I was all set to go off with a really heinous rant on CBS concerning the Jericho cancellation, but I just got off the phone with someone in their press office who was really nice so I'll hold back. A little bit.
So it's official that Jericho is off the air. Having just watched the season (and now, series) finale last night I'm here to tell you that I'm really pissed. To just pull the plug on a show after a huge cliffhanger is in my opinion just a plain slap in the face to the viewers that did tune in to the show.
I was told that after the show returned from it's Spring hiatus, the ratings dropped by 25% and continued to do so. Sure, TV viewers are to blame for not tuning in, but the show was off the air for what... three or four MONTHS? That's just too long of a break mid-season, and even stronger shows like Heroes and Lost took ratings hits coming back from extended breaks this season. But poor Jericho got a double dose by returning and having CBS change its time slot to put it directly opposite the 800 pound ratings gorilla known as American Idol.
The networks are now shying away from shows with this sort of linear storyline next season, pointing to the eroding viewership as to why. Here's a clue CBS (and others): multi-month mid-season breaks let your audience forget about a show. How well do you think even hit shows like (gag me) Survivor and American Idol would do if midway through the competition the show went off the air for a few months, hmm?
BTW, here's a prediction for ABC's Lost: In the coming seasons that show will continue to lose viewers like a gunshot victim loses blood. They're going in the complete opposite direction that they should be heading in... instead of the planned three 16-episode seasons, they need to increase the number of episodes per season. No mid-season hiatus, just start it a bit later and end it a bit earlier. If three or four months in between new episodes is eroding ratings, how can they possibly think that eight or nine months will help the show? BTW, Battlestar Galactica is going to suffer from this same affliction with no new episodes coming until 2008.
And then, one needs to take into consideration what shows are airing opposite the series in question. Heroes is up against Fox's 24, and I've already mentioned Jericho's nemesis.
So instead of addressing the problem with the way they broadcast the shows, they blame viewers and move onto the next load of crapola to send our way. The replacement show for Jericho is Kid Nation:
"A reality-based series in which 40 kids will have 40 days to build a new world — in a ghost town that died in the 19th Century. These kids, ages 8-15, will spend more than a month without their parents or modern comforts in Bonanza City, N.M., attempting to do what their forefathers could not — build a town that works."
I'll be sure to tune into that... NOT.
It turns out the only show I even watched on CBS was Jericho. Now that that's gone, I won't be tuning into anything else on that network. I was actually thinking of checking out their new Aardman Animation-created show Creature Comforts, but now I won't just as a matter of principle.
If you're reading this execs, get a clue as to why people won't tune into shows that require a commitment in the future: If viewers think you might just pull the plug in the middle of an ongoing and compelling storyline, people won't tune in in the first place.
Who needs that aggravation? I sure don't.
Thanks for nothing.