'Jericho' Returns, CBS Credits Hard-Core Fans
"It's up to them," said Nina Tassler, president of entertainment for CBS, speaking at the Television Critics Association semi-annual summer meeting. "[It] had such a complex and layered campaign. I personally got 6,000 emails. They had knowledge about the show that was so detailed."
While CBS executives, including Tassler, say it is now up to fans to encourage word of mouth for the show, the network won't provide any specific directions or marketing materials, since that discourages word of mouth and viral marketing.
In one of the first reports on commercial ratings, "Jericho" had one of the highest viewer retention rates in its commercials, relative to its program content, on CBS. For the first four months of 2007, Nielsen Npower data says viewership of the "Jericho" spots was actually 1% higher than the show's program content.
Tassler said the decision to bring back the show had nothing to do with this data--or any specific viewer response data.
Regarding Mandy Patinkin's sudden departure from "Criminal Minds," Tassler would only say it was a personal decision on Patinkin's part. She didn't say whether Patinkin's character would be replaced.
Critics had concerns about CBS' highly touted musical drama "Viva Laughlin" and its time slot--sandwiched on Sunday at 8 p.m. between the longtime news show "60 minutes" and "Cold Case." Tassler says "Viva" attracts a wide range of viewers and has an association with "Cold Case." "There is a strong musical element in "Cold Case" as well," she says.
"Viva Laughlin" will get a special push out of the gate on Thursday, Oct. 18 at 10 p.m., following "CSI." Then it starts in its usual time slot on Sunday, Oct. 21.
Tassler hopes controversy with the network's fall shows will generate viewership--especially with "Swingtown," about swinging couples in the 1970s, and reality show "Kid Nation," in which kids run an abandoned Western town.
She says the desire for public debate may come out of the net's "Jericho" experience. "Maybe it's about the audience that really talks to each other."