I'm pretty picky about what I watch on television. Face it, we can get emotionally involved with the shows we decide to invest our time in, for that half-hour or hour it's on, we become a part of their world, their stories, their lives. The last couple of years I have been very careful about getting "Hooked" on any new shows. I only have so much time because of the 4 Amigos, so there is only a Chosen Few that are good enough to make it onto my PVR. The biggest reason for this though is I have been stung by cancellations so much now to the point that I often wait out the first season of anything. I figure, if it survives its Freshman Year and I'm still interested, I can always rent the DVD and catch up before Season 2 starts. I've yet to do this though, Sistah still can't get over the fact that I've never watched an episode of Grey's Anatomy or House.
So it was with much trepidation that I decided to give jPod a shot. I had caught a couple of promos for it (Not sure where, during a rerun of Arrested Developement perhaps?), and it peaked my interest enough to make sure I was front row centre for the Premier Episode. I was not disappointed, in fact, I LOVED it! I wanted to shout it from the top of a mountain - "jPod is amazing! Watch it! It's the best new show to come out in forever!", and go figure, it was on the CBC. The Dude, who's television viewing habits primarily consist of HNIC, The Blue Jays and re-runs of Stargate, thought it was great too. We couldn't wait for the next Episode, and roped The Teenager into watching it with us the next Tuesday. That was a feat unto itself considering he barely watches any television and is usually glued to his X-Box. I had a Premonition though. "It's too good" I declared, "and I bet you any money, it gets cancelled." The Dude agreed. This was by the same station that canned "The Tournament", the Suits at The Ceeb had already proved to me they didn't know a good thing when they had it.
Sure enough, after only about 5 Episodes and a time change to the "Friday Night Death Slot", the CBC lowered The Axe on our Canadian Podsters. "How can they!!!" I whined to The Dude after the headline greeted me on the Interweb. "They can't! It's my New Favourite Show!" It ruined my whole day.
Kirstine Layfield herself talked about how the CBC was taking notice of things. From an article in the Globe and Mail on 30/05/07 and also posted on the CBC Website:
After years of so-called high-impact miniseries that largely left viewers cold, CBC Television has unveiled a slate of fall shows that it says reflects a new belief that audiences like to be given time to really get to know TV characters.Kirstine Layfield, executive director of network programming, promised a “new direction at the CBC” and acknowledged that “the audience had changed.“People like to meet characters. They like to fall in love with them, and stay with them for a while. Our goal is to increase the number of people coming to the CBC,” "Damn it Kirstine Layfield! You betrayed us!" I cursed. We fell in love with the characters from jPod, why wasn't she letting us stay with them for a while?
After somewhat calming down, I immediately jumped onto the CBC Website and shot off a very angry letter letting them know how disappointed I was with them. I called too, taking an "Attract More Flies with Honey" tone, I figured, it wasn't the girls fault at Audience Relations it was dropped from next years schedule. It turns out I wasn't the only one. Within days of the announcement, facebook groups and a website with the soul purpose of saving the show were up and running. Even actors from the show were participating in the fight to save famed Canadian author Douglas Couplands' first foray onto Television. Yes, the Podsters are proving themselves to be a dedicated bunch.
Chris Haddock, producer of Intelligence, another cancelled CBC show, also talks about flaws in the Ratings System in an article at The Canadian Press:
Haddock also pointed out the lunacy of the CBC gauging a show's popularity, especially among young viewers, on the weekly BBM ratings since so many young television fans don't own their own homes and so cannot be counted, and many of them watch TV on the Internet. "The ratings themselves have been questioned very profoundly all over the world about their accuracy and their relevance because you have to be a homeowner," Haddock points out. "So university students don't get counted, a person who is a renter doesn't get counted, a lot of people under 30 don't get counted, so it's absurd on many, many levels. I mean do you have to buy a home to get counted in the ratings?"
I'm probably one of the "older" viewers of jPod, it's main demographic is roughly 17-28 year olds. Where is this Target Audience on a Friday Night? I can pretty much bet ya it's not at home watching the tube. I know if I wasn't married to The Dude and didn't have The 4 Amigos, I certainly would be out and about the town on Friday Nights. Episodes of jPod are also offered on CBC's own website and that's where so many fans are catching it, or through torrents. Obviously these Internet viewers mean nothing to the CBC, but the times they are a changing, and they should be considered. If you combine jPod's numbers from television, and how many are watching it online, it's right up there with the likes of Sophie. (Which, by the way, I'd rather gouge my own eyes out than watch, and I'm right in the demographic for that show. Ditto for MVP, or what I like to call "Desperate Hockey Housewives of Orange County". I'm still trying to figure out how the CBC decided to air that one, I mean, who does the CBC think they are? FOX?)
When the Canadian Broadcasting Corporations' aging demographic has gone on to greener pastures and no longer around to watch re-runs of Air Farce, the 'Google Generation' may very well hurt from the sting of cancellations so deeply that the CBC will not draw ratings, but contempt. The Power of the Internet has made it possible for Fans to rally around their cause in the likes modern society has never seen before, instanly bringing people together to fight for what they believe in, and well, cancelling jPod will not soon be forgotten and may go down as one of the worst decisions in Canadian Television.
Tonight at 10 p.m. I will be shedding a tear as the final credits in jPod's Finale roll... and I can guarantee this: I will never, EVER! watch any new show the CBC debuts. Having jPod hi-jacked away before it even had a chance to establish an audience has lost me as a viewer. The sadness I feel about it is just not worth going through again..... "sigh"..... I haven't felt this bad since FOX cancelled Firefly....