Nuts!: The Fan Campaign to Save Jericho

Curator's Note

The critically-acclaimed CBS series Jericho focuses on the town of Jericho, Kansas, which managed to withstand a devastating attack in which fifteen nuclear weapons were detonated throughout the United States. But despite an enthusiastic audience, the show did not initially survive its first season, with CBS choosing not to include the show on its fall schedule. Arguing that the show’s ratings were affected by a long mid-season hiatus and by competition against ratings juggernaut, American Idol, fans responded quickly and creatively to keep the series alive.

Jericho fans have clearly learned from the experiences of fans of other canceled shows, describing tactics used by Star Trek and Roswell fans and using a relentless and well-organized letter-writing and media campaign to pressure CBS into bringing back Jericho as a mid-season replacement. Fans of the show have organized on the web, using blogs, email, and web video to rally support for the show and to make fan interest as visible as possible. Of course, the most successful—and most interesting—strategy has been the decision to send thousands of pounds of nuts to CBS executives, in a deliberate echo of a line of dialogue from the show, uttered when Jake Green (Skeet Ulrich) refuses to back down from a confrontation with a neighboring town.

What I find fascinating about this video is its use of images from the show to rally fan support. Using speeches by two of Jericho’s iconic characters, Jake and his father, Johnston Green (Gerald McRaney), the video evokes both the show’s post-apocalyptic storyline, including a currently unresolved cliffhanger, and the fans’ fight to save a beloved show. The video has also inspired a number of responses and other fan activity, including footage of the nuts being delivered to CBS offices in New York. As of the posting of this clip, CBS is rumored to be reconsidering its decision to cancel the show, but no matter what happens with the series, the nuts campaign seems to represent an interesting new form of fan activity.

Update: A few hours after I originally composed this post, CBS announced that it was ordering seven episodes of Jericho for mid-season next year.

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