I very, very rarely get so into a television show that I actually care about it. I’ve been a fan of C.S.I Las Vegas for several seasons (3 or 4 I think), got caught up and am eagerly anticipating the final season of Battlestar Galactica, and most recently became obsessed with a little town called Jericho.
After Jericho’s first season, it was cancelled by CBS. You probably remember hearing about the fan uprising and the 40 or so tons of peanuts that landed on CBS’ door. That uprising prompted CBS to order a short second season with a possibility of further seasons if ratings were good. Well, 6 episodes later, the ratings aren’t all that great and CBS has pulled the plug once again. There are already several movements to try and get them to put it back on the air, none of which seem to have any hope as far as I am concerned. It worked once, but it likely won’t again. Better luck would be had getting Sci Fi to pick it up. It fits right in with their demographic.
So why did it fail? Well, according to CBS, it just wasn’t getting the viewers that they wanted. Only about 6 million per episode. Sounds like a lot, but compared to the 30-40 million that American Idol gets, it’s small fries. Of course, there is a flaw in there. The demographic that Jericho strikes with is mostly a tech demographic. These are the same people who would rather talk over twitter than actually meet someone in person. So, as you can probably guess, they aren’t likely to sit down in front of a television to watch the show. They’ll likely download it, watch it on cbs.com, or find another way (itunes?) to watch the show. Something that fits in with their more technology geared lifestyle.
Now, Jordan of the Voices channel of All things Digital (and Valleywag apparently.) made the ever bold statement that “shows that please netizens aren’t moneymakers.” I don’t think that Jordan could be more wrong. If shows that netizens like aren’t moneymakers, why do we have YouTube? Hulu? Joost? I think the fall of Jericho is more of a failure of the MSM to move forward with their metrics. They see the metrics that they’ve always seen and if it isn’t what they want, they axe the program. What they need to be looking at is it’s popularity on the online venues. For example. When I checked, the latest episode of Jericho was the fourth most seeded episode on PirateBay. Sure, there aren’t any commercials and such so they don’t want to recognize it. But it’s right up there with the likes of Lost and American Idol. The first three episodes of Jericho were leaked online about a week before they aired. They had thousands of seeders at any given point in time. And that’s just on that site.
This has become a bit of a rant. Partly because I really do love the show. The plot and cast make it an all time classic. Almost of Firefly proportions. But also partly because I see the MSM continually turn their head to the new media and I see things suffer because of it. How long did we all go without our favorite dramas because of a writers strike whose core issue was online revenue?
Maybe CBS and the rest of the MSM should start reading John Chow and other Make Money Online bloggers for tips on online monetization.
P.S. the last episode of Jericho is airing tonight. (Tuesday, March 25th at 10pm EST) Do yourself a favor and watch some of it. You can watch back episodes on CBS.com to catch up. If you like shows like Firefly and Battlestar Galactica, it’s almost a guarantee that you’ll like Jericho. Then you can be sad and angry that they canceled it too!