THE FIVE STAGES OF CW PROGRAMMING ANNOUNCEMENTS

Beware of Beasties going Code Yellow




I meant to post this last weekend as a response to the CW’s midseason schedule announcement. As you all must know by now, Beauty and the Beast will be taking an “indefinite” hiatus starting on March. Generally speaking, this type of programming decision is NOT a good sign… The fan reaction was immediate and strong emotions quickly spread over the twitter-verse. I was unable to keep up with all my after-the-fact twitter mentions, so I took a weekend break and in this time, I am positive I went through all of Kubler Ross’s 5 stages of loss. I finally “accepted” we may need to say good-bye to our beloved show, that I will re-watch my DVDs from time to time and enjoy it all over again, that I will forever remember this as one of my best fandom experiences and that hopefully I will be able to keep some of the friendships I’ve made over the past year… and then I thought:

HELL NO!

I am not just going to sit idly by and take this! I am all about television evolving, new media having an impact and fans campaigning for what they want to see. This IS NOT the first time a show gets taken of the schedule and then comes back [to stay]. NBC did it a couple of years ago with Community. Critics, reporters and ‘prediction sites’ were talking about the show as if it were cancelled, but fans quickly assembled and the #SaveCommunity #Sixseasonsandamovie and #OccupyNBC (the flashmob outside NBC) campaigns were born. At the time I thought we were going to be lucky if the show returned for a fourth season, but here we are today about to start watching Season 5 and suddenly that “Six seasons and a movie” goal doesn’t seem impossible. Chuck was “about to get cancelled” so many times, it had at least 3 potential series finales. Nikita also started as a Thursday show, only to be moved to the Friday “death slot” where it managed to survive for four seasons. And speaking of Nikita, its predecessor La Femme Nikita also had a passionate fan campaign which included around 25,000 letters sent to the studio, e-mails that eventually shut down the system, placing an ad on Hollywood Reporter and mailing gifts (chocolates, cookies & TVs) to the top execs of the network [I guess they were going for the “you catch more flies with honey” approach].

Read more about shows that were saved by fans: 

Television IS finally changing… look at The Killing, it just won’t die! [Thank you Netflix], Drop Dead Diva was also “uncancelled” earlier this year and even shows that were dead for years are coming back in one form or another (Veronica Mars, Arrested Development). With so much going on, it is not the time to just sit down and say “Oh well… it’s all about the ratings, too bad…” No! It is not “all about the ratings”, not anymore or at least it shouldn’t be.

So, would I bet money on Beauty and the Beast getting a third season at this point? Probably not… but do I think it has a 0% chance of renewal? No! I definitely don’t think that. What I actually think is that BATB’s fate is, at this point, “unknown” which means fans can still influence it.

So, what does BATB have going for it?


  • It is a hit overseas. This is one of the reasons they decided to keep Nikita around [and other shows like Prison Break]. The show seems to be airing EVERYWHERE, that translates into high international revenue and potential for future DVD sales. I don’t know how these figures compare to short-term ad revenue but I would be willing to bet they could exceed what 2 extra ratings points could generate by far.


  • It is Mark Pedowitz’s first project. This was the case of Gossip Girl, that show survived for longer than it should have simply because Dawn Ostroff was “emotionally attached” to it. You always remember your first…


  • Potential online activity/revenue. We know live ratings suck big time and we know DVR Live + 7 ratings don’t really matter [but they are better than nothing], however we don’t really know what is going on online. I am hoping the show has better than average playback online (Hulu, CW, Amazon and iTunes). It is also on Netflix, but that was a bundle deal… I don’t know how the show compares to others when it comes to online viewership, but I do know that social media activity seems to be higher in comparison. There is a lot of twitter activity and the show constantly wins polls, more often than say Arrow or even The Vampire Diaries, so the fans are definitely committed. And I am hoping they take into account the “quality” of the audience as well as the size.


  • The new shows might still fail [miserably]. “Midseason” and “hit” are not 2 words often used in the same sentence; so it wouldn’t surprise me at all if both (or at least 1) of the new shows gets cancelled after a couple of episodes. Everyone is assuming that BATB will finish airing over the summer but they may just be keeping it “in reserve” to replace one of the failed shows… Or they could be thinking to make BATB a summer show, which is not the worst case scenario.


  • Not enough CBS shows on schedule. And this one is a biggie. CW is owned by CBS and Time Warner. Almost 100% of the lineup is produced by parent studios: CBS and WB and they try to maintain balance between the two. Currently only Reign, Starcrossed and BATB are produced by CBS. So there is a chance that they will renew at least two of those. But if for some reason Starcrossed fails or Reign starts going downhill… that would increase BATB’s chances of renewal exponentially. [This point is also related to my twitter #IrrationalTVHatred and why I am suddenly voting for The Originals as New favourite PCA drama *hint* I haven’t developed a sudden love for the vampire drama… it’s all about strategy].


So what now?


Well… it’s the end of the year, so I assume we are all very busy with RL but fan engagement will be crucial over the next few months. Some of the key fan actions include:

  • Watching online! STREAM STREAM STREAM Make sure those online playback statistics are OFF THE CHARTS (stream on Hulu and CW) Read this for more information. Also buy season passes on Amazon or iTunes [or BOTH!] and buy DVDs. Think of every $ spent as a dollar contributed to keeping the show alive.

  • Sign the PETITION  So petitions are not the most effective method but it certainly can’t hurt and it only takes 2 seconds to sign.


  • Fan Campaigns (mailing campaigns): There are several in the works. Hopefully all fans will be able to coordinate and make one BIG campaign. This is VERY important so try to participate when details are sorted out.


I’ll be updating this list once I get the chance to sort through everything that fans are doing. 
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TVEmpress

The TV Empress is a Media Management graduate, screenwriter in the making (and financial engineer in the meantime). She has serious plans to take over global television. You can follow the TVEmpress on twitter @TVRepublik

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34 comments:

  1. Go Go Go! Julie Chaston here, I am with you...and your point about being coordinated as a fandom is true. Right now there are various campaigns, although everyone's heart is in the right place, it won't look good if we disjointed in our efforts

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    1. Agree as usual Julie, thanks for reading :)

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  2. Great post.Thanks.We should also remember Carrie Diaries,which got renewed when it had bad ratings&has less international deals (I think)&less online noise compared to BATB.BATB has more online noise than all CW shows besides Supernatural&TVD.I just don't want to believe they would cancel a show with such an online voice& PCA award etc.which norm doesn't matter, but should to a low-performing network like CW. Also,Supernatural had a rough beginning&One Tree Hill was predicted to be cancelled the first 3 seasons &went on for 9.Also, I doubt anything would perform better than BATB in the Mon. 9pm slot bc of intense competition it faces.Mid season shows could still fail&if even 1 of them does,BATB's chances of renewal increase.I think 1 of them is likely to like Cult last leason.Also,Reign and Tomorrow People could still fall enough to get cancelled bc they already fell to .6 faster than BATB did last year&ratings tend to decrease after the winter finale so maybe their ratings will fall come January& if they do then that would really help BATB bc it makes more sense to renew a low-rated 2nd season show than a 1st seasno one.That CW press release announcing the hiatus just created more panic.We norm take a hiatus in March for 4 weeks I think but diff is we had a return date last time although we as the viewer didnt know the hiatus or return date in advance. USA Today said summer but the CW press release just said indefinite. TV critic from TV addict said it would return in late April which would be on par with last year.

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    1. I absolutely agree with what you are pointing out. After SPN and TVD, BATB is always the show appearing on polls and awards and on twitter. I don't think even Arrow has as much fan commitment as BATB does and I am hoping the network is aware of it... they should on some level. And I swear every day I see a comment of someone saying "I've just discovered this show and I love it" so the potential to grow as an international fandom is huge. And that's the way I think they should see the show: as an international show. I am sick of the fate of shows being determined by what a few families in the US decide to watch... we are becoming a global society, with Netflix and other online distribution windows programmers need to re-evaluate what they consider to be a hit! Yes! I obviously feel very strongly about this! haha

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  3. Part 2 continued from above: I think the CW said unknown return date bc they are planning on replacing a failing midseason (like cult last yr) show with BATB if necessary. + spin maybe. but still logical guess on my part. Why did the CW even annoucne the indefinite return date? Just mad eme nervous! agh! But it's dumb for them to mention it bc its too early to know anyway bc BATB could replace any of the failing shows and we will know if Starcrossed is failing when we get closer to when BATB takes its hiatus.And we will know more about TTP and Reign & the unplanned hiatus might just mean BATB returning in April like it always has. I agree it isn't a good sign, but it doesn't mean it is cancelled either. It just has nwhere else to go on the schedule since Friday got taken up so 1 of the shows has to fail or end for BATB to return.I wish the CW had just made whose line a summer show..why air it now? AGH! Never give up Beasties.They won't make BATB's cancellation decision until May so we have time to take action& we have to wait to see how tomorrow people, reign, starcrosse &100 perform bc BATB's renewal chances depends on their ratings.If 1 of them fails our renewal chances increase a lot.It's not over until a show is officially cancelled&we are far from that so keep recruiting viewers! Keep voting in polls! There's honestly time between now and the March hiatus and the decision making time in May. I have faith. BATB just has so much online and international support. It can't be cancelled easily. Let's make sit super popular online with streaming. TCD was kept bc of that. And moving forward Beasties avoid news sources that are just assuming things like I believe USA today was bc the CW press release was vague and just said return at some time. Recruit more beasties! We can do this!

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    1. Once again, I agree my anonymous reader... I firmly believe the decision has not being made yet and that we can still make a difference. I try to think as a programmer and I would definitely be influenced by what the fans choose to do and how committed they are ...

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  4. I could care less in a way because I feel like the magic is lost this season with the "beast of the week" stuff. They've changed too much imo what made the show so special and will now have to rush to find a suitable ending or leave it unfinished. Both unsatisfying. I hope I'm proven wrong and the second half will pull me in again but I'm not holding my breath.

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    1. What is your point? You don't care. Why comment? If you're not in it to help fight for the show, why do you feel the need to express your dislike everywhere?
      We are here to do what we can to help the show and attitudes like yours are counterintuitive and frankly, unnecessary.
      If you don't want to support the show, fair that's your business but keep it to yourself so others who are here for all the loop-da-loops and don't have a conditional love for the show and feel like the magic isn't dead, can do what we got to do to save it.
      Your negativity is unnecessary and unwelcome IMO.

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    2. well said Kiki yes we know people are not liking season 2,there is no need to spread such negative comments when a show is in the battle to save its tv life.So please if you dont wanna support just stay quiet and let us battle on!! #BeautyAndTheBeast #SaveBatB

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    3. Excuse me, but as someone who loved the show last year -fought, voted( and yes, actually did send in one of the very few books that were mailed in )I think I had a right to voice my opinion on if I want the show back or not. I'm not just some mindless robot that has to get in line with everyone's opinions or keep my opinions away. And that's fine that you want to save it but I have to right to voice my opinion whether you think it hurts your cause or not. I want the writers and showrunners to know some people feel cheated (and it's not even about Vin/Cat being together they were always intense and had a pull in the first season even when not together) but I and many others don't recognize them anymore. So flame away and carry on. If you get your "product" back, fine if not that's fine with me too.

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    4. I usually avoid answering comments where there is a lot of 'debate' but I feel I should talk about my personal stand-point on the subject of 'fandom commitment'. I do greatly appreciate everyone who takes the time to read and comment, so Thank you. I am only posting this in the spirit of explaining MY personal feelings.

      So here it goes:

      I watch an insane amount of TV and I have different 'relationships' to the shows I watch. For most of them, I am a casual viewer, I watch them then forget about them until the next week. Other shows I watch because of their superior content & I consider them to be a in a higher category of TV, such is the case of: Breaking Bad, Mad Men, Game of Thrones, Sons of Anarchy, etc. Finally there are the shows for which I consider myself an "engaged fan". Doesn't happen with many shows and it doesn't happen with the shows I necessarily consider to be the "best" (overall quality-wise), it just happens as a result of a number of factors. And my personal viewpoint about being a "fan" is about more than the show and its content, it is also about being part of a community. Yes, it's still about watching, but half the fun is about sharing with other fans, discussing, voting on polls, tweeting, trending and doing all sort of silly things. So when you are a 'fan' in this context, loving a show is almost like loving a person... you keep loving them even when they screw up. I guess what I am trying to say is that I am not 100% happy with the creative choices currently being made on the show (I will not get into it here, but I have my own opinions about it), but that is not what my personal fan experience is about... not just that. There is still a lot of things that please me about the actual show and we are on episode 8... As a person seeking a career on television, I understand how hard it must be to maintain a 22 episode storyline with so many time constraints and studio pressures. Not saying everything is perfect (far from it), but also stating that for me 'being a fan' goes beyond that. Of course that is my personal opinion, I also completely understand that some people are not feeling it anymore and no-one should try to force them to do this or that... or to think this or that, but I don't really see the point of creating unnecessary confrontation. Some people may not be happy or engaged anymore (not my case for the reasons I explained) but others are still very passionate about the show... So, let's all be respectful about our feelings on the subject.

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    5. I am not here to make any enemies as I am voicing another side. I think that it is great that the fans are doing everything they can to get BATB renewed, however, I am surprised how kiki09 and other fans react when other fans of the same show bring up the reality that season 2 is not going well. I understand we all cannot be in agreement about whether we like S2 or not but allow us fans of the same show to voice our disappointment about the show. I would like this show to be renewed and it's writing get better. I admit that my interest in the show has gone significantly down and I can speak for a lot of beasties that have lost interest. I think it is apparent that the voting and response has remained within the same circle of people.
      I am skeptical that the show will get renewed. The story and direction of season 2 has turned off a lot of fans that were already iffy about the show. There are a lot of shows on TV and if BATB depends on the fandom and does not put out a show that majority of its fans want, it will suffer and it has. The focus on Jay Ryan on season 2 has not been received well, Catherine weakening character. The flow of the story is choppy. They could have made it better and we will not have this threat of a possible cancellation. We had this threat last season and because we ALL liked the show it got renewed. Season 2 shows how much separated we are.
      We do not need to fight each other as in the end whatever it will be will be. Ratings in the US is bad and that is what the networks look at as number 1. If you want to do whatever you need to do to get the show renewed then please do. We all like this show, we do not agree with some things but we are all on the same team. Let's respect each other opinions and feelings about the show.

      Thank you.

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  5. I agree, the news isn't good. If the mid-season shows do well, will they even continue production on Season 2 of BATB? That would suck even more. And I agree that the only way for us fans/beasties to be a voice and have an impact is if we band together somehow and have 1 or 2 major campaigns that span across twitter, tumblr, facebook, forums, etc. What is difficult is that we are everywhere spread across the internet on different forums and venues. Getting everyone to agree to just 1 or 2 campaign ideas will be difficult. The campaigns need to have a huge impact. The book idea from last year was good, but they only received 100's of books. For it to work and for execs to take notice, it needs to be in the 1000's, and by 1000's, I mean the upper 1000's. Trending on twitter is great, but that alone won't do anything. Overloading the cw website and making it crash on the other hand? Also, I know from my own past fan experience that I don't like sending $ or buying things to send to execs or fan campaigners, but maybe beasties will band together and send craploads of $$ if we set up a save batb thing but the $$ actually goes to say.... diabetes research. Make "may the Forbes be with you" into something, or something like that. I don't know, just my 2 cents. hahahaha

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    1. Regardless of anything, they will shoot the full 22. That's guaranteed. The main stress is when they will air the last 6 eps.

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    2. There is a new campaign to send postcards to CW. I like it because it is simple, ppl from all over the world can do it, it's quicker than actually writing letters and since post-cards don't have envelops they are bound to see them, even if they throw them away later. About e-mail campaigns ... I think if we decide to do it we should coordinate a date so a massive amount of e-mails are sent on the same day... and that is bound to get some attention... also it's not too hard to coordinate and we can organize it as a "trend"

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  6. I was waiting for something special from you! Your article was spot on and gives us hope. Thank you! We won't go down without a fight!

    All best,
    Denise from NY

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    1. Thanks for reading Denise, and I am glad you decided to join twitter as well!

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  7. As per usual, great post and great points! I will do whatever it takes for BATB to get a season 3 and Community is truly a great example of fans banding together.

    I think we need to somehow collate all the fan campaigns into on place, so it can be accessible to everyone and that we all know what's going on, when they take place and a detail of what we need to do.

    I think an organized effort would be great and would be clearer for everyone.

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    1. Yes! Organization and direction is appreciated!

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  8. thank you for shinning some ray of light amidst the thick grey skies (sorry if this doesn't make sense, i'm literally translating it from my mother tongue :D ) Always love your column!

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    1. It made perfect sense! Thanks for reading, and let's not lose hope yet! Let's be the little show that could! The surprising renewal, something that will go on programming books in the future! haha

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  9. Love the article and your strategy with the Originals I shall retweet everything them & Sleepy Hollow. I miss Angie Redding who helped coordinate and us along with @Cathy_Chandler. We need someone to take the lead that understands this stuff. Willing to do it all! Thank you for being such a great fan, I remember from the begining your writing about the show and how it has grown into a passion for you! Love this article.

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    1. Thank you Ruth :) Thanks for reading and your kind comments. And yay The Originals! haha

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  10. I am from Germany and I do want to get the show here!
    I just love it and our French -tobecome -fans will join us soon, too!
    Lets get it started! I'm in!

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    1. Yes! More fans... and it would be great if it started airing in Germany. I know they got it to air in South Africa by starting a petition. @Greycent1 made that happen if I am not mistaken....

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  11. Thank you for giving us a direction! I got into the show late (started it on Netflix when I got my tablet to test the graphics and TOTALLY got sucked in. Then watched on cw online & amazon) I Love it for quite a few reasons. I rarely get 'into' TV show series and this one has made me roll over and beg lol. I'd really like to see a season 3, and now I know how to promote that :) thank you again!

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    1. Hi Barbara! Awesome to have new fans joining us! And thanks for coming to my site! Everywhere I look I seem to find new fans, which only makes me want S3 more because our awesome community is growing! We can still make it happen if we don't give up and keep making noise! Do you have twitter BTW?

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  12. Thanks for your comments and He'll No we wont't give up! Personally I think that this was a smart move for the network. That may sound crazy but if this would not have happened I think the show would have just died. I think we have been given a second chance. IMO there needed to be some changes and this is the only way that this would have happened. There have been many unhappy fans-many happy but just as many not so,the fans have been fighting. I think that we needed something to push all of us to some action. The fans to band together again and stop telling the other side they are wrong I how they feel and the writers too to address the low ratings and why. The network needed to,know just how much this show is loved all over the world! We have an amazing fan base and crew and cast but this year, to me , has not seemed as cohesive as last year. Now is our chance to make it that way again for everyone. We have lots of ways to voice our opinion and to promote the show. We need to bring those fans back that disappeared this year and to bring new ones in. We are definitely making us known I social media again which is good. Let's show the network that this show BATB is worth keeping on the air!

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    1. haha I know it sounds crazy, but the thought that "this may end up being a positive thing" also crossed my mind. It's almost like the network was saying: "Hey Beasties, you are On thin ice, let's see how committed you truly are" and we ARE committed, aren't we? Plus I NEVER walk away from a challenge. And as I said in one of my comments above, for me this is about so much more than just "a show I like", it's about an awesome fan community and on a professional level it is about television evolving to take into account new distribution windows + global audiences.

      And you are absolutely right, it's time to act as a united fandom and stop all the disagreements, I am sure everyone will come around and see the importance of this. Thanks for reading and commenting Loki!

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  13. Wonderful article lets bring on the battle to save our show.The indefinate return date is worrying but we must push that aside and show our show is not all about Nielsen's outdated ratings system.Keep our online presence LOUD and SOLID,no more needless arguments about whose right etc,put our energy into good use,Lets save #BeautyAndTheBeast #SaveBatB

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    1. Thank you so much for your comments Samantha! I love your fighting spirit! And you are absolutely right, let's put our energy into good use :)

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  14. Great job as always explaining things in such a way to calm things down. You did that so well with your recap's on the Alex arc, I am sad that you are not doing them with this season.. I was not happy in the beginning with the way things were going, but I can really see now what lies ahead and am just as excited to get the show back in January as I was last year. No matter what we will get all 22 episodes and a year from now if the show does not get a S3 I will be watching 44 episodes on DVD or Amazon and loving every minute of them. We can't all get what we want all the time, but truly being a fan means hanging on and hanging in and doing what we can to support this show and each other. I think that might be the same for EPIC love ..... hmmm.... #beautyandthebeast #BATB

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    1. I am also sad I am not writing recaps :( I have so much to say! What I can say is that I am not 100% happy with everything, but probably not for the reasons most viewers are complaining. I actually understand the need for conflict and I think I can see where they are going, it's going to take them time, but when they get there it will be very satisfying. I am actually going to quote Syd Field here:

      "All drama is conflict. Without conflict, you have no action; without action, you have no character; without character, you have no story, and without story, you have no screenplay"

      And I think everyone should keep that in mind. And now, screenwriting class is over haha. And yes, we'll have 44 awesome eps for sure, but let's not give up on having more!

      Thanks for reading Kristen

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  15. I am not sure why this didn't post before so if it does again please excuse. It looks like other shows are going on long hiatus: Once Upon a Time and Scandal both back in March. The only difference is that BATB there is not return date announced which is worrying. I am worried that we won't get those last 6 episodes for severalmonths and there will be no closure at the end of Episode 16. I am hoping that there will be some closure for VINCAT with the expectation that there are still situations for them to deal with together. I think the network is honoring the actors they have hired and advertised like Elizabeth Rohm who is in it until episode 16 I think. I think the critical time is JAN-MAR. We are active and loud right now but we cannot let that die for even one day! WE need to keep roaring right up until March 10 (and beyond)but definitely till then. When the show comes back depends on what happens in those months. I think we will get some fans back as the next arc is suppose to be better for those people not liking the season and we are suppose to be seeing more of JT, Tess and Vincent and Cat working together which is something I have really missed. Those four make the show, in my view, and that is the one thing I have really not liked, but like we have said being a fan means you take the good with the bad and I have persevered and will to the END!

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