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One LAST Post on Jericho

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March 29th, 2008

Jericho on CBS, Tuesdays at 10pmI'm gonna go cold turkey after this.  I wouldn't even write this except for getting an e-mail message about one of the comments I'd made on a Jericho post, where I said a part of me thinks Carol Barbee's actions are completely reprehensible.  That generated one very thoughtful response in e-mail.

The e-mail I received was basically a very nice way of asking me,  how and why I could say such a thing about Ms. Barbee.  Here is my response.

I'm usually OK with speculating (obviously), and sometimes - sometimes, I'm OK with just completely pulling stuff out of my...thin air.  But not when it comes to talking about shows and the people who love them. I know it will shock you with as much of a misanthrope as I can be that I actually care about people. 

It seemed to me that if I wanted to write about Jericho what would be right was to actually watch Jericho.  I made it through about the first 3/4th of season one, before conking out because for me, the pace was just to slow.  But then with encouragement from fans that the pace quickened pretty much right where I stopped, I finished them up.  I did enjoy the remainder of the episodes as well as season two.  So I'm writing this as someone who has seen every episode of Jericho (and I watched the finale twice!).

I also read whatever I could, followed the discussions on the CBS Jericho forum and have been following the discussions as they've migrated to SciFi.   To call the regulars of these forums passionate and determined is an understatement that doesn't give them nearly enough credit. Not nearly enough.  And heck, I don't blame them really because they did something practically impossible - they brought a show back from the dead pool.  It's a very, very impressive thing that the Jericho fans were able to pull off and I will not fault them for the spirit of "we did it before, we can do it again!"  I'd say, "no way, will they do it again," [and certainly have indeed said that] but in fairness, I would've said "no way!" that they could've done it last time.  But they did.

But there's a problem and there's a reason why I am judging Ms. Barbee's character harshly and find her actions reprehensible and at least a little cruel: Ms. Barbee has all the data.  She knows all, when it comes to Jericho.  Including what is going on in the CBS and SciFi discussion boards.

UPDATE: I have received two messages that Schumi07 referenced here is not leading the chage and although did post one of the messages linked above, the charges are being led by GenPatton43 on the CBS Jericho Boards, by Mikesmom71 on JerichoNet2.  I'm not going to change the original post, but wanted to set the record straight.  And thanks to Steve W for a lot of info on the fan campaigns which is now at the bottom of this post.

There is  very determined woman on the CBS boards who goes by the moniker of Schumi07.

Schumi seems to be leading the "what to do next" push, and Schumi did a little research and some back of the envelope number crunching and concluded with a million downloads a week of a Jericho episode off of iTunes, if CBS' cut on the deal is 65%, 65% of $1.99 million= $1.3 million which would cover like 1/2  the production cost of a new episode.  So Schumi's logic is if you could get half of your show paid for like that, why wouldn't you? 

So she's recommending a letter writing campaign letting CBS Paramount Network Television (not the broadcast network that aired Jericho, but the production/distribution company with the rights to the show) letting them know you downloaded the show via iTunes or Amazon's Unbox and whether you'd pay for a DVD of a Jericho movie.

The thing is, if a million people were downloading new episodes of Jericho from the Internet at $1.99 per, this would be an exceptionally good case to make.  The problem is there are nowhere near a million downloads a week on iTunes for Jericho.  If it hits 10% of that I'd be surprised, but whatever it is, it's very, very far south of one million purchases per new episode.

And Ms. Barbee of course knows this and this is why I made the "reprehensible" comment.  The way I see it, a kind and compassionate Ms. Barbee would reach out to the fans right on the CBS site and say:

Fans, I love you for loving our show so much.  We all really appreciate it and I'm trying to find a way to get the show made, somehow, someway.  But sadly, we had nowhere near a million downloads of each new episode at $1.99, and anyone you write to, and anyone we'll try to work with will know that, so again, sadly, that's not the answer.  Again, I tremendously appreciate your loyalty and passion about Jericho, and hope we'll find a way to save it.  But I wouldn't want to give you any false hope that the show will be saved based on download revenues as based on the actual numbers, that doesn't seem likely.

I'll grant that there's no real upside from Ms. Barbee's perspective to post such a thing, even if I, Robert Seidman happen to think that would be the kind and compassionate way to treat the loyal fans.  I don't mind the notion of trying to give fans hope, but I do mind the notion of "false hope", and when it comes to revenue based on Internet downloads, that's all it is. 

So Ms. Barbee is a lot more OK with letting the fans spin their wheels than I am.  I understand it on one level.  While I doubt any sort of a letter writing campaign will succeed this time around, if SciFi gets pummeled with a million letters, they will take notice.  If they're pummeled with 12,500 letters?  Not so much.  And sadly, as with iTunes downloads, the actual number of people who'll mail a letter is far, far south of a million.   Still, I'd go so far as to venture more people downloaded off of iTunes then will write a letter to get the show saved.

To Carol Barbee I say: shame on you!  Shame on you for giving your fans false hope like that. Shame on you for letting them spin their wheels.  Shame on you for not treating them with respect and compassion when they have been so, so loyal to you.   Still, for all my "shame on you", I absolutely do understand.  And hope that for the fan's sake you're able to pull off a miracle and I wind up having to wash your car and cut your grass for a year.

A P.S. to Schumi, should she ever read this:  I have a lot of respect for what you're trying to do and how determined you are, and hope once again, against all odds, you're able to pull off a miracle.  Good luck! 

-

Here are all the Save Jericho initiatives in place as provided from Steve W. mentioned above:

Homebase - The New Save Jericho Campaign Thread

http://jerichoboard.cbs.com/n/pfx/forum.aspx?tsn=1&nav=messages&webtag=CBSMBJericho&tid=25334

Thanks to Junction / Jericho Team (and how to help)

http://jerichoboard.cbs.com/n/pfx/forum.aspx?tsn=1&nav=messages&webtag=CBSMBJericho&tid=25430

Postcards to CBS/Paramount for Jericho

http://jerichoboard.cbs.com/n/pfx/forum.aspx?tsn=1&nav=messages&webtag=CBSMBJericho&tid=23833

        Postcard Art for CBS Paramount

        http://jerichoboard.cbs.com/n/pfx/forum.aspx?tsn=1&nav=messages&webtag=CBSMBJericho&tid=25319

        http://jerichoboard.cbs.com/n/pfx/forum.aspx?tsn=1&nav=messages&webtag=CBSMBJericho&tid=24208

New Step - Media Interaction

http://jerichoboard.cbs.com/n/pfx/forum.aspx?tsn=1&nav=messages&webtag=CBSMBJericho&tid=25427

        International Media Contacts

        http://www.jerichonet2.com/board/showthread.php?p=9646#post9646

        National Media Contacts

        http://www.jerichonet2.com/board/showthread.php?p=9649#post9649

I think WE started a war

http://jerichoboard.cbs.com/n/pfx/forum.aspx?tsn=1&nav=messages&webtag=CBSMBJericho&tid=25011

Write to Nance Tellem at Paramount

http://www.jerichonet2.com/board/showthread.php?t=1170

Write to Sci Fi Channel (with sample letters)

http://www.jerichonet2.com/board/showthread.php?t=1071
Templates for Stationary, Labels & Postcards
http://www.jerichonet2.com/board/showthread.php?t=1161

Addresses:  Paramount, Sci Fi, CW, Carol, Karim
http://www.jerichonet2.com/board/showthread.php?t=1170
Sci-Fi Poll (Must pick 5 from each category, write in Jericho as your 6th choice under TV)
http://www.scifi.com/visions/poll/index.html

If you sent letters/postcards to CBS/Paramount/Sci Fi Channel - tell us here

http://jerichoboard.cbs.com/n/pfx/forum.aspx?tsn=1&nav=messages&webtag=CBSMBJericho&tid=25444

 
  • Joseph

    This is the sadest thing I have ever seen, I urge you to help us not make this your last post.

  • Joseph

    This is the sadest thing I have ever seen, I urge you to help us not make this your last post.

  • Joseph

    This is the sadest thing I have ever seen, I urge you to help us not make this your last post.

  • http://tvbythenumbers.com Robert Seidman

    Joseph, if I had some kind of magic going on for me where I could figure out how to cut the production costs in half and keep Skeet, Lennie, Brad, Alicia et al, happy and have the show placed on SciFi, I would.

    I don't have that kind of rabbit to pull out of my hat though :(

    I think for the most part at this point my posts are just upsetting the fans, not encouraging them and I don't really think I have any more to say on the subject other than I still can't wait to see the unaired cliffhanger.

  • http://tvbythenumbers.com Robert Seidman

    Joseph, if I had some kind of magic going on for me where I could figure out how to cut the production costs in half and keep Skeet, Lennie, Brad, Alicia et al, happy and have the show placed on SciFi, I would.

    I don't have that kind of rabbit to pull out of my hat though :(

    I think for the most part at this point my posts are just upsetting the fans, not encouraging them and I don't really think I have any more to say on the subject other than I still can't wait to see the unaired cliffhanger.

  • http://tvbythenumbers.com Robert Seidman

    Joseph, if I had some kind of magic going on for me where I could figure out how to cut the production costs in half and keep Skeet, Lennie, Brad, Alicia et al, happy and have the show placed on SciFi, I would.

    I don’t have that kind of rabbit to pull out of my hat though :(

    I think for the most part at this point my posts are just upsetting the fans, not encouraging them and I don’t really think I have any more to say on the subject other than I still can’t wait to see the unaired cliffhanger.

  • Jason

    I certainly hope this is your last post as I dont see what you are gaining from this.

  • Jason

    I certainly hope this is your last post as I dont see what you are gaining from this.

  • Jason

    I certainly hope this is your last post as I dont see what you are gaining from this.

  • Joseph

    Thanks Robert it's not over yet read this
    http://www.huliq.com/55275/jericho-fans-attack-
    There is also more then 12,000 signatures on a petition for Sci-Fi to pick Jericho up.
    Still cant wait to see that cliffhanger

  • Joseph

    Thanks Robert it's not over yet read this
    http://www.huliq.com/55275/jericho-fans-attack-
    There is also more then 12,000 signatures on a petition for Sci-Fi to pick Jericho up.
    Still cant wait to see that cliffhanger

  • Joseph

    Thanks Robert it’s not over yet read this
    http://www.huliq.com/55275/jericho-fans-attack-nielsen-ratings-over-second-cancellation
    There is also more then 12,000 signatures on a petition for Sci-Fi to pick Jericho up.
    Still cant wait to see that cliffhanger

  • Raijin

    Has anyone ever seen a credible number for itunes downloads for any show? What numbers are we talking about?

    If it really were breaching a million, it would be a huge deal. Unfortunately no one yet cares for things like it's “number 1 on itunes this week”. The dreaded Nielsens still rule everything.

  • Raijin

    Has anyone ever seen a credible number for itunes downloads for any show? What numbers are we talking about?

    If it really were breaching a million, it would be a huge deal. Unfortunately no one yet cares for things like it's “number 1 on itunes this week”. The dreaded Nielsens still rule everything.

  • Raijin

    Has anyone ever seen a credible number for itunes downloads for any show? What numbers are we talking about?

    If it really were breaching a million, it would be a huge deal. Unfortunately no one yet cares for things like it’s “number 1 on itunes this week”. The dreaded Nielsens still rule everything.

  • plasmatron

    Everyone should understand that Robert is only doing his job, which is to get eyeballs to tvbynumbers.com. The more clicks on this site and its related links, the more money it makes and the greater its financial value. To this end, Robert is merely doing what any of you would do to achieve that goal. If I knew there was a rabid pack of Jericho fans who are mobilized to post comments, I'd try to rile them up as well, even if I didn't agree with what I was writing. Because the only comments that matter are those that draw more eyeballs and clicks to a website. That said, Robert is also a good writer. Not a great one, but a good one. But heck, this isn't Entertainment Weekly. It's tvbythenumbers.com. So everyone, take a breath before responding with a comment. And applaud Robert for even writing about Jericho. If everyone stopped writing about it, the show would truly be dead.

  • plasmatron

    Everyone should understand that Robert is only doing his job, which is to get eyeballs to tvbynumbers.com. The more clicks on this site and its related links, the more money it makes and the greater its financial value. To this end, Robert is merely doing what any of you would do to achieve that goal. If I knew there was a rabid pack of Jericho fans who are mobilized to post comments, I'd try to rile them up as well, even if I didn't agree with what I was writing. Because the only comments that matter are those that draw more eyeballs and clicks to a website. That said, Robert is also a good writer. Not a great one, but a good one. But heck, this isn't Entertainment Weekly. It's tvbythenumbers.com. So everyone, take a breath before responding with a comment. And applaud Robert for even writing about Jericho. If everyone stopped writing about it, the show would truly be dead.

  • plasmatron

    Everyone should understand that Robert is only doing his job, which is to get eyeballs to tvbynumbers.com. The more clicks on this site and its related links, the more money it makes and the greater its financial value. To this end, Robert is merely doing what any of you would do to achieve that goal. If I knew there was a rabid pack of Jericho fans who are mobilized to post comments, I’d try to rile them up as well, even if I didn’t agree with what I was writing. Because the only comments that matter are those that draw more eyeballs and clicks to a website. That said, Robert is also a good writer. Not a great one, but a good one. But heck, this isn’t Entertainment Weekly. It’s tvbythenumbers.com. So everyone, take a breath before responding with a comment. And applaud Robert for even writing about Jericho. If everyone stopped writing about it, the show would truly be dead.

  • http://tvbythenumbers.com Robert Seidman

    @Jason, if nothing else it served to gain an understanding from Joseph of why I won't likely write another post :)

    @Raijin, I have from credible sources (more than one) that it doesn't take even 10,000 downloads of a show to put it among the iTunes top TV shows downloaded.

    If there were even 250,000 weekly downloads of new episodes generating $500K in gross revenue on a regular basis, CBS would've issued press releases about it on a regular basis. And I'd agree even that would be a pretty big deal and at a million a HUGE deal.

    The world is changing, but for sure right now most of the world still prefers to watch TV in their living rooms — even if I did watch most of Jericho Season One on my iPhone.

    and for the record, I bought season one from iTunes ($29.99) so I definitely “gave to the cause”. ;)

  • http://tvbythenumbers.com Robert Seidman

    @Jason, if nothing else it served to gain an understanding from Joseph of why I won't likely write another post :)

    @Raijin, I have from credible sources (more than one) that it doesn't take even 10,000 downloads of a show to put it among the iTunes top TV shows downloaded.

    If there were even 250,000 weekly downloads of new episodes generating $500K in gross revenue on a regular basis, CBS would've issued press releases about it on a regular basis. And I'd agree even that would be a pretty big deal and at a million a HUGE deal.

    The world is changing, but for sure right now most of the world still prefers to watch TV in their living rooms — even if I did watch most of Jericho Season One on my iPhone.

    and for the record, I bought season one from iTunes ($29.99) so I definitely “gave to the cause”. ;)

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