Save “The 4400″ – With Sunflower Seeds

By Jason

February 1, 2008 Television No comments

The 4400 Header
By now you may have heard that the USA Network has canceled “The 4400.” I am and have been saddened by the news as I thoroughly enjoyed the show and have done so since the first season. I think the most disappointing thing is that the fans really had no warning that the show was on the chopping block until it got axed.Much like another show that was canceled without warning (did someone say “Jericho“?), fans were left with a cliffhanger ending and no sense of closure on a story that they had spent several years of their lives on.

Once Again, Fans Are Left Disappointed

Disappointing really isn’t even a fair word to use when something like this happens to loyal fans because it goes far beyond mere disappointment. We’re disappointed when our favorite sports team loses a game – but it’s just one game. When we follow a television show for season after season, year after year, however, we become emotionally invested in the characters and the plots of that story. The writers and producers are trying to make us feel this way as this is what creates a successful program and gets people to continue to watch the show.

It isn’t fair for a network to string along millions of fans with a story line that continues to have cliffhanger endings and continues to introduce new plot twists and then end the show without warning and without tying up those story lines. It isn’t fair because we, as consumers of the show, have spent countless hours watching that program and buying into what they are selling us. To end a program like “The 4400” so abruptly is a betrayal of the trust we, the consumers, have placed in the networks, the manufacturers of the product. It is unfair and dishonest.

The Campaign To Save “The 4400″

It’s really no wonder that fans of the show are attempting to mount a campaign to bring “The 4400” back in the same way that fans of “Jericho” were able to bring back that program. In the case of “Jericho,” fans sent thousands upon thousands of pounds of peanuts to the network in a protest that was inspired by a line spoken by one of the characters on the show. As I argued at the time, the network had nothing to lose and everything to gain in bringing back the show.

For “The 4400,” fans have decided that sending sunflower seeds will be the preferred method of protest. Sunflower seeds are the favorite snack of a character on the show named Dr. Kevin Burkhoff. The sunflower seeds of choice seem to be Giants Sunflower Seeds, manufactured by a Wahpeton-based company with eight employees.

“We thought they were loony tunes at first,” said Jay Schuler, head of Giants Snacks LLC, which makes Giants Seeds. “But it has been a wonderful thing.”

Tom Schuler, who handles internet sales for Giants Seeds, says about 1,700 bags of sunflower seeds had already been ordered from Giants by the end of the business day on Thursday, the day before the campaign’s official launch (which is today).

“It’s kind of cool to see all these loyal fans,” said Schuler, who has been including notes from fans with most orders similar to what the peanut company did with the “Jericho” campaign. “It’s a little crazy, but I feel good about it.”

Kristin Schulman, a spokeswoman for USA Network, said the network had no one available Thursday to comment on “The 4400″ campaign. Of course.

The Cast of The 4400

Can “The 4400″ Be Saved?

Fans shouldn’t expect much from the network unless they can get enough press to make this campaign an unavoidable issue. There are countless fan campaigns to save pretty much every show that gets canceled and those campaigns are becoming increasingly well organized with the internet playing a major role, of course. But for the network to pay attention fans of “The 4400″ will have to send a LOT of sunflower seeds and will have to get a LOT of press – something that will be difficult to do for a show that kind of flew by under the radar on cable television for four years. Fans of “Journeymanstarted a similar campaign to save that show in which fans sent boxes of Rice-A-Roni, but so far, have not met with much success.

I do, of course, hope this campaign is successful. As I said, I am a big fan of the show and I would hate to see it go away without so much as a farewell or goodbye. We deserve better.

What Can Fans Do To Save “The 4400?”

Maybe if we continue to fight and continue to press the studios and the networks they will eventually change the way the handle the cancellation of television programs. Until then the only thing we can really do to save our favorite shows – to save “The 4400″ is sign the petitions, visit the sites, and send the seeds…and hope something works.

I just want to say a quick WELCOME to fans of “The 4400″ who have found this site through the USA Network message boards or any other message boards. Please consider joining BloggingZoom and clicking the Zoom button you see to the bottom right of this article. Zooming this story will get it on the front page of BloggingZoom and in front of the eyes of thousands of people.