Hot for ‘Roswell,’ fans get saucy
By Kevin V. Johnson, USA TODAY
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Fans of the high school sci-fi drama Roswell are spicing up their efforts to get the show renewed – literally.
They’ve sent more than 3,000 bottles of Tabasco hot sauce to WB officials and television critics, along with pleas to keep the show on the air. Tabasco is the favorite condiment of Roswell’s teen aliens.
And aficionados of the network’s similarly threatened coming-of-age drama Felicity have sent cassette tapes to WB, requesting that it be kept on the air.
Felicity (Keri Russell) is known for sending audio letters on cassette to her friend Sally (Janeane Garofalo).
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The attention-getting novelties are the latest wrinkle in the occasional campaigns used by passionate viewers of low-rated television shows to persuade networks not to cancel them.
Traditionally, such efforts consist of massive letter-writing – or, more recently, e-mail – assaults on network honchos.
But fan Web sites and Net discussion forums are greasing the skids for more unusual strategies.
“The Internet makes it very easy to organize fans because you can reach so many of them so quickly,” says Marc Berman, program analyst for Mediaweek.com. “And you can log on to a Web site and find out right away who to contact at the network.”
Whether electronic efforts will be any more effective remains to be seen, however.
Suzanne Daniels, chief programmer at WB, says the Tabasco bottles “certainly got my attention.”
“I’m happy to see they’re passionate,” she says. “But it’s not yet overwhelming in a significant way.”
Daniels adds, “What’s most critically important for consideration for pickup is the quality of the show and if we feel like it’s going in the right direction creatively. ”
Still, she acknowledges, ratings are crucial.
For Felicity, which just moved to a Wednesday time slot, that means drawing at least as many viewers as Dawson’s Creek, the WB favorite that precedes it.
But Felicity remains a network favorite.
“I’m telling everyone I know to make sure they watch,” WB president Jamie Kellner wrote in an e-mail to fans two weeks ago.
Roswell has a slightly easier hill to climb: It needs only to attract more viewers on Monday nights than its predecessor, the quickly canceled Safe Harbor, Daniels says.
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