Thursday, June 7, 2007

Yesterday was NUTS at CBS! Need I Say More?

Television City is a great place to work. The people, the's just a blast. But yesterday was a crazy day...or should I just say "nuts!" Let me explain... After 35 years on "The Price Is Right" and 50 years in daytime TV in the same low-key, genial fashion that made him one of daytime TV's biggest stars, Bob Barker taped his last episode of The Price Is Right Wednesday in Studio 33 (aka the Bob Barker Studio), capping a 50-year broadcasting career—35 of them spent on the classic game show—surrounded by die-hard fans, some of whom traveled thousands of miles and camped out to ensure a seat for the silver-haired emcee's final bow. Also, the TV show "Jericho" fans, who slammed CBS with protests over the drama's cancellation have won the battle: It willreturn next season! The display of fan enthusiasm included the delivery of 50,000 pounds of peanuts to our NY & LA plants. There are so many peanuts we're going insane trying to eat them! But first, more on Barker's retirement.

Barker, acted as if it was "just another show.". He ended the program as he always has, signing off with the words: "Help control the pet population, have your pets spayed or neutered. Goodbye everybody." After the cameras stopped rolling, he told the studio audience, "I thank you, thank you, thank you for inviting me into your home for more than 50 years. I'm truly grateful and I hope that all of you have enjoyed your visit to `The Price Is Right.' The hour-long taping began with the show's 83-year-old host entering the studio to a standing ovation from an adoring public and a giant shower of colorful confetti from his colleagues. And to let you know how nuts some of these people are, Barker had to contain his disdain when people bid $45,000 for a patio set and set of scooters in the Showcase Showdown. The program is scheduled to air on June 15 during it's normal daytime slot ad will also be on primetime before the Emmy telecast.

Barker said before the show he is looking forward to retirement, but added, "I know that I will miss the show terribly and miss the people on the show terribly. I know that I will have periods after I'm once retired when I'll think, `Boy I wish I was going over there to do `The Price Is Right.' As the legendary host counted down his last days on the air, fans from around the country made pilgrimages to Los Angeles to see him. Dozens camped out overnight near CBS studios for a chance to say goodbye during Barker's final week of shows. College students wear their university sweat shirts and groups of fans come in matching custom-made T-shirts. And these people are freakin' nuts! Though Barker joked that "all of television is going to end" when he retires, "The Price Is Right" will continue in the fall with a new host, who has yet to be named.

Before we dismiss Barker as simply an old-man game show host who, needless to say, is not exactly the voice of our generation, we should take time to note his achievements and give him the respect he deserves (heck, he's dealt with these nuts for 35 friggin' years!): His career was truly extraordinary and it's doubtful that anyone will ever have one quite like his ever again. Barker has been on television for 50 years straight. From 1956 through 1975, he hosted Truth or Consequences; a kind of '50s precursor to Nickelodeon's Double Dare. Before ending his tenure on T or C, he became the host of The Price is Right in 1972, and revived the show that had originally run in the late '50s and early '60s. Between the two shows, he has been on air five days a week, every week. During that run, he has won 17 Emmy awards, including 12 for best game show host, and the lifetime achievement award. Barker has held a job longer than any man in television. The Price is Right is the second-longest running show in television history, second only to the Mexican Sabado Gigante.

An due to his activism for the pet population, in a coincidental announcement, the California Assembly passed of a bill that would require the spaying or neutering of most dogs and cats. It passed by a 41 to 38 vote Wednesday night, the bare majority it needed to move to the Senate. Supporters mounted a late lobbying effort after the measure failed to garner enough votes earlier in the day. That included phone calls to wavering Democrats by the retiring "Price is Right" host, who contacted lawmakers after his final show Wednesday. The bill would require most dogs and cats to be spayed or neutered by the time they were four months old. Failure to have the procedure could result in a $500 fine for the animal's owner.

As silly as it sounds, there are generations , our own included, who don't know what a world without Bob Barker will be like. He is a staple, a man who securely captivated our attentions for 50 years. TV will go on without him, our work at TC City on the "new" version of PIR will go on, but it won't be the same. Congratulations Bob and I wish you the best in your retirement. The final show was followed by a party in his honor for the cast, crew and VIP's at Maggiano's in the Grove. And from what I understand, they had an open bar! After 35 years, I think everybody needs a stiff drink!

Now on to even more nuts...15,000,000 of them in fact...

Jericho Fans Drove Us Crazy And Got Their Wish!

Fans from all over the world pooled their resources and their passion to send thousands of pounds of peanuts to CBS and SAVE Jericho. CBS has been inundated with over 50,000 pounds of peanuts. The "Jericho" fans who slammed CBS with protests over the drama's cancellation have won the battle: It will return next season, the network said Wednesday. It was an unusual display of viewer might since networks usually put ratings ahead of even the most passionate, well-organized fan base. CBS said the show deserved another chance, while cautioning that it must prove it has wider appeal. "Wow! Over the past few weeks you have put forth an impressive and probably unprecedented display of passion in support of a prime time television series," CBS Entertainment President Nina Tassler said in a letter to "Jericho" boosters.

"You got our attention; your emails and collective voice have been heard," Tassler wrote, and seven episodes have been ordered for midseason 2007-08. "In success, there is the potential for more. But, for there to be more `Jericho,' we will need more viewers." Fans must do their part to rally interest while the network does its job, she said.

CBS is planning a campaign to reintroduce "Jericho," including rerunning the show on CBS this summer, streaming episodes and clips online and releasing the first season on DVD on Sept. 25. The show's return date and scheduling has yet to be determined. Tassler had to complete deals with cast members, including star Skeet Ulrich, before announcing its decision. Networks rarely reverse a show's axing but CBS has proven its flexibility and has gotten the message. "We are tired of the networks (not just CBS) tossing aside quality programming," was the message carried by, one of several web sites protesting the cancellation. "Enough! We're going to fight for this one."

Last fall, "Jericho" was averaging 10.5 million viewers; when it returned in the spring, it drew about 8.1 million, about a 23 percent decline from the first half of the season. In the season finale, a character replies "Nuts!" to a demand that the beleaguered town of Jericho surrender. That's the same response that a U.S. general in World War II made to a German demand for surrender at the Battle of the Bulge.

Another positive outcome of the fan campaign: CBS is donating the protest peanuts to charities, including one that sends care packages to troops overseas, Tippy Hedron's Animal Oasis in Acton, and anywhere they can get rid of them. Our department hasn't finished the 25 pound box I put out on Tuesday!

The official "press release" by CBS Entertainment President Nina Tassler follows:

June 6, 2007

To the Fans of Jericho:


Over the past few weeks you have put forth an impressive and probably unprecedented display of passion in support of a prime time television series. You got our attention; your emails and collective voice have been heard.

As a result, CBS has ordered seven episodes of "Jericho" for mid-season next year. In success, there is the potential for more. But, for there to be more "Jericho," we will need more viewers.

A loyal and passionate community has clearly formed around the show. But that community needs to grow. It needs to grow on the CBS Television Network, as well as on the many digital platforms where we make the show available.

We will count on you to rally around the show, to recruit new viewers with the same grass-roots energy, intensity and volume you have displayed in recent weeks.

At this time, I cannot tell you the specific date or time period that "Jericho" will return to our schedule. However, in the interim, we are working on several initiatives to help introduce the show to new audiences. This includes re-broadcasting "Jericho" on CBS this summer, streaming episodes and clips from these episodes across the CBS Audience Network (online), releasing the first season DVD on September 25 and continuing the story of Jericho in the digital world until the new episodes return. We will let you know specifics when we have them so you can pass them on.

On behalf of everyone at CBS, thank you for expressing your support of "Jericho" in such an extraordinary manner. Your protest was creative, sustained and very thoughtful and respectful in tone. You made a difference.


Nina Tassler
President, CBS Entertainment

P.S. Please stop sending us nuts :-)

Well there it is. A day filled with more ways than one! Maybe soon, very soon, we'll get that long deserved break. But heck, it's Television City. There's something nuts going on every day!

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