CBS chief doesn't question 'Moonlight' choice

Alexoloughlin_moonlight_240_3While CBS Entertainment President Nina Tassler insists she still has great adoration for all things occult, she has yet to feel regret about the decision to leave Moonlight off of the network's fall schedule.

"Everybody knows I love vampires -- vampires, witches, warlocks, I love them all," Tassler tells reporters at Friday (July 18) morning's Television Critics Association press tour.

That love does precious little good for fans of Moonlight, which averaged just under 7.5 million viewers in a single season of Friday night airings. On a purely empirical level, the ratings for Moonlight were insufficient to justify renewal, but nobody has questioned the dedication of the show's fanbase.

What Tassler questions is the nature of that dedication.

"The response to Moonlight was actually more actor-centric, so I think it certainly measures our decision on the show," Tassler says. "Right now, like I said, I don't question the choice we made. I'm not getting as much mail and most of those comments were actor-centric."

What she's implying is that in their teeth-gnashing and garment-rending, protesters came across as fans of Alex O'Loughlin, rather than fans of the show.

She contrasts the tone of the Moonlight discussion with the campaign that resurrected another low-rated CBS drama, a little show called Jericho.

"You know what's interesting? Most of the e-mails and viewer mail on Jericho were very show-centric," Tassler insists. "There was a marked contrast. Look. I went online and I read all those things. Trust me, when you're a Queen Ranger, you have to. But like I said, most of the comments on Jericho were really about the show and every detail about the show, where mostly with Moonlight, it was about Alex."

On the subject of Jericho, Tassler continues, "Let's remember that when those e-mails and that campaign started, we hadn't seen anything like that before. Not to mention the peanuts. But I'm saying that you, you had an internet campaign the likes of which we had never seen before, so we didn't know what the outcome was going to be, but it was certainly worth giving it a try."

Tassler adds that just because one fan campaign brought Jericho back from the dead, but a different campaign failed to do the same for Moonlight doesn't mean that the grass roots avenue is now closed for good.

"No. I think you're gonna have to look at each as a case-by-case scenario," she says. "And let's not forget that all of that, the e-mails, the barrage of the peanuts and the letters and everything, you've got people that are passionate and at no point are you going to say 'We don't want that.'"

If it makes Moonlight fans any better -- and I have zero urge to make them feel worse -- CBS has paid heed to that actor-centric love for O'Loughlin. Asked if the network would welcome the Aussie actor back on a new or established show, Tassler doesn't hesitate.

"Sure, we'd love to."

Follow all of our press tour missives at Zap2it's Fall Preview.

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