan following. A complete overhaul of the pilot, a writers’ strike, the worst time slot of the week and virtually no network promotion, yet the show consistently won its time slot. CBS had a gem in Alex O’Loughlin: looks, personality AND talent, and the cast put together to back him up has incredible chemistry together.

    I sit smack dab in the middle of that precious 18-49 demographic. I’ve already spoken with my money – between the Moonlight-related downloads from iTunes and the money I dumped into the L.A. economy when I was there for Con, I’ve definitely put my money where my mouth is and will continue to do so. I (and my money) will be happy to follow Moonlight whereever it ends up!

    Josh, thanks for such a positive article!

  • Pam

    Josh, thanks for the mostly positive article and mentioning the Moonlight campaign. I am boycotting CBS – I haven’t even watched David Letterman and I love DL – been watching him since the NBC years. Speaking of ratings, I have a question for you-why is Supernatural still on the air when it only gets 2.5-3 rating? And has it’s own magazine, for Pete’s sake? Now, don’t get me wrong-I actually like Supernatural, but my point is the ratings for Moonlight were really good for the so-called “Death Slot” and with CBS yanking
    it off the air – no repeats, so other viewers might get hooked – no support and not much advertising – for Moonlight to keep the viewers it had before the writers strike is a miracle unto itself. For them to cancel it when everyone, including the actors and all the TV critics, thought it was a shoo-in for renewal does not make sense. Something is rotten here and everybody knows it. We are fighting so hard to get this show back because it never should have been cancelled at all!

  • Ilyria

    Hi Josh,

    I was a bit surprised to find myself among the devoted fans of Moonlight who are fighting to keep the show alive for a second (and beyond!) season. I’m a working journalist, and I’m not supposed to get swept up on the other side of media campaigns and letter petitions. There’s just something about this show and the characters that has really captivated me. And eight million others.

    There are some really hard-core fans out there who have literally shed blood for this show. They’ve signed up to be marrow donors. They’ve donated to Los Angeles area foodbanks. When you say that fan bases are getting more sophisticated and savvy to the ways of public relations, you don’t know the half of it. I’ve gotta wonder if Les Moonves is sitting in his office wondering what kind of hell he uncorked by letting Moonlight go …

    I doubt the fans will give up on this one. At least, I hope not.

  • Moonlight deserves a 2nd season. I hope that Moonlight the vampire-drama gets renewed and picked up by TNT or other tv networks. CBS made a
    huge error cancelling Moonlight.

  • Judy

    Ijust found out it was cancelled. I, like I bet a lot of people, just assumed it was on a break. Shows have such long breaks these days, it’s hard to keep up with them. If the ratings were low, CBS just didn’t promote it right. What a beautiful love story. I’m flabbergasted!

  • Mary

    I am a person who never tried to save a show, oh, just remembered I worked at a tv station and worked to save David Letterman back in his daytime tv days, but since then, nothing inspired me. And now, we have more options than the big 3…it is so much easier to follow though on our boycott. I have already done it with CBS and found other rather enjoyable ways to pass my tv viewing time. This time CBS showed us what can be offered and we cannot go back. The quality of Moonlight was so high and we cannot forget.

  • Right now we’re in the process of getting ads up on 40 buses on the Los Angeles DOT’s routes.

    They should be up by the middle of August.

    We’re not giving up. Moonlight more than deserves it’s second season and beyond!

    [Personal contact info deleted]

  • I echo the same sentiments as many diehard Moonlight fans: I no longer watch CBS (not hard because I really don’t watch televisions that much) and prior to Moonlight I never found the desire or need to campaign to save a television show.
    Moonlight is the total package in semi-serialized drama – romance, fantasy, action, and drama. The show truly has something for everyone.
    I know there are people out there who think we’re either nuts, or we’ll soon go away. The reality is that we are actually for the most part educated professionals with the time and resources to continue to fight on. It’s my time and my money – and this is what I choose to use it for. Too bad for CBS I am not taking my time and watching their shows or spending my money on their advertisers. They made a choice – albeit a bad one – and lost not only viewers, but loyal viewers.

  • Wow, Josh. You’ve really awakened the fanbase here.

    I covered Moonlight a couple of times, and watched it rather regularly. But it never really found its feet. It wanted to offer something for fans of every ilk, and ended up playing to the lowest common denominator of all the various cliques.In the end, it ended up being a Harlequin Romance.

    I liked the series, more or less, but it never really captured my sense of wonder. Instead, it made up its mythology as it went along, coating it in daytime soap production values.

    If it ever comes back, in fact, it should be as a daytime soap.

  • Sue

    I also have stopped watching CBS – not that there is anything there that is worth watching. I agree with Suzanne – I have never joined any type of movement to save a tv show from being canceled, however I have will continue to do what I can to try to get through to someone that the fans want this show back. I am not some young immature person – I am in my 50’s and my husband and I both watched this show each week. They need to listen to the fans and bring this back for a 2nd season!!

  • Brandi

    Every Friday night, my dad and I would sit down and watch MoonLight together. He worked alot so we didnt really get to spend a whole lot of time together, so this was always special to me. After they canceled the show, we didnt get to spend that hour together each friday evening… My father passed away not long ago, and watching this show with him is one of the last good memories I have of him. By bringing this show back, in a way, they would be giving me my father back. I could sit on the couch, and in a sense watch MoonLight with him again. It would mean the world to me. And I know that I’m just some random person that no one knows and that’s ok. But If someone were to put this show back on, maybe the producers are helping more than just me. Maybe mine’s not the only story out there like this. I would give anything to be able to watch this show again, and relive those happy memories that I shared with my father…..Please, Bring The Show Back. You would be making a 14 year old very happy… I just want to remember him. Please Bring Him Back To Me