Comic-Con '07: RebuildingJericho


Jericho fans know the deal: If the show does not get enough viewers, it will be cancelled. If the attendance at the CBS program's panel at Comic-Con this year is any indication, there is a bit of work to do.

Having taken place in the same room where panels for Smallville, The Sarah Connor Chronicles, and Family Guy packed the place, the Jericho panel filled the room to about two-thirds capacity. Just as is the case with the show, the odds seemed stacked against the panel. It was taking place on Sunday, which also happens to be Kids' Day. The programming for the day skews heavily towards toddlers and preteens, and the mini-superheroes walking the floor are probably asleep when Jericho airs.

However, the cast was in great spirits as they trotted out on stage in matching Jericho-themed T-shirts, and it didn't take long for anyone to talk about getting the show back on the air. To summarize, CBS cancelled, the fans revolted and sent in tons of peanuts, CBS changed its mind, and Jericho was given another run of seven episodes.

"I'd like to start by saying look what you've done... I mean, it's incredible," lead actor Skeet Ulrich said, pointing to the crowd. As was the case when talk about the show's resurrection was brought up, the fans cheered wildly.

Talk of season two was brief, but the main points will see the government, which was always a background "character" in season one, play a more prominent role in the second season. One way in which it will come into the forefront is through Esai Morales, who will join the cast as Colonel Hoffman, a man with a military background. He'll attempt to bring stability to Jericho, and he will also "hunt" Lennie James' character, Robert Hawkins.

The season will move quicker than season one, mainly because there are fewer episodes for the writers to complete a story arc. "This season will be very big and very fast in order to get from point A to point B," said Jon Steinberg, one of the show's main writers. He emphasized that season two will be an action-packed seven episodes, but said many of the personal relationships won't suffer. "[Season two] will also have some very big family moments."

One fan who approached the microphone was actually a CBS employee, one of four telephone operators at the network. She said the operators fielded about 35,000 to 40,000 calls regarding getting Jericho back on the air, and that it was unlike anything she had ever seen at CBS.

As a treat to fans, executive producer Carol Barbee ran a video showing on-the-set clips from season two. It was a lovefest, with actors hugging and elated to see each other on set again. The reunited family extended well wishes to their fans, given that it was their "nutty" campaign that gave the show new life.

Though some wonder how long the show will remain on the air, the production staff seems pretty confident after all they've been through. Looking out on the fans that had assembled--many of them ringleaders of the "Save Jericho" campaign--Barbee said, "I think we have a long road ahead of us."

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