Cinescape-Going Postal (Roswell Mentioned)

Thanks to TropiLisa for this:

I don’t know if anyone saw this already but I saw it and went nuts so here is
an article about getting sci fi shows renewed and roswell is in here

November/December 2000
(It has Gillian Anderson and Robert Patrick from X-Files on the cover)
pg 10
It’s a scenario with which genre TV viewers are all too familiar: Watch
a show, grow to love it, see it snuffed out by ratings-obsessed network
executives, launch a massive letter-writing campaign to bring it back, see
said crusade fail as canceled series fades into obscurity.
Nonetheless, such grassroots efforts are–thanks to the Internet–more
common than ever; in face, some actually have helped salvage a few shows from
obliteration. In 1998, eight new episodes of UPN’s The Sentinel were ordered
after fans bombarded the network with letters and e-mails; similar pleas
helped revive USA’s La Femme Nikita, The WB’s endangered Roswell and SCI FI’s
Why the changes in fan fortune? Well, it’s partly because the shows that
were rescued aired on cable and netlets WB and UPN; modern letter writing
efforts by devotees of major network series normall go unheeded.
“Letter-writing campaigns do not work on the [broadcast network] level,”
says Mark Dawidziak, TV critic for The Cleveland Plain Dealer. “There were
write-in campaigns to get [the 1986 NBC series] Starman back on the air and
[CBS’s] The Equalizer back on. These things were all unsuccessful, largely
because they occurred in a three-network universe. You couldn’t have saved
Now and Again if you wanted to; CBS wanted to get rid of it because it was
too expensive. [Bu] with cable shows, a write-in campaign can be very
effective. you’re not talking about that big of a universe compared to the
networks: You’re talking about a rather limited audience. And those kinds of
programmers can be swayed.”
Other less obvious factors also lie behind the success of renewals: The
Sentinel was temporarily revived primarily because of corporate pressure
Paramount (which produced the series) put on sister company UPN. La Femme
Nikita’s reprieve came after USA lost its lucrative WWF contract. However,
Nikita fans weren’t swayed by the skepticism: “It wasn’t an issue with us,”
says Nicole Esposito, a webmaster of the SaveLa Femme Nikita site. “We know
how much work went into this. Besides, without the fans campaigning to see
the show, I don’t think it would have raised so much [media] coverage.”
And with the letter-writing campaigns growing more and more
creative-Nikita fans sent network executives sunglasses and dollar bills,
Roswell supporters mailed tiny bottles of Tabasco sauce to critics and Now
and Again viewers inundated CBS with hard-boiled-egg-they are almost
guaranteed to garner publicity for shows. “I think the fans’ voices were
definitely heard,” says Roswell executive producer Jason Katims. “Every
little thing they did helped get us renewed at that point.” In fact, the
organized pleas might hlep prolong the life of a series even if the end
result still is cancellation. “The letters were one of the reasons we got
kept alive for so long,” says Freaks and Geeks cocreator Paul Feig of the
mass of mailings sent in support of the critically acclaimed series.
Although that populist campaign failed to save the show, it contributed to
the Fox Family Channel’s decision to broadcast previously unaired episodes on
According to TV critic Dawidziak, most successful write-in campaigns
should begin before a series is canceled and its cast and crew have been
hired for other projects. Meanwhile, the fan of programs airing on the three
campaign-immune major networks (CBS, ABC and NBC) might be best served going
to cable networks and asking them to pick up the show instead: “That’s what
the campaigns of the future are going to be: Pick your network and start
lobbying someone to save your show in another realm.”
But even though everyone agrees that write-in campaigns have the odds
stacked against them, fan effort won’t easily be detered. “When we started
we were told by many people, ‘You don’t stand a chance, these are all about
money, they never work, why bother?” says Esposito, who adds that some of the
initial naysayers were themselves Nikita fans. “So the idea of it not
working was always a factor. But as people thought about it a little more,
it was worth it for them just to try. Whatever the outcome was, at last we
know we attempted to bring it back.”

(On the right hand side then it has a picture of Roswell from when it was in
Hollywood trade papers or whatever magazine it was in and it says: And if
your efforts do pay off, you might want to follow the examples of Roswell and
LExx fans and buy ads in Hollywood trade papers thanking the powers-that-be
for bringing your show back.)