Thursday, June 07, 2007

The Uprising

The fans of Jericho have succeeded. The NUTS campaign (which reportedly sent 20 TONS of nuts to CBS) convinced the network to give Jericho a second season order for seven episodes (expect some characters to disappear or die suddenly when it returns -- they had to cut budget in order to do this).

Now, watching the success of this campaign, some Veronica Mars fans are emboldened. Introducing the Mars for Mars campaign! $1.79 will get you a Mars bar sent to the CW (and right now it's free shipping).

This news comes from Aint It Cool News. The poster of this story muses that if each fan gave $2 upfront to pay for an episode, (with supposedly at least 1 million viewers) they could have $2 million per episode budget. I talked about this kind of subscription model during the Geekerati show on Monday night. I don't think the timing is right for this yet, but I wouldn't be surprised to see some lower budget indie-type show financed in this way.

There is one big difference between Jericho and Veronica Mars -- Jericho had at least 7 million viewers when it pulled the plug. The first six or seven episodes had at least 10 million. Veronica Mars season high of viewers: 3 million. It's a steeper hill to climb to convince CW to renew Mars. The only promising news I can give you is that Rob Thomas had a concept for a 'reboot' of the show for another season, and the CW is pretty hard up for content right now.

This is all very interesting. Some shows have been saved before through the sheer devotion of fans, but this strikes me as a potential paradigm shift. The fans are going to need to do more than send nuts or candy bars to support their show, however. A show needs viewers. These fans are going to need to find a way to recruit new viewers (or reenlist old ones) to keep the show's ratings from sinking again. That requires a lot more commitment than clicking a 'buy' button at an internet store.

Will a viral campaign from fans work? Time will tell.

1 comment:

Bill Cunningham said...

I kind of liked the reboot idea he had - placing VM in the FBI. Besides the idea that it fits into the show's theme song ("A long time ago, We used to be friends..."), Veronica has gone up against the FBI. It would be nice to see her working with "the enemy."