Roswell Fans Turn Up the Heat to Save Show

Thanks to Mel, (the tabasco kid) for sending this in!

“Roswell fans turn up the heat to save show”
by Edward Gross
Ft. Worth Star-Telegram
April 14, 2000

The uncertain fate of his struggling TV series is making Jason Behr tear up. Or maybe it’s the Tabasco sauce.

The 26 year-old actor consumes a lot of hot sauce- not only because it’s the beverage of choice among extraterrestrials on Roswell (he stars as teen alien Max Evans on the show), but also because there’s been an unusually large amount of it around the set lately- ever since the stuff became a potent weapon for fans trying to save the WB show.

After it hinted recently that Roswell’s renewal might be in doubt, the youth-oriented network has found itself inundated by thousands of bottles of Tobasco sauce, sent in by viewers in an effort to get the attention of the WB’s programming executives.

It worked. Impressed by the series’ fervent teen following, which has resulted in hundreds of Web sites devoted to the show as well as the Tobasco barrage, the WB decided to test the breadth of Roswell’s appeal by letting it finish out its first season in a better time slot.

“The response of the fans is not something I was expecting,” admits Behr, who previously appeared on Dawson’s Creek. “It’s flattering because the fans don’t have to do it. They do it because they’re passionate about the show.”

That passion has resulted in the WB moving Roswell from its 8pm slot on Wednesdays, where it was up against UPN’s competing teen lure Star Trek:
Vogaer, to Mondays at the same time, where the competition tends to draw
an older audience.

The show hopes to shore up its teen audience, while at the same time attracting some baby boom viewers intrigued by the pop-history hook. Picking up on a premise advanced by conspiracy theorists for decades, the series follows the offspring of the E.T.s that crashed in Roswell, N.M., in 1947. The teens look human (except cuter), attend high school and have the same awkward, I-feel-like-an-alien angst of all teens–though, unlike their classmates, they probably won’t grow out of

For executive producer Jonathan Frakes, the goal was to create a realistic, quality teen drama within the framework of a far-out space-geeky adventure series.

“We have a great cast,” he says. “We’ve got the cream of the crop (of young actors). Also, (executive producer) Jason Katims has that offbeat, My-So-Called Life writing voice. He has a wonderful way of allowing characters to grow and change.”

The same could be said of the show as a whole. Accompanying Roswell’s move to Mondays this week was a change in story emphasis, away from the young love drama between Max and classmate Liz (Shiri Appleby) and toward more science-fiction adventure.

But with the show no longer competing with Voyager for teen boys, the new direction threatens to turn off the very viewers who have sustained the series this long: girls who love the romances and heartbreaks of Roswell’s unusual high schoolers.

The newly emboldened Frakes shrugs off such concerns.

“Something terrible would have to happen for us to be canceled,” he says. “They’d be crazy to cancel this show.”


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