Jericho Set Visit Preview

It was left for dead on the cutting room floor – but “Jericho” was saved by none other than NUTS!

In an unprecedented move, CBS brought back the sci-fi drama just two weeks after cancelling it. And that’s all because of a major fan campaign that made world wide headlines. Millions of boxes of peanuts were sent to CBS Television City begging the TV execs to keep the show on the air.

And it worked! With a shortened seven-episode arch, “Jericho” will return to the network as a mid-season replacement. was invited to the Van Nuys, CA set where we spoke to the producers and creators of the show, as well as Lennie James who plays Robert Hawkins. We were also able to take a sneak peak at some clips from Season 2 and watch a scene from episode 5.

You could tell right off the bat that everyone was so excited to be back; producer Karim Zreik was our tour guide for the day, and took us around the various sets and gave us some insight into how the story will continue. A new element to Season 2 will be the introduction of mega-company, Jennings and Rall. “They’ll play a prominent roll in the next seven episodes of Season 2,” Zreik said. “Episode 1, of Season 2, you’ll see the building of Jennings and Rall, who helps re-build Jericho; that’s the storyline of Season 2. It’s a new look for Jericho; lights work, electricity is back on, power, there are actually cars that drive up and down the street.”

Season 2 will pick up right after the battle scene from last year in the first episode, and then they’ll jump three weeks ahead for the next episode. We were on set during the taping of the final day of filming episode 5; show 6 picked up the very next day.

The sheriff’s office received a new look for this season; they brought in Esai Morales as new character Col. Hoffman. “Part of the storyline in Season 2 is the military we introduced everybody to in episode 22, now plays a role in Season 2. The Cheyenne military moves in, and shares the office space with the sheriff. Esai has been put in charge, and because this town does not have a sheriff, yet, he takes over.”

After the fans brought the show back, the one thing on the mind of creator/executive producer John Steinberg is keeping them happy. “I think we just want to tell the right end to this story,” he said. “In changing it from 22 episodes to seven episodes, we sort of broke it like a movie and so we want to find the best end to this movie we can come up with, and I think we have a pretty good one. I think you are going to feel satisfied, but you’ll also know there’s a lot more story coming down the road. And it’s not tied up in a bow in any way.”

As for the change with Jennings and Rall, producer Dan Shots pointed out, “It’s sort of a metaphor for big business coming into this small town, like a Wal-Mart in a way.”

John jumped in with, “They’re all kind of helping each other. This used to be a main street with all mom and pop owned stores, and now there’s this big monolithic store front. We really wanted this season to be about our world and be about something. I think we got there.”

Whether the bombs will be going off or not, everyone was pretty mum about that. “Maybe,” was everyone’s response. But John added, “The practical element will get resolved pretty quickly, but the first season is going to bleed story through the second season – especially that finale. They went through way too much and it was too terrible for them to get over it in seven episodes. And whether this was intentional or not, it ended up being a very good canvas for the story we wanted to tell. We’re protecting a Season 3, and we don’t know if we’re coming back, but the story is protected and have a pretty good sense of what we’d be doing.”

And Dan said, “We promised the fans that we would pay this off, and we were a little worried about doing it the right way, but we give them everything they want and they’ll be pretty happy. And it’s always building; we’re hoping to come back for Season 3. You’ll feel it in the story, and you’ll see there’s a larger story to tell after these seven.”

Before a third season, “Jericho” will get its second season. We’ll have much more from the set of “Jericho,” including our chat with Lennie James. That’s all leading up to the premiere on CBS.


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