CBS recently decided to cancel the show Jericho and received 26,000 pounds a.k.a. 13 tons of nuts for its choice. The N.Y. Times’ description of the way viewers coordinated the effort and apparently chose the items based on the show’s last episode (which had a reference to General Tony McAuliffe’s famous reply to a surrender demand by the Germans in World War II) is a fun example of the Internet facilitating the construction of a community (complete with fanfic), quick communication, and coordinating action.
The article also notes how some shows build fanatic followings and traces the link back to the Star Trek era. Given that entertainment often forgets to deliver a story and seems like a pure advertising device, that point struck me as showing television executives that when people connect with a show they will indeed buy all the merchandise, see the related films, read the books. Indeed, with the help of the Internet, people take their own time to create and will generate the type of interpersonal marketing and interest that an advertising company would kill for. In short, ratings (both high and low) do not necessarily indicate that the long-term investment the television industry wants will be there. Good stories in creative worlds have that potential. In any event, enjoy the article. The description of the fan world and its polite yet slightly crazy way to tell CBS that it is crazy is a fun read.