Jericho Is Losing The Nielsen Fight

Jericho ended it's first season on a very frustrating note:

The ultimate cliffhanger.

It was "ultimate" because CBS decided to drop the series and had no intention of airing a resolution to the finale. It would be an understatement to say that this annoyed fans of the show, who were inspired and organized enough to orchestrate the comeback for the series.

Though the cliffhanger has been resolved, the 2nd season Nielsen numbers for Jericho aren't looking so rosy; this season's episodes are averaging just under 7 million viewers, which is too low a number for any studio to be happy about.

This second season was dedicated to the fans and the sad part is that even though fans were urged to get as many folks as possible watching the show, CBS forgot to mention that they should get as many Nielsen family friends to watch the show.

By online standards, the show is doing really well: Over 700,000 downloads of the first episode of season two make it one of the most downloaded shows on iTunes. Nuts, huh (uh oh.. I didn't mean that).

Yet the ratings are still not impressive enough to pay the bills and keep the studio happy. That's something I touched on in my Nielsen report a few weeks ago: That despite online generated interest, it's the TV viewing families that have the last word in the success of a series.

Despite the amount of interest demonstrated by the core fans, the numbers from this second season are pretty much telling CBS executives that the numbers from the first season might not have been wrong. There were concerns (excuses?) that it was hurt by being pitted against more popular shows. As we noted in (our take on the show's cancellation): "TV viewers are to blame for not tuning in".

One CBS source says there are no regrets, but fans are blaming the current state of affairs on CBS' lack of support. Among the reasons listed are missing characters, less action and many two person scenes due to budget limitations. They also complained about a terrible time slot, a lower budget and stuffing an entire season's storyline into seven episodes.

To which I say: Where's the gratitude people? If there were enough fans willing and ready, would the time slot even matter?

Despite claims by production staff that two people in a room is an improvement in storyline quality, the show is hurting in the ratings. This is reemphasizing the notion that programming decisions should be based solely on the antiquated Nielsen ratings system. At least until they can manage to generate income off of online content.

With the internet being the choice of more and more of the younger generation to view their entertainment, studios and advertisers need to get off their collective asses and figure something out so that the shows that viewers truly love can continue on.

Until then, the television audience will be continue to be penalized for using newer, more modern methods of enjoying their favorite shows.

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