BURNT NUTS: Even if they bury the offices of CBS in cashews and macadamia nuts, it’s unlikely that Jericho fans will be able to repeat last year’s revival of the show, which has been cancelled for the second – and last – time by the network. Tonight’s episode will be the last, according to a story in the Hollywood Reporter last week, with an ending that will bring closure to the series’ sophomore season – one of two shot, to be used depending on the network’s verdict on the show’s future.
“The March 25th episode of Jericho will be the series finale," read a CBS statement. "Without question, there are passionate viewers watching this program; we simply wish there were more.”
Because hope springs eternal, the article didn’t entirely bury the possibility that the show could end up continuing its run on cable, but added the proviso that the “high cost of the production, however, will likely prevent a continuation of the show.”
It’s convenient – and oh so easy – to complain about the bean-counting, bottom-line ethics of TV networks when they cancel shows with either a devoted fan base, critical groundswell, or both. The fact remains, however, that CBS responded to Jericho fans when they trumped the network’s own publicity machine last year with the now-famous “nut campaign,” and rescinded their own cancelation of the show.
Granted, there’s only been one Jericho for every hundred or Arrested Developments or Freaks & Geeks that have been sent to the primetime scrap yard, but the outcome here couldn’t be clearer: CBS spent money it didn’t have to, but Jericho’s fans didn’t deliver the numbers. There are, of course, grumblings out there that this season’s drift into conspiracy as the major plot line was both unconvincing and more than a bit hoary, and that the show’s producers didn’t bring much to the follow-through.
Frankly, I thought it was all downhill after the premiere episode, once the chilling vision of mushroom clouds in the distance wore off and we were left with a too-large cast and not much in the way of compelling storyline. Jericho played like a defoliated Lost, with a fraction of the weird suspense; for those of us who lived through the Cold War and its looming nuclear bummer, the mushroom clouds felt like a cheap come-on. Still, Jericho fans went nuts long after this was apparent, and only have themselves to blame for not coming through on their end of the bargain.