Thinking of starting a nuclear family? Think Jericho, which returns tonight on CBS and CTV.
The post-apocalyptic drama, starring Skeet Ulrich and Ashley Scott, above, has inspired a Valentine's e-card line available here. Nothing' says lovin' like a little radiation.
Set in a small Kansas town on the outskirts of a nation-wide nuclear attack, Jericho felt the love from fans. When it was canceled last May, they pelted CBS in New York with 20 tons of peanuts, about eight million in all (mainly sent through an on-line nut company) in a successful effort to bring the show back.
Why nuts? The fans (including many in Canada) seized upon a line Ulrich's character, Jake Green, said toward the end of the first season. Confronted with an attack by a neighboring town, he answers back with the rallying cry, "Nuts."
Besides all the nuts, CBS Entertainment president Nina Tassler was swayed by an online petition topping 100,000 signatures plus several clever, home made YouTube appeals. “This was an interactive, connected, engaged audience,” said Tassler. Her boss, CBS CEO Les Moonves, said he hadn't seen anything like it since Touched By An Angel. “I’m still hearing from fans who want that show back," he said. (For more on the fan efforts to save Jericho, check out this story I wrote for the current issue of Bell TV's SHOW magazine.)
CBS showed their love for the series last July at press tour with a stirring, five minute video salute to the first season, all set to The Killers' anthem, "All The Things That I Have Done." This isn't quite that video, below, but a mix of scenes from the series with a UK Killers video. The CBS promo clip was better but until I find it, check this out:
What CBS didn't say at the time, but which is pretty obvious today, is that this show was saved as much as strike insurance as it was by any form of peanut persuation. Jericho was rushed back in production last summer, with all seven episodes in the can by September--well ahead of the labor disruption.
Only seven episodes were ordered, forcing the producers to crunch an entire season into one third the amount of time. Fans will take what they can get and hope for more. Ulrich says he's up for extensding the series. “I think I’m obligated to the fans to continue to tell the story as long as they want to hear it,” he says.