Nutty 'Jericho' Fans Make CBS Reconsider Canceling Show

A campaign to send CBS thousands and thousands of pounds of peanuts to protest the network's decision to cancel a television show appears to be working.

When CBS canceled "Jericho," a show about life in a small town after several nuclear bombs go off across the country, its fans started to rebel.

Internet chat rooms -- including a popular one on CBS's own Web site -- filled with talk about how to convince the network to bring back the show.

One method: nuts.

So far, nearly 40,000 pounds of nuts have been sent to various network executives in New York and Los Angeles. That's about 8 million peanuts.

Now it looks like the outpouring of peanuts might be working.

Quoting an anonymous source, The Associated Press Tuesday said CBS is reconsidering its decision to cancel the show. A decision on whether to bring the show back, probably for a midseason run, is imminent, the AP reported.

"They got us hooked on this great drama. … They make you actually care about the characters," said Kevin M. Russell, a fan-turned-nut-shipper from Fort Smith, Ark. "Then they pull the plug."

"Bottom line, it's to make a statement," Russell added. "We're tired of the networks telling us what to watch."

A Grass-Roots Internet Movement

What started out as individual fans shipping nuts quickly became an organized movement.

Jeff Knoll, a fan in Oakville, Ontario, was thinking about shipping some nuts but was worried about them getting delayed in customs. That's when he stumbled across nutsonline.com.

He started talking to Jeffrey Braverman, whose family has run the nut distribution company now called nutsonline.com for three generations.

"I had never watched 'Jericho,'" Braverman said. "I was brushing this off at first. I didn't understand the magnitude of this."

He had noticed some strange orders coming in for nuts to CBS but didn't piece it together until Knoll picked up the phone.

That's when Braverman decided to revamp his Web site so "Jericho" fans could pool their resources.

Instead of shipping a few nuts at a time, the fans could chip in $5, $10 or $20 for a larger delivery that would make a statement.

So far, about $54,000 has come in.

Braverman said he is offering the fans the nuts at close to cost.

Granted, he gains a group of new customers and is getting plenty of free advertising on blogs, message boards and from the mainstream media.

Why Nuts?

Clarke Ingram is one of the people who started working on a campaign earlier this month. Before the series even ended, he and others on the Web started talking about what to do if CBS decided to cancel the show.

"I'm 50 years old, and this is the best show I've ever seen," Ingram said.

He and other fans just started tossing out ideas. Radio host Shaun O'Mac also started talking about "Jericho."

So why nuts?

In the final episode of "Jericho," the town is under siege from a neighboring community.

When asked to surrender, lead character Jake Green, played by Skeet Ulrich, has a one-word response: "Nuts."

The response is a reference to Gen. Anthony McAuliffe, a U.S. Army general who in World War II was surrounded by Germans demanding his surrender.

His response: "Nuts."

The fictional residents of "Jericho" took Jake Green's "nuts" as a rallying cry as they fought the larger force from the neighboring town. Fans never got to see the outcome of the battle. The season -- and now apparently the show -- ended there.

So is CBS nuts?

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