May 1, 2012 10:15 AM ET | by Michael Schneider
Apocalypse now? TV Guide Magazine confirms that Netflix has approached CBS about reviving cult fave Jericho — and the network, through its CBS TV Studios production arm, is considering it. The drama, which followed the residents of a small Kansas town in the wake of a nuclear attack, has been off the air since 2008.
Repeats of Jericho remain popular on Netflix's on-demand service, even four years after the show's cancellation. Insiders say Netflix execs would love to emulate the revival of Fox's Arrested Development, which is expected to return on Netflix with new episodes in 2013, seven years after the show ended its run. Like Arrested fans, Jericho's are a passionate bunch: CBS renewed the post-apocalyptic show for a second season in 2007 after viewers bombarded the network with cases of peanuts.
Talks are still in preliminary stages, and insiders warn that it's too soon to celebrate, as there are still many hurdles to overcome before a deal is struck. Making it financially viable for both Netflix and CBS may be the biggest challenge of them all. It's unclear how much more original programming makes sense for Netflix, which is already committed to two seasons of the original Kevin Spacey drama House of Cards (from David Fincher) in addition to Arrested. Also, due to concerns over its subscriber levels, Netflix has seen its share price drop more than 25 percent in the past month.
Before a third season of Jericho can happen, rounding up the stars and exec producers, many of whom are working on other projects, will take time. Past attempts at a Jericho return haven't panned out, such as stalled talks with Comcast to continue Jericho in a fashion similar to Friday Night Lights. Executive producer Jon Turteltaub said in 2009 that he was developing a movie, but that also didn't go anywhere. So far, only Jericho comic books have made it to production (a new edition hits stands this summer).
But never say die: Attempts at a Jericho revival mirrors the "it's happening/it's not happening" dance that Arrested Development fans have experienced over the years, but that's on the cusp of finally coming true. Other series resurrected from the dead in recent years include Family Guy and Futurama. And at least some of the cast could conceivably be available: Star Skeet Ulrich was last seen on NBC's Law & Order: L.A., while Lennie James was on The Prisoner, Hung and the series opener to The Walking Dead (although he's currently in the ABC pilot Gotham).
Netflix has shown that it will open up the pocketbook for something it really wants. Arrested Development seemed on course to land at Showtime, until the streaming service swooped in and nabbed the cult fave comedy. In the case of Jericho, even CBS boss Leslie Moonves has hinted that it's a possibility. In February, Moonves revealed at an investor conference that CBS was in discussions with Netflix about potentially doing a show together — and yes, it's believed he was referring to Jericho. CBS declined comment.
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