'Jericho' survives its apocalypse

Fans prevail as CBS gives drama second chance

CBS has added a new comedy and a resurrected drama to its roster for midseason.

The network has picked up the single-camera comedy pilot "The Captain" to series with a six-episode order.

Additionally, the network is bringing back the post-apocalyptic drama "Jericho" for a second season with a seven-episode order.

"Captain," from CBS Paramount Network TV, was created by John Hamburg, who also directed the pilot and will serve as executive producer/showrunner on the series.

Meanwhile, Andrew Reich and Ted Cohen have officially come on board the project as executive producers alongside Hamburg. The two have also extended their overall deal with CBS Par TV for two more years.

"Captain," which stars Fran Kranz, Jeffrey Tambor, Raquel Welch, Chris Klein, Joanna Garcia, Al Madrigal and Valerie Azlynn, centers on a young writer (Kranz) whose life changes when he moves into a legendary Hollywood apartment building.

For "Jericho," the pickup came after weeks of a relentless "Save 'Jericho' " fan campaign garnered with nuts -- tons of them -- sent to CBS executives in protest over the show's cancellation last month.

CBS Entertainment president Nina Tassler broke the news of the sci-fi drama's return in a letter posted Wednesday in the fan section of the show's official Web site.

"You got our attention; your e-mails and collective voice have been heard," she wrote to the fans.

"In success, there is the potential for more," she said about the seven-episode order. "But for there to be more 'Jericho,' we will need more viewers."

"Jericho" was canceled in May after its ratings took a hit in the second part of the season when it faced Fox's "American Idol."

The majority of the cast , including stars Skeet Ulrich, Lennie James and Ashley Scott, are returning as well as creator/executive producer Stephen Chbosky and executive producer Jon Turteltaub. Showrunner/executive producer Carol Barbee, who had moved on to serve in the same capacity on CBS' midseason drama "Swingtown," also is returning as showrunner and will work on both series.

It is not clear yet how many of the original staff writers will be back, as some of them have gone to work on other series, but the short order for "Jericho" doesn't require a full staff.

"There is no question that we owe all of this to the fans," said "Jericho" producer Karim Zreik, who runs Turteltaub's company Junction Entertainment. "This is for them. The show will last for as long as they'll have us."

To trump up viewership for the show's next season, CBS will rebroadcast the first season in the summer, stream episodes and clips online and release the Season 1 DVD on Sept. 25.

As for Tassler's letter to the "Jericho" fans, she ended it with a personal request: "P.S. Please stop sending us nuts."
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