Sunday, March 9, 2008
Saving Jericho: Season 3
I posted an interview with Bjo Trimble last month. Bjo and her husband are the folks who initiated the Save Star Trek campaign and it worked. I asked Bjo,"If you had a show you wanted to save from cancellation today how would you employ the internet?"
"First,says Bjo," petitions on the Internet are totally useless. Nobody in charge of anything will pay any attention to them. They are too easy to set up and be run by one person. Anybody could be writing names on a list, not necessarily all those names you see on the petition. So forget Internet petitions."
Michael Hinman of SyFy Portal agrees and says,"Don't do online petitions. They mean absolutely nothing, and are just a waste of time."
"Second,says Bjo, "The Powers That Be will never see your email letter unless you are very, very good at letter-writing, Bjo says. "TPTB pay people a lot of money to avoid hearing directly from you. They love getting threatening letters because they can show the news media what kind of NUTS enjoy the show they are planning to cancel. They won’t believe you if you say you’ll buy their product all your life. They won’t believe you if you say you’ll never buy their product as long as you live. Mainly, they just don’t care because there are millions of people Out There who will buy their product whether or not they maintain or cancel any given TV show.
The main thing to do in a letter campaign is to not stop with the studio and network executives. Make a list of local and nationwide sponsors while you watch the show. Ask your Library Information Service where to find the corporate addresses for those sponsors. Many sponsors are paying for a time slot and often have no idea what they are sponsoring. They will be shocked and upset to get a complaint letter that a favorite show is being canceled. Sponsors hate to have unhappy potential customers! They will do much of your job for you by directly phoning the network TPTB and finding out why a show with this many fans is being canceled.
The network, and subsequently the studio, will now be faced by an irate sponsor rather than a bunch of anxious fans. This is a far stronger appeal! Hit ‘em in the pocketbook, and people pay attention.
The thing to do is to send an appealing email that is so interesting or so cute (don’t go overboard on this!) that it gets passed around the office. Maybe TPTB will never see it, but – and here’s the strength of email – a whole lot of other people in that company will see it. And some of them will think, “Gee, I have a friend who is a fan of this show and I bet he/she would enjoy this letter.” So since it’s not strictly a business letter, they send it out of the company, and it gets picked up and sent to a whole lot of other fans. Those fans pick it up and send it on to other fans…. And so on and so on and so on. Why would this work? Because the letter is reaching a whole lot of people who will be inspired to write their own letter, and the circle continues.
The lovely thing about the Internet is that all this can be done in an afternoon by each individual instead of raising a major in-home letter campaign that will take weeks and weeks to get off the ground. So fans of a show have no excuse whatsoever for just bitching about cancellation when they can actually do something about it!"
In addition, Michael says, "DO use e-mail to contact newspapers, TV Guide, news sites, and the like. Get them to notice that there is a groundswell of support again, and ask them to start covering this campaign now, because a decision is imminent."
"Find bullet points on what to talk about, and incorporate those bullet points IN YOUR OWN WORDS. Don't do form letters. This has to be a letter from the heart. Don't attack CBS, but at the same time, make sure you say more than "If you cancel this, I won' watch CBS ever again," because those letters will accomplish nothing. Talk about how "Big Brother" is the worst possible lead-in for "Jericho," and how its scheduling overall may have hurt the show, adds Michael.