Although the fate of CBS’s Jericho still hangs in the balance, showrunner Jon Turteltaub and his studio, Junction Entertainment, has signed a multi-year overall deal with the network. Aside from Turteltaub, Jericho co-executive producers Karim Zreik and Dan Shotz, both of whom work for Junction, will also remain with CBS.
“They are smart, collaborative and have been extremely instrumental in making the show a cult favorite,” David Stapf, president of CBS Paramount, told Variety. “They had a clear vision of the direction of the show both in look and story. We’re fortunate that Jon not only brought his sense of humor, but his cinematic style to television.”
Of his Junction colleagues, Turteltaub said, “Without Dan and Karim, there’s no company — it’s just me sitting around in my underwear wanting to be in showbiz,” Turteltaub said. “These guys make things happen.”
Jericho, which will return for a second season next year, marks Turteltaub’s television debut. The drama series has gained a small but loyal following, whose grassroots campaign resurrected the show from its May cancellation.
The campaign had fans sending numerous emails to CBS entertainment president Nina Tassler and bombarding the network with around 50,000 pounds of nuts. The network has ordered seven episodes for the second season, which will air as a midseason replacement.
Jericho is actually the result of a deal Turteltaub signed with the network in 2005. Following his film, National Treasure, Turteltaub was successfully recruited by Tassler.
“I loved every minute of it,” Tassler, who is a fan of the series herself, told Variety. “Throughout the entire experience, Jon and his talented team have impressed me with their passion and dedication.”
Jericho is a post-apocalyptic drama series set in a small, rural town in Kansas. The cast includes Michael Gaston, Alicia Coppola, Kenneth Mitchell, Skeet Ulrich, Pamela Reed, Gerald McRaney, Lennie James, Brad Beyer, Ashley Scott, Sprague Grayden, Eric Knudsen and Shoshanna Stern.
Presently, Turtelaub is busy working on the sequel, National Treasure: Book of Secrets. The film boasts a stellar cast that includes Nicolas Cage, Jon Voight, Helen Mirren, Harvey Keitel, Justin Bartha and Ed Harris.
-Lisa Claustro, BuddyTV Staff Columnist
(Image Courtesy of Variety)