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LIFE AFTER NUTS: It’s official – CBS has renewed Jericho for a 7-episode run after a viewer campaign that saw many tons of nuts delivered to CBS offices on both coasts. Nina Tassler, president of CBS entertainment, declared the network’s capitulation to the campaign on a CBS bulletin board on Wednesday, adding at the end, “Please stop sending us nuts.”
As New Jersey Star-Ledger TV columnist Alan Sepinwall said in a column yesterday, it’s not the first viewer campaign to revive a cancelled show; similar campaigns in the past have brought back The Family Guy and, arguably, Roswell, though that show’s renewal had more to do with backroom dealings between networks. The grandmammy of all of these campaigns, however, was one that convinced CBS to bring back Cagney And Lacey back in 1983, as a result of viewers sending in unprecedented numbers of what were once called “letters.”
“Right now, fans of every low-rated or canceled show are going to look at this as proof that if they make their voices loud enough, they can save their favorite,” wrote Sepinwall. “But at the same time, every network and cable executive will be watching the ratings whenever Jericho returns. If the numbers don't do a major turnaround from what the show was doing at the end of this season, that could be the end not only for Jericho, but any future "save our show" efforts.”
Tassler spelled it out in her message of provisional surrender: “For there to be more Jericho, we will need more viewers.” Jericho fans have to become proselytizers now, since there’s no guarantee that CBS will respond to being strongarmed by viewers by doubling ad money they had no intention of spending on a series they had no intention of showing.
WHACKING NEWS: Also from the Star-Ledger comes the results of a poll saying that 43 per cent of Jerseyites don’t want Tony Soprano to sleep with the fishes at the conclusion of this Sunday’s finale of The Sopranos, a result that surprised pollsters.
“If you put a description of everything he's done on paper - kill, gamble, cheat on his wife - people would vote for this person to get the death penalty," Gary Radford, a professor of communications, told the Star-Ledger.
Of the 21 per cent of Jerseyites who want to see Tony die, the majority want him to get rubbed out by other mobsters, such as New York rival Phil Leotardo. Five per cent want him to be killed by the police, and 10 per cent want him to die of natural causes. Most interesting of all, while 55 per cent of the residents of the Garden state polled agree that the show is fiction, 16 per cent aren’t so sure. There are no further details about whether this apparently credulous 16 per cent are wondering when that nice Nigerian man is going to deposit $25 million in their bank account.