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Jericho: The Television Show That Won’t Die

by @ 4:24 pm on March 25, 2008. Filed under Jericho, Television

CBS may have announced last week that Jericho was being canceled yet again, but that doesn’t mean that the end is really here:

Carol Barbee, executive producer of CBS’ canceled post-apocalyptic series Jericho, told SCI FI Wire that talks are ongoing to find the show another home, perhaps on a cable network.

“I can’t really say [much] about specifics, and, … partially, it’s because I’m not the one having those conversations,” Barbee said in an interview on March 24, the eve of the show’s final episode. “[CBS] Paramount [Television, which produces the show,] has been pursing it, and our agents have been into that, so, you know, I am pushing those people and coming up with ideas to have those people pursue.”

Barbee wouldn’t offer details about any talks. “There were several ideas that have been floated, and there was some interest, but we’ll have to see,” she said. “It wasn’t something that could be sewn up before we were going to air the finale. … It would have been better had we been able to announce one with the other, but it just didn’t happen that fast.”

(…)

If Jericho is not picked up for another season by a TV network, Barbee said that she could envision it living on in some other form. “There’s definitely an Internet series to be had, and we always talked about a graphic novel, and … a movie,” Barbee said. “I mean, there are lots of things that I could easily see as a way to continue the story.”

But time may be running out. Jericho wrapped its second season of episodes back in November, just as the writers’ strike was beginning. Since then, the cast and crew have been freed to pursue other projects, and the show’s sets and backlot have been dismantled and either destroyed or put into storage. Barbee herself has moved on to another series, Swingtown, created by Jericho alumnus Mike Kelley, about the lives of couples experimenting with sexual and social mores in a 1970s Chicago suburb, which will air on CBS this summer and is shooting on the same stages once occupied by Jericho.

So there is hope, but it doesn’t seem like there’s a lot of it.

The idea of moving to a cable network, like SciFi or TNT, has been suggested by a few people, but there are problems with that strategy.

First of all, the cable networks do not have budgets that come anywhere CBS can afford to put forward for a single show. One of the biggest problem with Season Two has been the fact that the low budget forced the writers to make cutbacks that became obvious — characters that disappeared for an episode or two only to pop up at the weirdest moments, and a lot of scenes that consisted of little more than dialog between two people (or, in the case of Hawkins and “John Smith”, one guy and his cell phone). If anything, the budget would be an even bigger issue at a cable network. Second, most of the cable networks shoot their shows in places other than Los Angeles and it’s unclear whether the writers and actors would want to move with the production. Finally, any move is going to result in a loss of viewers and a loss of continuity.

I liked Jericho. It wasn’t a great television show, but it was different from anything else that was on and it had a compelling storyline. It’s too bad it didn’t do better.

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