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The Drama of Carol Barbee: Can a Dallas Moment Save Jericho?

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March 23rd, 2008

Skeet Ulrich as Jake on JerichoWhile I would be the first in line to say that putting shows on a 3 month hiatus isn't good for ratings and that CBS botched that - as NBC did with Heroes last year, as ABC did by holding out LOST until January of this year, etc., the 'Jericho ain't over until Carol Barbee says it's over' line of thinking is almost certainly complete nonsense. At least if CBS is actually airing the "tie it all up, no cliffhanger" series finale.

It's not completely untenable for Barbee and the crew at Jericho, assuming they can find a home. There's a way around it and it has been done once and by a CBS show to boot. Dallas. Dallas ended its 1984-1985 season by running over Bobby Ewing with a car and killing him right on the screen. Patrick Duffy wanted out so he could be a star, and they took him...out.

Dallas is one of the primary reasons I don't buy into the HUT/PUT as much as the average lemming. This is the same old school legacy thinking that causes some to obsess over lead-in. The data is in. Lead-in just ain't that big a deal. It's not that lead in is never important. If the Super Bowl is your lead-in, it's a big deal. If American Idol is your lead-in, it's a bigger deal than if it wasn't, but more than 50% of the AI viewers will tune out anyway. Remote control rules all and once we didn't have to get up off our butts to change the channel the world changed and lead-in became vastly less significant. Many whine about the low HUT/PUT on Fridays, but in the glory days of my youth (I was 22 when the Dallas 1984-85 season ran) Dallas was the #2 show for the whole season with a 24.7 household rating and a 37 share to boot. On a Friday.
And Then Pam Woke UpBut after killing off Bobby, Dallas fell to 6th place for the 1985-86 season with a 21.8/35. Back then a drop of almost 3 ratings points sent the network executives into a panicked frenzy (ah, the good old days!). Fortunately, Patrick Duffy's (who played JR's little brother Bobby) movie career didn't take off like he'd hoped and so they figured out a way to bring him back. When Pamela Jean Barnes Ewing (played by the lovely Victoria Principal) wakes up at the end of the finale of the 1985-1986 season, she sees not her new husband (she remarried kind of quick after Bobby's demise), but none other than Bobby himself coming out of the shower and wishing her a good morning. The show ends and huge, huge props to the Dallas producers for the end credits which listed "Starring Patrick Duffy As: ?"

I LOVED the question mark. I didn't like the handy dandy tidy way they solved all of that at the beginning of the 1986-1987 season though when it turns out Pam had dreamed the entire 1985-1986 season (other than Bobby wishing her a good morning with a towel wrapped around him).

If the series finale aired for Jericho ties things up so much that it makes it hard to continue the show, they can do the dream deus ex machina thing and it will be way easier than it was for Dallas to handle. Dallas suffered all kinds of plotline and continuity issues as a result, not to mention that Bobby's death was also written into the story of spinoff Knots Landing. Still, it was probably a good move for CBS, ratings held on fairly steady for the next 2 years before dropping out of the top 20 and then ending its run a couple of years later. But Dallas was a show with huge ratings. It averaged a 31.2/52 (household rating/share) for the 1980-1981 season. Those were different times. Jericho could conceivably pull it off much easier than Dallas - they'd only have to have one episode as a dream. I don't love the solution, but if that's the best way to continue the storyline, undo the "series" finale and get the show back on the air somewhere picking up where it left off last Tuesday? Fine by me.

I don't see the dream scenario as a likely means for Jericho to land on another network. So unless CBS is fibbing a little bit about which episode its airing, I think this Tuesday marks the last new episode of Jericho we'll ever see anywhere. But I reserve the right to change my mind once I've actually seen the finale. I will definitely be watching.

Nielsen TV Ratings Data: ©1980-2008 Nielsen Media Research, Inc. All Rights Reserved.

 
  • http://TVoholic.com fred

    I disagree with the mention on ABC holding out Lost until January as an example of a bad hiatus thing. It was always planned to come back late, even later than that I think had there been no strike, and I have no problem with it.

    It's just like Fox holding on 24, in order to allow the season to air without reruns or any kind of hiatus, and that is good!

    What's killing shows is putting awfully long hiatus within a season, like CBS did with Jericho last season, or ABC with last season on Lost, airing 6 episodes and then having us wait for weeks and weeks and weeks before it got back.

    Anyays, from what I read the ending CBS will air isn't a “tie it all up, no cliffhanger”, just a “no cliffhanger” one, but not everything will be resolved. One had a cliffhanger and opened things for another season, the other one – that CBS will air – it meant to work as a series finale but not without leaving a few things open so that there still could be something after, like say another season or another network…

  • http://TVoholic.com fred

    I disagree with the mention on ABC holding out Lost until January as an example of a bad hiatus thing. It was always planned to come back late, even later than that I think had there been no strike, and I have no problem with it.

    It’s just like Fox holding on 24, in order to allow the season to air without reruns or any kind of hiatus, and that is good!

    What’s killing shows is putting awfully long hiatus within a season, like CBS did with Jericho last season, or ABC with last season on Lost, airing 6 episodes and then having us wait for weeks and weeks and weeks before it got back.

    Anyays, from what I read the ending CBS will air isn’t a “tie it all up, no cliffhanger”, just a “no cliffhanger” one, but not everything will be resolved. One had a cliffhanger and opened things for another season, the other one – that CBS will air – it meant to work as a series finale but not without leaving a few things open so that there still could be something after, like say another season or another network…

  • Danielle

    I hope CBS is fibbing about what ending they're showing. Even if they do show the finale tie up episode, there is still hope for another network. Not much hope, but some.

  • Danielle

    I hope CBS is fibbing about what ending they’re showing. Even if they do show the finale tie up episode, there is still hope for another network. Not much hope, but some.

  • Mike B

    If there was a strong possibility to find another home, I wonder if the production company has thought about suing CBS to enjoin it from showing the series finale. If showing the finale would prevent the company from reaching an agreement somewhere else, that would likely qualify as irreparable harm to justify an injunction against CBS.

  • Mike B

    If there was a strong possibility to find another home, I wonder if the production company has thought about suing CBS to enjoin it from showing the series finale. If showing the finale would prevent the company from reaching an agreement somewhere else, that would likely qualify as irreparable harm to justify an injunction against CBS.

  • http://www.crisscrossmania.com/ jerichofan12

    ‘Jericho ain’t over until Carol Barbee says it’s over’

    I can say until we hear from her then we will continue to try and help this great show out

  • http://www.crisscrossmania.com/ jerichofan12

    ‘Jericho ain’t over until Carol Barbee says it’s over’

    I can say until we hear from her then we will continue to try and help this great show out

  • http://www.crisscrossmania.com/ jerichofan12

    ‘Jericho ain’t over until Carol Barbee says it’s over’

    I can say until we hear from her then we will continue to try and help this great show out

  • christinek

    This is such sad news.Jericho is the only show that I will go out of my way to watch.Boo to CBS.

  • christinek

    This is such sad news.Jericho is the only show that I will go out of my way to watch.Boo to CBS.

  • christinek

    This is such sad news.Jericho is the only show that I will go out of my way to watch.Boo to CBS.

  • Aurelius

    I agree with Fred. It has been implied that the non-cliffhanger ending will not be as definitive as to prevent a series continuation (though this doesn’t really matter atm). They left so many plot points hanging it is unlikely they will be all resolved in the series finale. Especially the revolution stuff: I highly doubt they’ll start one and end it in only one episode.

  • Aurelius

    I agree with Fred. It has been implied that the non-cliffhanger ending will not be as definitive as to prevent a series continuation (though this doesn't really matter atm). They left so many plot points hanging it is unlikely they will be all resolved in the series finale. Especially the revolution stuff: I highly doubt they'll start one and end it in only one episode.

  • Aurelius

    I agree with Fred. It has been implied that the non-cliffhanger ending will not be as definitive as to prevent a series continuation (though this doesn't really matter atm). They left so many plot points hanging it is unlikely they will be all resolved in the series finale. Especially the revolution stuff: I highly doubt they'll start one and end it in only one episode.

  • andrew

    It’s an interesting theory, Robert, but if it means; in any way, changing what has happened in the 7 episodes fans fought for, I say no. CBS is definitely holding which finale they are going to air over our heads not to tease the fans, but to attract non-fans and viewers in general. It’s a smart move, but I’m not sure if it’ll work to Jericho’s benefit since they’ve already axed the show again, but they should air the cliffhanger out of respect to the shows writers, producers, and cast who may not be ready to throw in the towel yet. While chances are slim that another network may want to pick it up, that possibility should not be eliminated. In the end, it’s not up to CBS to decide Jericho’s fate; it’s up to Carol and Jon.

  • andrew

    It's an interesting theory, Robert, but if it means; in any way, changing what has happened in the 7 episodes fans fought for, I say no. CBS is definitely holding which finale they are going to air over our heads not to tease the fans, but to attract non-fans and viewers in general. It's a smart move, but I'm not sure if it'll work to Jericho's benefit since they've already axed the show again, but they should air the cliffhanger out of respect to the shows writers, producers, and cast who may not be ready to throw in the towel yet. While chances are slim that another network may want to pick it up, that possibility should not be eliminated. In the end, it's not up to CBS to decide Jericho's fate; it's up to Carol and Jon.

  • andrew

    It's an interesting theory, Robert, but if it means; in any way, changing what has happened in the 7 episodes fans fought for, I say no. CBS is definitely holding which finale they are going to air over our heads not to tease the fans, but to attract non-fans and viewers in general. It's a smart move, but I'm not sure if it'll work to Jericho's benefit since they've already axed the show again, but they should air the cliffhanger out of respect to the shows writers, producers, and cast who may not be ready to throw in the towel yet. While chances are slim that another network may want to pick it up, that possibility should not be eliminated. In the end, it's not up to CBS to decide Jericho's fate; it's up to Carol and Jon.

  • N2N2

    Carol Barbee et al. have said that they are shopping the show to other networks, so it would stand to reason that whatever the “series” finale is – it does not tie up the entire story, but merely the second season story line only. Many of the plot lines were sacrificed to a 7 episode season. There are many avenues to pursue.

    It ain’t over til it’s over!

  • N2N2

    Carol Barbee et al. have said that they are shopping the show to other networks, so it would stand to reason that whatever the “series” finale is – it does not tie up the entire story, but merely the second season story line only. Many of the plot lines were sacrificed to a 7 episode season. There are many avenues to pursue.

    It ain't over til it's over!

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