POSTED BY STUART LEVINE
When CBS entertainment topper Nina Tassler went for a checkup a few months ago and the doc handed her a bag of peanuts instead of test results, she knew it was time to give "Jericho" its second-season pickup.
The Skeet Ulrich series started out well in the ratings last fall but soon began to fade. Then when it went on a three-month hiatus from November to February, pretty much any momentum the show might've had left was quickly evaporated.
"Maybe it wasn't good for the show and maybe it had an impact," Tassler said of the hiatus. You think, Nina?
Once CBS decided not to renew, the emails from outraged viewers came flooding into the exec's offices on Beverly Boulevard. I wonder if the Eye IT guys were able to install a "Jericho" spam filter to allow Tassler and Leslie Moonves to view non-"Jericho" messages in a more timely manner?
Though she wasn't convinced enough the series was viable enough to be put on the fall schedule, Tassler decided "Jericho" was worthy of a midseason slot. CBS has ordered seven new episodes, as Variety reported last month.
"The emails had reached a certain pitch and I thought that maybe this show needs a second chance," said Tassler (pictured left). "I went on the message boards and read the emails. It seemed like a segment of the population felt they weren't being counted."
Certainly "Jericho" fans aren't the first group to sound howls of protest when their favorite shows are canceled. If viewers voices were always heard by network schedulers, "Freaks and Geeks," "Veronica Mars" and "Deadwood" would still be on the air.
Whether the "Jericho" renewal begins a new trend on how much viewer reaction will play into the decision-making process for renewals remains to be seen, but its nice to realize that voices are being heard.
In the first episode back, Tassler said Stanley (Brad Beyer) would be getting engaged.
(Pictured above: Shaun Daily, a Nevada disc jockey who led one of the many fan-fueled "Save 'Jericho'" campaigns.)
-- Stuart Levine