No amount of fan devotion or revival campaigns could save Jericho from the number of obstacles it went up against to stay on the air.
Jericho is the show that just won’t die. Not many series get canceled twice and continue to live on with such aggressive devotion 13 years later. The post-apocalyptic series debuted in 2006 and followed the residents of the fictional town Jericho, Kansas, in the aftermath of a nuclear attack on the United States that hit 23 major cities. Much of the plot focused on surviving in an isolated world and on the mystery of who set off the blasts. The series aired on CBS but got canceled after just one season, with poor ratings cited as the reason; however, a fan campaign that involved nutty fans sending hordes of nuts to CBS headquarters managed to get it up and running again.
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In 2007, Jericho was given a seven-episode Season 2 order, but it still wasn’t enough. The cult series was canceled again in 2008, poor ratings once again the blame. The Season 2 finale had just an estimated 6.02 million viewers, a slight but still significant loss from the numbers that watched the Season 1 finale. The show just wasn’t popular enough for people to tune in on a weekly basis.
Poor ratings are just a fraction of the story though. In truth, the world just wasn’t ready for Jericho. If it had premiered maybe five years later it might’ve gone on to have a proper conclusion, getting many more seasons in the process. The series was one of the many that suffered when networks’ decided to split seasons in half creating the “mid-season finale,” in order to cram new shows in between the time-slots. Jericho lost about two million viewers during its mid-season hiatus on November 29, 2006, and continued downwards from there.
Season 2 also happened to air during the 2007-08 Writers Strike and even though it didn’t affect the show directly, the likelihood that it had a negative impact on its chances for a revival is high.
The series continued on in comic book form as the creators of Jericho were determined to finish the storylines. “Season 3” was published in a six-part comic book series titled Jericho Season 3: Civil War in 2011, designed and written by the Jericho production and writing team. “Season 4” eventually followed in a five-issue story, published in 2012 and written by Kalinda Vazquez.
Around 2012, Netflix offered to relaunch the series and finally make its long-prayed for Season 3 a reality but CBS turned them down, leading many fans to believe the network has plans to bring the show back on their own platform — CBS All Access. If that’s the case then now would be the best time. The leading man of Jericho, Skeet Ulrich, has just recently departed from the CW series Riverdale, giving him an open schedule. In a 2017 interview with Random Roles from the AV Club, Ulrich discussed the reason behind CBS turning down the Netflix offer.
“We were close [to a third season] about four or five years ago. Karim Zreik, one of the producers, called me and said, ‘Netflix has a schedule, they have budget, they have locations. Are you in?’ I said, ‘Absolutely, with one proviso: That first script back has to time-jump five years, and the world has devolved way lower than we could ever have imagined.’ And they were on board with it. And CBS wouldn’t sell it. The deal wouldn’t work for them.” All this implies that CBS is indeed open to bringing the series back but on specific terms.
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