This may not be the freshest of news, but CBS is bringing back Jericho. The freshman post-apocalyptic drama, starring Skeet Ulrich, had been sent off to the scrap heap after its final episode a month back. The premature cancellation sparked a fan campaign of peanut sized proportions.
Fans organized and began to send bags of nuts to CBS offices. So many nuts that, combined, there was over two tons of the salty snacks in the mailrooms. It was a successful campaign, and something that you do not see actually succeed all that often. I know there was the letter writing campaign in the 1960s that brought Star Trek back for one more year. Also, while not the same thing, the mammoth DVD sales of Family Guy prompted Fox to bring the animated series back, and it has been on for a couple of seasons now since the return. Sci Fi Channel brought Farscape back for a four-hour mini-series to wrap up after its sudden cancellation after four seasons.
Now bags of nuts have saved Jericho. I did not partake in the fan response, but I cannot say that I am disappointed that it worked. I like the shoe, and I feel it had gotten much stronger during the second half of the season. Of course, the fact that CBS put it on the shelf from November through the end of January did not help matters. I understand the desire to run large stretches of new episodes without reruns and preemptions, but making a new show that is trying to build an audience disappear for two months is enough to make people stop caring. I know people who had forgotten about the show and thought that it had been canceled.
Well, hopefully this will lead to a full return for the show. CBS is bringing it back for a seven-episode run as a mid-season replacement, and I am assuming if ratings are strong enough, those seven episodes could turn into more.
Now, I am sure that you are wondering where the whole "nuts" thing came from, and no it is not because the fans are nuts, although that may be true in some cases. It stems from the season finale where a story is told where, during WWII, in the face of overwhelming odds a captain responded to a surrender request with "Nuts." Meaning, he would not give up. Skeet's Jake character remembered the story and responded in kind as Jericho was about to be invaded by a neighboring force looking for supplies. That was the end of the episode and sparked the nuts campaign.
Here is the famous clip that started the whole thing: Jericho "Nuts"
Now, here is the open letter to Jericho fans sent by Nina Tassler, President of CBS:
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To the Fans of Jericho:
Over the past few weeks you have put forth an impressive and probably unprecedented display of passion in support of a prime time television series. You got our attention; your emails and collective voice have been heard.
As a result, CBS has ordered seven episodes of "Jericho" for mid-season next year. In success, there is the potential for more. But, for there to be more "Jericho," we will need more viewers.
A loyal and passionate community has clearly formed around the show. But that community needs to grow. It needs to grow on the CBS Television Network, as well as on the many digital platforms where we make the show
We will count on you to rally around the show, to recruit new viewers with the same grass-roots energy, intensity and volume you have displayed in recent weeks.
At this time, I cannot tell you the specific date or time period that "Jericho" will return to our schedule. However, in the interim, we are working on several initiatives to help introduce the show to new audiences. This includes re-broadcasting "Jericho" on CBS this summer, streaming episodes and clips from these episodes across the CBS Audience Network (online), releasing the first season DVD on September 25 and continuing the story of Jericho in the digital world until the new episodes return. We will let you know specifics when we have them so you can pass them on.
On behalf of everyone at CBS, thank you for expressing your support of "Jericho" in such an extraordinary manner. Your protest was creative, sustained and very thoughtful and respectful in tone. You made a difference.
President, CBS Entertainment
P.S. Please stop sending us nuts