Jericho (TV series)

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Jericho's intertitle
Format Drama, Science Fiction, Action
Starring see below
Country of origin USA
No. of seasons 2
No. of episodes 29 (List of episodes)
Producer(s) Jon Turteltaub
Stephen Chbosky
Carol Barbee
Karim Zreik
Running time approx. 43 minutes
Original channel CBS
Picture format 480i (SDTV)
1080i (HDTV)
Original run September 20, 2006 – March 25, 2008
External links
Official website

Jericho is an American serial drama that centers on the residents of the fictional town of Jericho, Kansas in the aftermath of nuclear attacks on 23 major cities in the contiguous United States. Produced by CBS Paramount Network Television, with executive producers Jon Turteltaub, Stephen Chbosky, and Carol Barbee, the show was broadcast in more than 30 countries.

The show ran on CBS from September 20, 2006 through March 25, 2008. It was initially canceled after its first full season due to poor ratings. While a fan campaign was able to convince the network to bring the show back for a seven-episode second season, it was canceled for a second time after that run. On November 20, 2008, TV Guide reported that the CW television network is planning to air repeats of Jericho in order to replace cancelled series Valentine.[1]

On January 15, 2009, Executive Producer Jon Turteltaub announced that he is developing a feature film version of the series. There are also plans to continue the story following the events of Season 2 in comic form.[2]


[edit] Synopsis

[edit] First Season

The storyline centers on the residents of Jericho, a small, rural Kansas town, in the aftermath of nuclear attacks on 23 major cities in the contiguous United States. The series begins with a visible nuclear detonation of unknown origin in nearby Denver, Colorado, and a loss of power and modern communications, effectively isolating Jericho. Later, power is restored to Jericho by what is alluded to as the efforts of the U.S. government, but soon after, an electromagnetic pulse (EMP) disables all electronics. Several themes regularly addressed in the show included the gathering of information, community identity, public order, limited resources, the value of family, hardships of fatherhood and internal and external threats. The show also features several mysteries involving the backgrounds of major characters, the perpetrators of the attack, and the extent of damage to the United States and its government.

The pivotal character in this story is Jake Green, the 32-year-old son of Mayor Johnston Green, who briefly returns home to claim his inheritance before becoming stranded as a result of the catastrophe. After a somewhat awkward return home and a tense reunion with his father, Jake steps up to become a leader in Jericho, fighting to protect the town and its citizens. As the people of Jericho struggle to survive in a changed world, most remain unaware that one of the newest residents, Robert Hawkins, knows a lot more about the attacks than he lets on.

[edit] Second season

The Cheyenne government's military forces have since restored order to Jericho and its surrounding region, putting an abrupt end to the conflict between Jericho and its rival town, New Bern. As a sense of normality returns to town, the plot shifts away from the day to day survivalist issues facing Jericho's inhabitants, to life and political intrigue under the new Cheyenne government.

Known only to Hawkins and a select few, the September attacks were neither a foreign nor domestic terrorist act, but a conspiracy of unknown perpetrators within the highest level of the former government. Hawkins must calculate his every move to avoid capture, to piece together the trail of evidence, and ultimately, to bring the truth to light before the conspiracy's mastermind buries it forever.

Meanwhile, Jericho's residents deal with the reality of the Cheyenne-backed government. Initially welcomed as saviors, the government's military and mercenary agents transform life in Jericho into a repressive police-state. When a J&R contractor's criminal actions leave one of Jericho's residents dead, the town is put on the edge of open revolt.

[edit] Characters

Jericho features an ensemble cast of characters, along with a number of minor and recurring roles. The series web site lists eleven cast members.[3] In addition, Alicia Coppola and Esai Morales moved from a recurring role to a regular character in February 2008. Gerald McRaney did not have a regular role in season two.[4][5]

[edit] Production

[edit] Early development

The series originated as a feature film idea of co-creators Jonathan Steinberg and Josh Schaer: a post-apocalyptic plot set amidst the trappings of "a little character drama" movie, in the vein of The Day After, Threads, and Testament. However, they soon realized that a two- or two-and-a-half-hour-long film would still not carry the necessary length they felt such a concept required to properly explore the setting and the characters — thus, Schaer and Steinberg decided instead to reconceive the entire project as a television series, producing a treatment out of the original feature screenplay. Director Jon Turteltaub and producer Carol Barbee then entered the picture, the pair having pitched the project to them. Turteltaub soon commissioned writer Stephen Chbosky to pen the pilot teleplay based upon Schaer and Steinberg's series treatment.

One of Chbosky's major contributions to the structure of the series was the introduction of a greater feminine element to the storyline, opining that, "[We] could use some girls, a little kissing, and some laughs." Another significant developmental influence were the four impacts of the September 11 attacks and Hurricane Katrina, and the sense of "[being] a spectator to a disaster, while not quite being part of it." Co-creator Steinberg in particular felt that after 9/11, the United States saw some of the "best of people," and after Hurricane Katrina, some of the "worst of people," and sought to include both in the fabric of Jericho, with Katrina providing "lots of inspiration" for the show's overall premise.[6]

[edit] Filming locations

Jericho is set in northwestern Kansas, but the series is filmed in Van Nuys, California.[7][8] The pilot and all episodes involving New Bern, Kansas, were filmed in Fillmore, California.[7][9] Filming also occurred in Pasadena, California, including in front of the city hall. The final episode to air included portions filmed at the Santa Anita race track. Some filming also took place in Canada. The commentary for some episodes on the Jericho Season 1 DVD includes the location of their filming.

[edit] First season

The first season of the show premiered Wednesday, September 20, 2006 and concluded with a cliffhanger episode on May 9, 2007. Lackluster ratings prompted concern, as the show hit a ratings low in early April.[10] The ratings were down 25% when the series returned following the nearly three-month hiatus.[11] During its first season, it ranked 48th, with an average of 9.5 million viewers in the United States. Other Wednesday night programs it competed with were Bones, Deal or No Deal, and ABC's comedy block.[12]

Though the producers seemed confident that the program would be picked up for a second season,[13] CBS officially announced Jericho's cancellation on May 16, 2007.[14][15][16]

Several online communities, including the official Jericho forums, launched campaigns in an effort to revive the show. Fans also sent just over 20 tons of nuts to CBS headquarters; this referred to a scene from the season one finale "Why We Fight" where Jake Green repeats General Anthony McAuliffe's historic phrase "Nuts!" from the Battle of the Bulge.[17] The peanuts and other proceeds from the donations have been donated to charities,[18] including the rebuilding effort in Greensburg, Kansas,[19] a town that was largely destroyed by a tornado in 2007.

[edit] Second season

In a response posted on the Jericho forum, CBS president Nina Tassler acknowledged the fan response, stating, "We hope to develop a way to provide closure to… the Jericho story."[20] CBS officials acknowledge the campaign was the largest the network had seen using digital means to protest a show cancellation.[21] President and CEO Leslie Moonves acknowledged that he was filtering emails from Jericho fans,[22] while senior vice president of communications Chris Ender said, "You have to tip your hat to their ability to get attention and make some noise."[21][23]

On June 5, 2007, Jericho executive producer Carol Barbee announced that CBS was discussing the possibility of the show's return for an eight-episode mid-season run.[24] A day later, Tassler posted an announcement on the forum stating that seven new episodes of Jericho had been commissioned as a midseason replacement for the 2007-2008 television season, with the possibility of an extension based on viewership.[25] The last of these seven episodes was broadcast on March 25, 2008, and was not affected directly by the 2007 Writers Guild of America strike.[26][27]

On August 2, 2007, a video was released on YouTube showing clips from the first day back at work for the Jericho cast and crew. It included a "thank you" from the cast and crew to the fans for their efforts to revive the show.[28] Several months later, CBS released trailers announcing the second season premiere,[29] including Morse code spelling "SPREAD THE WORD".

Jericho returned for its second season on February 12, 2008 to mostly favorable reviews[30][31] but with the lowest numbers the ratings had seen yet.[32] In the early days of January 2008 the first three episodes of the second season leaked on the internet via a DVD screener source.[33] The show's second season has also premiered in Canada on CTV, mirroring the US broadcast.[34]

The first two episodes of the 2008 season received the lowest ratings to date for the series.[35] Jericho's ratings did increase somewhat for its third episode, but dropped back down to fairly consistent but still low ratings. The second season averaged 6.2 million viewers.[36]

On March 21, 2008 CBS announced that the network would not be renewing Jericho for a third season.[37] CBS entertainment boss Nina Tassler stated that "The March 25 episode... will be the series finale. Without question, there are passionate viewers watching this program; we simply wish there were more. We thank an engaged and spirited fan base for keeping the show alive this long, and an outstanding team of producers, cast and crew that went through creative hoops to deliver a compelling, high-quality second season.... We're proud of everyone's efforts."[38] According to SyFy's source, two endings were shot for the March 25 episode. One involved a cliffhanger leading in to a third season, while the other would wrap up the series and provide closure for fans who had worked to secure the series' return. "There are a lot of people here who really care about what happens to Jericho, and I think we all wanted to see it succeed," the source, who asked not to be identified, said. "Numbers are numbers, and [CBS] had to do what [CBS] had to do."[39]

[edit] Post second season

The producers are currently considering other options for continuing the series, including a move to U.S. cable networks such as the Sci Fi Channel (similar to what happened with the shows Stargate SG-1 and Sliders)[40][41] and broadcast networks such as The CW (co-owned by CBS).[42] On March 25, 2008 an article on the Sci Fi Channel's website indicated that CBS was indeed in talks with cable networks to find the show another home. At this time, the progress of the talks have yet to be determined.[43] Other possibilities may include a television or theatrical movie.[42]

On April 7, 2008, The New York Times website reported that CBS Paramount Network Television has held talks with Comcast about finding a new home for Jericho.[44] Not much is known about the potential deal, but the general idea is for Comcast to pay for part of Jericho's production expenses and then offer episodes in High-Definition before they air on CBS.[45][46][47] This kind of deal is similar to the Friday Night Lights deal.

Jericho fans have also continued efforts to resurrect the series,[48][49] including a one-page advertisement in the April 25, 2008 edition of Variety magazine.[50] A second advertisement appeared in The Hollywood Reporter, as well as banner ads on the Variety and Hollywood Reporter websites.[51]

On Jan 15, 2009, reported that a Jericho feature film is in development. What this could mean for the future of the show is still unknown.[52]

On March 12, 2009 it was announced that all storylines from the TV series will be continued in the new comic book series by Devil's Due Productions, due to start in the summer or fall of 2009.[53]

[edit] Reruns

In January 2008 the SCI-FI Channel announced that it had acquired off-network cable rights to seasons one and two of Jericho from CBS Television Distribution. Jericho made its debut on SCI-FI with a four-episode marathon on February 11, and began airing in its regular timeslot on February 18.[54]

March 3 was the last air date for Monday 10 p.m. reruns on SCI-FI. Reruns moved to Fridays 8pm on March 14 and March 21. Episodes 16 and 17 were scheduled to air Friday March 28 but were pulled before they aired. No further episodes were scheduled in April 2008.[55] SciFi will show Episodes 1-8 beginning at 8 AM August 13.

Universal HD is currently airing Season One of Jericho with one episode in several time slots a week. Season One will air weekdays at 10 a.m. and 5 p.m. beginning July 1, with Season Two running weekly on Saturdays at 9 p.m. and 1 a.m. beginning July 19. The series was removed from the schedule in January 2009.

Sci Fi Australia started airing Jericho starting June 5, 2008 with a three episode mini marathon and two episodes are currently being showed a week, on a Thursday evening between 7:30 p.m. and 9:30 p.m. Sci Fi Australia Aired the Episodes 20, 21 and 22 as a three-episode feature-length season finale of Season 1, on Thursday, August 7. Season 2 aired on September 4, 2008.

SciFi also re-ran Episodes 1-5 on March 9th 2009.

ITV4 repeated the first series starting July 29, 2008 at 20.00 broadcasting three episodes per week. Season 2 started on the September 24, 2008, with a new episode every week. As a result, the Region 2 DVD of Season 2 has been available before the show finished on ITV4, in contrast to the DVD of Season 1 which became available just after Season 1 finished on ITV4.

The CW announced on November 20, 2008 its intention to air reruns on Sunday nights from 7-8 p.m. EST through March 2009.

Episodes were available on Hulu but were removed February 11, 2009, and links posted to CBS' site.

[edit] Episodes

Clips from the pilot episode became free to watch on Yahoo! TV several weeks before the episode actually aired on television.[56] CBS is still showing most, but not all, of the Jericho episodes on their Innertube website as of January 2009,[57] although they cannot be accessed from outside the U.S. CBS repeated the first three episodes on the Saturday nights following their original airings, as did Australia's Network Ten.

Each episode's opening title sequence is accompanied by an audio message in Morse code. The messages vary from generic references to cryptic clues, and are always related to the current episode in some way. The messages were broadcast at 15 words per minute at a frequency of 1000 Hz, often in an unsteady hand (known as a poor fist).[citation needed] In addition to these messages, in the second episode, Robert Hawkins received several additional Morse code messages through a radio that he was fixing.

[edit] DVD releases

DVD name Release date (Region 1) Release date (Region 2) Ep # Additional information
The First Season October 2, 2007 March 10, 2008 22 Featurette: Building Jericho
Featurette: What If?
Commentary and Deleted scenes on select episodes.
The Second Season June 17, 2008 September 29, 2008 7 Featurette: Rebuilding Jericho
Featurette: Nut Job
Commentary and Deleted scenes on select episodes.
Unaired Season finale alternate ending
The Complete Series June 17, 2008 n/a 29 Featurette: Tick Tick Boom
Featurette: Behind the Scenes "Thank You"
100 Reasons to Watch Jericho
Table Read
Napalm Action Sequence (from Season 2)
Train Action Sequence (from Season 2)
Cast Members' Memorable Moments.

The first three episodes of the second season were unofficially released on the internet based on a DVD screener copy.[33]

[edit] Web-based tie-ins

An online companion to Jericho is called Beyond Jericho. The television program gave the web address for the online companion. Beyond Jericho was to feature the "other survivors" of the nuclear attacks. According to Barbee, the story was intended to be unique to the site, but as the season of Jericho progressed, the online story would dovetail into the episodes themselves. However, the site and "webisode" are now unavailable, having been removed from the CBS website before the second episode of the TV show was broadcast.

CBS since decided to scrap the current webisode storyline, and instead released a new series of "prequel" webisodes named Countdown that take place before the first explosion. Each of these new webisodes appeared concurrently with the broadcast of new episodes during season 1, and showed Robert Hawkins gathering information before the attack.

[edit] Beyond Jericho

The first installment of Beyond Jericho began with an unknown man calling someone on a cell phone, requesting a ransom of $1.2 million for a woman he kidnapped. He then disappears underground through a metal trap door. While climbing down, he hears and feels a bang, but thinks nothing of it. After conversing with an associate about their next plans, he picks the woman up and climbs back up to the roof. When he opens the door, it's surrounded by rubble. The entire city around them has been destroyed. Shortly after, rubble falls through the trap door. With the cell phone (apparently actually the victim's cell phone) dead, and assuming that the man's associate is dead as well in the collapse, they start to climb through the rubble to find out what happened. Nearby, a hand with a surgical glove on emerges from the rubble, as the vignette ends.

[edit] Countdown

Starting on October 26, Beyond Jericho was replaced by Countdown, which documents Robert Hawkins' efforts to learn as much as possible about the effects of nuclear bombs before he moved to Jericho.[58] The webisodes do not feature any of the regular characters, consisting primarily of Hawkins, draped in shadows, watching mini-documentaries.

The mini-documentaries feature expert interviews about the effects of a nuclear attack. They are only minimally connected to each episode's plot. For instance, CBS's episode 8 plot summary reads: "A shadowy military unit bursts into the chamber Hawkins has just vacated. On his computer, they find a video." The video was a short documentary about FEMA's response to Hurricane Katrina and their use of paramilitaries. The "shadowy military unit" then patiently waits until the documentary ends to resume its search for Hawkins.

Countdown's sponsor, AT&T, is very heavily promoted in the series using product placement. Nearly all dialog takes place as SMS messages on an AT&T cellular phone, and a full-screen AT&T logo appears in every episode when Hawkins views the expert interviews. This web-based programming is not accessible from outside of the United States.


Created for the Tom Tooman game, is the purported website of Jennings & Rall, the corporate giant which plays an increasingly prominent role in the second season of the series. The site contains a wealth of information about the company's post-holocaust global operations, with significant hints regarding events in the show.

On November 1, 2008, the domain name expired. The site can still be viewed, however, at

[edit] Tom Tooman

Tom Tooman is an alternate reality game that CBS ran in conjunction with Jericho beginning in August 2007. The game began with a cryptic letter posted on a web site, supposedly from a Tom Tooman of Lame Deer, Montana.[59] This letter was accompanied by a series of bar codes, some with decimal numbers and others with Mayan numbers. These numbers were used to create an IP address for a second website. More clues were released, as well as a blog on the CBS web site connecting the game with Jericho.[60] As of the cancellation of the series, the game has since abruptly ended with no closure offered. A full synopsis of the game and the puzzles within can now be found at[61]

[edit] See also

[edit] References

  1. ^ CW Cancels Sunday Slate, Fills Gap with Jericho Repeats!" TV Guide. November 20, 2008. Retrieved on November 21,] 2008.
  2. ^ Jericho Continues As Comic"., March 10, 2009. Retrieved on March 10, 2009.
  3. ^ CBS web site - Jericho cast page
  4. ^ The Hollywood Reporter "Three going full time in primetime"
  5. ^ Jericho Stars
  6. ^ "Paley Fest - Jericho". Retrieved on 2007-09-01. 
  7. ^ a b "A Visit to the Town of Jericho". Coming Soon Media. Retrieved on 2007-06-23. 
  8. ^ "Insiders' Commentary: Pilot Episode#2". CBS. Retrieved on 2007-06-21. 
  9. ^ "Jericho in Fillmore this week". March 8, 2007. 
  10. ^ Flop sweat: 'Jericho' dips to new low April 5, 2007
  11. ^ "Ratings, Not Bombs, Doom 'Jericho'".,0,5645801.story?coll=zap-news-headlines. 
  12. ^ "Hollywood Reporter: 2006-07 primetime wrap". May 25, 2007. 
  13. ^ Ask the Producers - Jericho
  14. ^ "TV Series Finale - 2007 Cancelled Shows: CBS Cancels Several Series". 
  15. ^ "CBS cancels 'Jericho,' two others". 
  16. ^ "CBS Rolls Out 5 New Shows for Fall, The Wall Street Journal". 
  17. ^ Fans Make CBS Reconsider 'Jericho' Axing
  18. ^ "Fans make CBS reconsider 'Jericho' axing". Yahoo! News/Associated Press.;_ylt=AkPpFW5xFQ33Z82eE6kELsDMWM0F. Retrieved on 2007-06-07. 
  19. ^ "TV show gets nutty about helping residents". Kiowa County Signal. 2007-06-06. 
  20. ^ ""A statement from CBS Entertainment"". CBS Jericho Message Board. Retrieved on 2007-05-25. 
  21. ^ a b ""Jericho" Fans Go Nuts". CBS ShowBuzz. 2007-05-25. Retrieved on 2007-05-25. 
  22. ^ ""Interview with Leslie Moonves"". 
  23. ^ ""Jericho" Cast, Crew Willing To Stick Around". SyFyPortal. Retrieved on 2007-05-25. 
  24. ^ Maria Elena Fernandez (2007-06-05). "Resurrection?: The fans might have saved 'Jericho'". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved on 2007-06-05. 
  25. ^ Nina Tassler (2007-06-06). "A Message From CBS Entertainment". CBS. Retrieved on 2007-06-06. 
  26. ^ "Casualties of the Hollywood writers strike, The Gazette (Montreal)". 
  27. ^ Bill Carter, "TV Shows See Strike as a Second Chance," The New York Times, November 15, 2007
  28. ^ Jericho Comic Con video
  29. ^ IGN: CBS Sets Premiere Date for Jericho: Season 2
  30. ^ "Game Show, Popular Reality Series, News Magazines, The Season Premieres of Two Returning Scripted Programs, and the Debug of a New Comedy Join CBS's Primetime Schedule in January and February"
  31. ^ Metacritic - Jericho, Season Two
  32. ^ Jericho: The Numbers Are In
  33. ^ a b Jericho Season 2 Leaks on Internet
  34. ^ "'Jericho' joins CTV primetime schedule". 
  35. ^ Nielsen Ratings for Tue Feb 19: Idol, Jericho and Big Brother
  36. ^ Nielsen Ratings for Jericho
  37. ^ "Low Rated 'Jericho' Axed by CBS". 
  38. ^ Aw Nuts: CBS Pulls Plug On Jericho
  39. ^ "Sources: 'Jericho' To Wrap It Up". SyFy Portal. Retrieved on 2008-02-23. 
  40. ^
  41. ^ Jericho's Time Is Near
  42. ^ a b Ferrante, A.C. (2008-03-28). "Exclusive Interview: Jericho Producers Dan Shotz and Jon Steinberg Talk About The End And Perhaps A New Beginning". Retrieved on 2008-04-01. 
  43. ^ Patrick Lee (2008-03-25). "Jericho Seeks a New Home". Sci Fi Channel. Retrieved on 2008-03-25. 
  44. ^ DirecTV Deal Will Subsidize ‘Friday Night Lights’ - New York Times
  45. ^ Could Comcast Save Jericho?
  46. ^ Can Comcast Save Jericho?
  47. ^ SyFy Portal
  48. ^ Jericho Message Board
  49. ^ Jericho Message Board
  50. ^ Save Jerhico Campaign Redux
  51. ^ Ifmagazine.Com: 'Jericho' Fans Raise Cash, Questions About Tv Rating Services
  52. ^ Report: Jericho movie in development
  53. ^ Devil's Due press release
  54. ^ "SCI FI To Air Jericho Reruns". 
  55. ^ Schedule| On Air| SCIFI.COM
  56. ^ "Yahoo! TV Fall 2006 Preview". Retrieved on 2006-10-11. 
  57. ^ " Innertube". Retrieved on 2007-09-30. 
  58. ^ "Jericho on CBS - Countdown". 
  59. ^ "Tom Tooman discussion on". 
  60. ^ "Tom Tooman blog on". 
  61. ^ "Tom Tooman synopsis and review". 

[edit] External links

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