Category: Jericho

'Jericho': Who -- or what -- is to blame?

Now that we officially know that tonight's second-season finale of "Jericho" will also be the series finale, it's tempting to try to find someone or something to blame for what went wrong.

How did such a hyped achievement -- CBS' decision to "un-cancel" the series due to overwhelming fan response -- result in a return that faded away so unspectacularly?

Let's look at the prime suspects:

The strike
Conventional wisdom reckoned that the WGA strike and the resulting dearth of scripted shows during the winter would help "Jericho" stand out among weakened competition. But the winter's reality-heavy environment might have made it even more difficult for "Jericho" to connect with audiences. Viewers were tuning out in droves and CBS took one of the biggest ratings hits among all networks, leaving a limited audience to promote the "Jericho" return to. Even freshly written episodes of "Late Show With David Letterman" struggled due to the overall decline in CBS viewership.

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'Jericho': It's really over

CBS Entertainment President Nina Tassler announced today that "Jericho," the low-rated series that earned a second season through fan support, will conclude with its series finale on Tuesday.

"Without question, there are passionate viewers watching this program," Tassler said. "We simply wish there were more of them."

Two endings had been prepared for the end of the seven-episode season. Tuesday's finale aims to provide "closure" for fans, a source at the studio said.

The series attracted 7.2 million viewers when it returned Feb. 12, but the audience had dropped off to 5.8 million by last week.

-- Lynn Smith

'Jericho': Goodbye Goetz

We knew Goetz's days were numbered after the horrific events of last week, but "Jericho" really knows how to kick a villain when he's down. In the space of a television hour, Goetz went from being the big man in charge to being stripped of his position and then shot in the head while two groups of people argued over who should get to arrest him.

I'm not big on the whole vengeance-killings-in-entertainment concept, but last night's "Jericho" made it work, thanks to the sensitive performance of series regular Brad Beyer (as Stanley) and the loathsome turn from recurring guest D.B. Sweeney (as Goetz).

Be sure to check out Beyer's reflections on the episode at the show's website.

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'Jericho': Who saw that coming?

Man, those "Jericho" producers really have guts, don't they?

Last season they killed off sweet old grocery store owner Gracie Leigh, the pregnant April Green (whose husband was cheating on her!) and—in a season finale shocker—ex-mayor, Green family patriarch and all-around American hero Johnston Green.

Plus, the very unsympathetic Sarah Mason was blown away not by her badass ex-lover Robert Hawkins, but by Hawkins' teenage daughter Allison. (By the way, wouldn't it be nice to see Allison again this season?)

You might expect these sorts of morally ambiguous developments on cable, where characters and plot twists written in shades of gray are accepted and embraced. But on CBS?

Yes, non-believers, this is the kind of stuff that makes "Jericho" unique.

And then, last night ...

Well, let's save the spoilers for after the jump (and the CBS promo department):

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'Jericho': A ratings bump, and the fans have their say

Ratings for last night’s “Jericho” actually rebounded a bit from the week before to a 4.3 overnight rating, up from a 3.9.

But don’t get too excited. Those numbers are still pretty weak, and there’s no question “Jericho” received some kind of boost from viewers fleeing NBC’s disastrous special preview of webisode drama “Quarterlife” in the time slot. “Quarterlife,” which pre-empted the usually reliable “Law & Order: SVU,” earned a 2.7 rating, good for under 4 million viewers, according to preliminary reports from Nielsen.

You can’t say CBS isn’t trying. Last night’s episode of “Big Brother” reportedly included a competition involving the “Hudson River virus,” a fictional disease that played a major role in last night’s “Jericho.”

I say reportedly because I’ve never been able to watch more than five minutes of “Big Brother” without wanting to tear my eyeballs from their sockets. Nevertheless, someone at CBS clearly thinks there’s a way to use the reality show to funnel viewers into a quality drama.

Too bad “Big Brother’s” ratings have been even worse than “Jericho’s,” because as pure drama “Jericho” is on a roll.

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'Jericho': Where my fans at?

"Jericho" has a fan base so passionate it famously resurrected the show from cancellation last summer. But apparently it's not passionate enough to turn out for a local comic book convention.

The Los Angeles Comic Book and Science Fiction Convention offered "Jericho" fanatics a great opportunity last Sunday to screen the new season's second episode and attend a panel discussion with show's stars and producers. Fourteen cast and crew members took the stage after the screening, but the sparsely populated audience could manage only a handful of questions and a palpable lack of enthusiasm. Possibly because "Jericho" is neither a comic book nor a work of science fiction.

Executive producer and "National Treasure" filmmaker Jon Turteltaub cracked, "After this event today I'll be shocked if ["Jericho"] doesn't become enormous [in the ratings] -- with all 80 of you."

Costar Sprague Grayden tried to wake up the crowd with an energetic plea, "I can see the energy inside of you. Let's get things crazy in the Shrine Auditorium!"

Despite the event's awkward vibe, the panelists remained admirably on message.

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'Jericho': The numbers are in

Now that "Jericho" has officially returned to the CBS schedule (thanks to a passionate fan base and some uncharacteristically merciful network executives) the big question can finally be answered. How did it do in the ratings?

The answer: About the same as always.

Nobody will call CBS nuts for bringing it back, especially given a prime-time schedule devastated by the recently ended strike, but the jury remains out on whether the producers should get ready to use that series finale ending they reportedly shot to provide closure if true cancellation looms.

According to Nielsen's fast national ratings, the season premiere drew 7.2 million viewers and a 2.5 rating in the 18-49 demo. That's on par with its first season averages: 9.5 million viewers/2.8 18-49 rating.

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'Jericho' rises

It's the date dedicated fans have been waiting to hear for months: On Feb. 12, "Jericho" officially returns to CBS for a second season. Seven episodes will air Tuesdays at 10 p.m., with a special winter edition of "Big Brother" serving as a lead-in. Read the official word from CBS Entertainment President Nina Tassler.

What that means for fans of the low-rated Jimmy Smits soap "Cane," which currently occupies the time slot, we can't say. (The prognosis isn't good, but if you'd like to organize a "Save Our Show" effort, CBS executives would no doubt appreciate any bottles of rum sent in for support.)

Obviously, CBS isn't taking this whole strike thing lying down. They've also announced that "The Captain" (a new comedy about a young writer and a bunch of Hollywood eccentrics) and the third season of "The New Adventures of Old Christine" (starring WGA supporter Julia Louis-Dreyfus) will sub for "The Big Bang Theory" and "Rules of Engagement" on the Monday night comedy lineup beginning Jan. 28. Both "Big Bang" and "Rules" have shut down production due to the writers strike; "Captain" and "Christine" filmed their episodes pre-strike.

In addition to Tuesdays at 9 p.m., "Big Brother 9" will air Wednesdays and Sundays at 8 p.m., beginning the week of Feb. 12.

-- Geoff Berkshire

'Jericho': For the fans

There were no grand announcements at the Comic-Con International "Jericho" panel, but there were plenty of thank-yous.  After all, the Sunday session never would have happened if CBS hadn't resurrected the series from cancellation following passionate fan response.

Jericho_panel_500 Moderator Craig Tomashoff of TV Guide kicked off the love-fest by announcing that the hour would give the panelists their first chance to thank the "people responsible for keeping you on the air."  Series stars Skeet Ulrich, Lennie James and Ashley Scott and producers Carol Barbee, Karim Zreik, Dan Shotz and Jon Steinberg repeatedly expressed their gratitude while fielding questions and presenting clip packages of season one highlights (set to the Killers' "All These Things That I've Done") and early behind-the-scenes footage from season two (set to Eminem's "Without Me").  The latter ended with even more fan appreciation from cast and crew.

As for their brief flirtation with the TV graveyard, Steinberg recalled, "Even up until the day before [the renewal announcement], I thought there was no way we were coming back on CBS."  Scott joked that she kept waiting for Ashton Kutcher to show up and tell her she was being punked, even during her first day back on the set.  And Barbee reasoned, "We're better off that we got canceled."

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'Jericho': It's never too late

Tonight's "Jericho" rerun is a perfect example of the show in top form. Even if you've never seen an episode, you'll be able to enjoy this one thanks to a self-contained central story. Then it's worth sticking around through the season finale, as the show really hit a stride in the home stretch (oddly at the exact time the ratings fell apart after its ill-advised winter hiatus).Jericho_300

Titled "Semper Fidelis," the installment originally aired in March and features the arrival of U.S. Marines in Jericho who bring hope and good news with them. Unfortunately, things aren't quite that simple...

But bad news for Jericho means good news for fans and newcomers. Everything in this hour works.

Spoilery details after the jump.

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'Jericho': The return

Jericho290 It's hard out there for a CBS show that's not a crime drama, reality show or laugh-track comedy with stale sex jokes recycled out of NBC's lesser 1990s Thursday night efforts.

Last fall's creative and cinematic bank-robber serial "Smith" was DOA and gone after three episodes, while post-U.S.-nuclear-disaster drama "Jericho" started hot, faded fast and limped toward cancellation. But then something interesting happened. "Jericho" fans went nuts (literally sending 20 tons of nuts to CBS executives to save the show). And CBS, excited by the kind of buzz that usually eludes the network, did something rare and un-cancelled the series.

Now CBS is giving viewers a chance to catch up on what they might have missed — albeit in a very unsexy Friday night time slot.

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'Jericho': A new beginning for would-be fans

Jericho290 Attention “Jericho” junkies: Those of you who almost made the CBS drama a hit in the fall -- only to vanish from your couches when the show returned from its three-month hiatus in February -- are getting a second chance.

Beginning July 6, CBS will re-broadcast part of the first season, which is centered around a small Kansas town recovering from a nearby nuclear explosion. The pilot episode will air on July 6 at 9 p.m. On July 13, CBS will air “Return to Jericho,” which re-capped the show’s first 11 episodes, at 8 p.m., followed by episode 12. The rest of the series will then air on Fridays at 9 p.m.

Last week, CBS ordered seven episodes of “Jericho” for mid-season after the show’s cancellation prompted an unprecedented protest from its fans, which executives have acknowledged caught them by surprise and impressed them.  “It was a campaign that couldn’t be ignored,” CBS Corp. Chief Executive Leslie Moonves said of the mobilization of “Jericho” fans, telling the Associated Press that it was also “astonishing and well-organized.”

--Maria Elena Fernandez

(Photo courtesy CBS)

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