‘Scapers Cross Over

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What do fans of the cutting edge Sci-Fi drama Farscape and those of Crossing Over with John Edward have in common? If you say absolutely nothing, youÂ?d be dead wrong.

Both camps took issue with the cancellation of their favorite program and acted on the belief it was poor scheduling and lack of network support that sounded the death knell, rather than the oft’ cited claim of “soft ratings”.

Both shows also have love, friendship, and compassion at their core. Farscape may be packed with action and aliens, but underneath it all, one can find the same messages about the human condition that John Edward is famous for relaying. This was evident to founders of both support efforts when they conversed recently. Farscape fan Teri, known as Walter’s Girl on the SaveFarscape web site states, “Farscape, like all the best science fiction, is an examination of the human condition, space is the neutral setting that allows us to see beyond our preconceptions”. Co-founder of SaveJohnEdwardTV, Pam Blizzard from Bloomington, Illinois concurs, “It reminds me of the reason that I enjoy watching John Edward on Crossing Over, or in seminars. It puts me into a neutral spiritual space that allows me to see beyond my preconceptions about people and the physical world. It allows me to imagine a neutral plane of existence where we share much more in common”.

Farscape was cancelled despite the fact it was a critically acclaimed, award winning series. Crossing Over with John Edward was cancelled even though it boosted the Sci-Fi Channel ratings as no other freshman show before or since. Vivendi Universal of course operates the Sci-Fi Channel. One can only hope the Vivendi/NBC (GE) merger will result in better programming decisions. As Wall Street Journal reporter Joe Flint recently opined, “where network gurus run into trouble is when they pin the blame on the system, and avoid dealing with the everyday decisions that have diluted their programming and driver viewers away.” Let’s face it, Farscape didn’t meet with meteoric acclaim because it wasn’t a great series, John Edward hasn’t appeared on every show from Larry King Live to the Today Show because no one was interested in watching. So where does the blame lie?

When the founders of http://www.SaveJohnEdwardTV.com were looking for input on launching a campaign, they needed to look no farther than former Sci-Fi sister show’s fan-based effort, http://www.SaveFarscape.com. As different as the shows might be, the people had much in common and ‘Scapers generously offered advice and guidance on how to approach the same powerful Universal execs with whom they locked horns not so long ago. “Scapers, in effect crossed over, not because they were necessarily fans of Crossing Over, but because they share the belief that viewer voices deserve to be heard. “Scaper Teri says, “Any fandom that stands up for their show is helping to change the landscape of television……..being vocal and demanding quality serves as a reminder that we are the consumers and our wishes matter”. The group at http://www.SaveFarscape.com set a new standard for fan based efforts, proving that viewer groups take not only their programming choices seriously, but the placement of their consumer dollars as well. Their efforts have proved successful and the members of http://www.SaveJohnEdwardTV.com are taking those lessons to heart. While Universal may no longer be home to John Edward, other networks and their advertisers could reap the benefit of an eager fan base.

One thing is certain, network executives facing the dilemma of recapturing decreasing audience share might be wise to take notice these two groups share the common goal of making their voices heard by various means, including giving or withholding consumer support. If other fan based groups follow suit, network and cable executives will feel an impact that just might make turning a deaf ear to these viewers not quite so easy to do.

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Marcia Secaur