Carol Barbee, the executive producer of CBS’s off-again on-again Jericho, spoke with TV Guide recently about what’s in store for the upcoming shortened second season, and what might follow afterwards:
The fate of CBS’ Jericho after its second season, tentatively scheduled to launch in January, may still be up in the air. But Carol Barbee has a contingency plan. The executive producer shot an alternate ending in case the Eye decides to cancel the show for a second time.
“The ending that we planned was always meant to be a payoff for the seven-episode arc,” Barbee told TV Guide at Wednesday night’s Jericho Season 1 DVD release party. “It won’t close off the whole story but it will show you where we would go in a third season.” If the show isn’t renewed, “It gives you a huge mythology so that you understand so much about what has happened,” she says.
In the meantime, the next time we see Jericho, the town will, again, be in total chaos. “We leave on the brink of war with New Bern,” said Barbee. “The government has broken up into factions and there are several people claiming to be the legitimate government. One of them is in Cheyenne, Wyoming, so the Cheyenne government comes to town.”
What happens next is a mystery but Barbee did reveal that “they’re there to stop the war with New Bern but they’re also there for a secret agenda.” That agenda includes finding Hawkins, who used a tracking device in the Season 1 finale before realizing it could be traced.
“They don’t know that they’re hunting Hawkins,” says Barbee. “But they know they’re hunting what they call a terrorist with a nuclear bomb. So Jake is going to have to help Hawkins stay out of the clutches of the Cheyenne government.”
It sounds like the storyline they’re working on is promising. The question is whether they’ll get the ratings they need to get CBS to give them a chance at a full third season. The fact that Barbee has a series finale mapped out as a contingency plan seems to be an indication that they’re planning for the worst.
Given the relative lack of promotion for this week’s release of the Season One DVD, the signs don’t look great:
The first season of Jericho hit DVD this week but you’d never know it looking around. Considering all the fuss that surrounded the series a couple of months ago, I would have expected parades, national news coverage, and a hard press by CBS that included banner ads during all of their shows, every other commercial spot, and integration into their other programming (“Hey, I know we’re always sitting around a bar and chatting but did any of you get a chance to check out season one of Jericho? It’s Legendary!). Instead, word surrounding the release is as quiet as if it really was isolated from the rest of the world.
Unless something changes, Jericho could be another one of those great ideas that never got the chance to come into its own.