But it might be tough to pull off another Jericho
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I WANT YOU BACK: The apparent – and largely unprecedented – success of Jericho fans in bringing back their favorite show from the cancellation morgue has probably got a lot of fans speculating about doing the same thing for their favorite show, but the most earnest plea for some grassroots rally to save a show has to be a piece written by one Jack Myers for MediaPost’s TVBoard web site.
Myers is apparently a fan of shows that wear their politics on their sleeve, judging from his reverent, sidelong glances at other favorite shows like The West Wing and Boston Legal, Studio 60’s closest contemporaries in his opinion. “These series rank among only a handful of legendary politically, socially and culturally relevant TV programming: Edward R. Murrow; All in the Family; That Was the Week That Was; Rowan & Martin's Laugh-In; Ed Sullivan; Jack Paar; Bob Hope; Hill St. Blues; Law & Order; The West Wing. Each era has its few series that served as a platform for commentary on the state of the nation.”
Myers is upset at NBC’s slow, starving cancellation of the show, which was only confirmed as D.O.A. after it had slipped from the network’s schedule, and brought back just recently, in the hazy doldrums of early summer, to burn off leftover episodes. Critics loved the show, and there were no shortage of articles published during its terminal phase pointing out that, while the show was getting very low ratings, the handful of regular viewers were from an educated, high-income demographic – a factoid that was repeated constantly, almost as if they were trying to get NBC to believe that every viewer of Studio 60 would immediately go out and buy a car, life insurance, plane tickets, toothpaste, breakfast cereal and stereo equipment made by any company that advertised in the show, almost on principle.
Even Myers admits that the show wasn’t working: “The writers could never quite get the formula right; the fine line between political commentary and fictional narrative was crossed too many times. The story lines were muddled and uninspiring, the characters only marginally interesting and generally unsympathetic.” Still, it was important, dammit, and Myers strives mightily to make a case that its importance – a quality that you suspect it embodied mostly due to its high-minded aping of middle-class liberal sentiment – demands that it be returned to the schedule of a network struggling mightily to get out of fourth place.
“But behind it all there was the making of high art,” Myers writes, and you can almost feel the finger poking your chest. “There was the potential of greatness. The message that Studio 60 was delivering is important. It offered perspective from opposing political points-of-view. It acknowledged, fairly but with tacit judgment, the arguments that define many of America's greatest issues and most important conflicts.” Expect NBC to be deluged with subscriptions to The New Yorker by the end of the week.