Friday, April 11, 2008

Jericho Finale: Nothing Feels Right (still)


As I wrote in part one of this reflection on CBS's Jericho finale, I felt cheated with this particular episode.

Not because the cast and crew lack talent...just the opposite.

CBS's final episode felt like an expensive, quality roast cooked at a high temperature so it would get done faster.

This type of handling results in a tough, dry and flavorless piece of meat.

A roast cooked at a low temperature for a longer period of time retains its juices, is tender, and full of flavor.

Well, that's how I feel about the "ending" of Jericho on CBS.

Had this show -- this show packed with talent -- been allowed to play out, my guess is that the story would have continued to build in richness AND in audience numbers.

With the two articles posted this week, CBS Layoffs Signal a Financial Squeeze on TV Stations in the Los Angeles Times and Rifts in Family and Companies Hang Over Redstone's Legacy in The New York Times, I continue to maintain that when a network compromises the value and integrity of the news, it will be extraordinarily easy for them to compromise the value and integrity of their entertainment programming.

Considering that the Nielsen Ratings of the top 10 shows for the week of March 31, 2008 contained ONLY 2 reality programs, I continue to be challenged by CBS's decision to add more reality programming while canceling one of the best scripted dramas they had on their network.

I've been asked where I would like to see Jericho find a home.

For me personally, I think JAG is an excellent example of how a show can start at one network, be picked up by a different network and soar to the top of the charts. If I'm correct, I believe JAG originally aired on NBC and then jumped networks to CBS.

JAG aired for a total of 10 seasons.

Can you imagine if someone at CBS had NOT had the insight to see something in JAG?

Do I think Jericho could replicate the success of JAG at a different network?


I'd love to see Jericho find a home at anyone of the following: TNT, FOX, ABC, NBC, or USA.

I know a number of fans are hoping Jericho finds a home on SciFi, but it wouldn't be my first choice or even my sixth choice. The SciFi market is a niche one with a narrow audience.

I personally believe Jericho is a wide audience appeal show. And, therefore, deserves a wide audience appeal platform for it to continue to grow. And grow it will with the talent attached to Jericho from the creators to the producers to the cast and to the crew. Not to mention the built in fan base!

The more I watch TNT develop their original programming the more and more impressed I become with their ability to draw viewers from the major networks. Airing The Closer during the summer was a brave move. And it worked! The folks at TNT are doing excellent work. They are expanding the boundaries so set in stone at the major 3 networks. AndTNT's marketing for their original programming is by far the best on television.

I also see Jericho doing well on FOX. The show has a FOX kind of feel. Between Bones, 24, Prison Break and House M.D., I can see Jericho fitting into their line up very well. And doing very well in the ratings.

I've never really understood the push for Jericho to move to SciFi. Is this where the Jericho producing team wants to be? OR is this the channel that appears to be sending out signals of interest?

These are two very different questions.

In the entertainment business or any business, silence does not necessarily mean lack of interest.

If the creators and producers want to move Jericho to SciFi, hey, OK, it's their show and I will support them 100%.

But, I'd like to know if that is what THEY want first.

It's like fly fishing.

Does a fly fisherman go fishing where he sees the fish lining up for the bait? No. He goes where the fish he is interested in catching are swimming. If you are familiar with fly fishing, then you know that each fish goes after certain kinds of bait more readily than other kinds of bait.

For me, I prefer working like a fly fisherman.

I first determine the type of fish I want to catch, then select the correct bait for that fish, AND then cast my line into the water where that fish swims.

As I've written before, Jericho fans truly have power.

They've proven that once.

They can prove it again.

This is not the time to cut bait.

This is the time to choose the fish.

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