Criminal Minds Part 2: Time to Boycott CBS

19 October 2009 - Los Angeles, California - Thomas Gibson, Matthew Gray Gubler, Kirsten Vangsness, Joe Mantegna, Paget Brewster, Shemar Moore, A. J. Cook and Crew. The Cast and Crew of CRIMINAL MINDS celebrating their 100th Episode with a cake cutting. held At The Quixote Studios. Photo Credit: Kevan Brooks/AdMedia

(See my previous blog entry for the background on the Criminal Minds story)

In case you missed the news, CBS and Criminal Minds’ producers have decided that A.J. Cook is indeed staying fired.  She gets  two episodes to tie up her storyline.  Paget Brewster fared somewhat better; supposedly she is in 10 out of 13 episodes. Although it is a 22 episode season, so I don’t understand the math. Gee, too bad CBS also cancelled Numb3rs!  I could have used the help in figuring it out. 1

Because I just really don’t get it. CBS and the producers seem totally determined to destroy a great show. Not sure where their minds are at.

I think that website twocents.com said it best:

And I can’t help but be angry at CBS. I still feel like they are sending a very bad message to their viewers, their female ones in particular. They cut three strong female characters from their fall line up (AJ off Criminal Minds, Liz Vassey from CSI, and Jennifer Love Hewitt’s show Ghost Whisperer got completely canceled), and reduced the role of another, then they decided to pay Charlie Sheen, who admittedly abused his wife, nearly 2 million dollars an episode for Two and a Half Men. They fire, reduce, and replace female presence on their network, then reward a man who abuses his wife? Not cool, CBS. Show women a little more respect, will you?

And Janeane Garofalo in talks for the spin off for Criminal Minds? Check the picture of Garofalo in the linked article. Can we say Garcia clone, boys and girls?  So much for any real creativity.

What else do we have to look forward to? Maybe the new female character on Criminal Minds will be played by Executive Producer Bernero’s daughter. After all, nepotism  has to be better than sexism, right?

So where do we go from here? One person suggested boycotting CBS but not Criminal Minds. However, it doesn’t seem fair to boycott shows like NCIS without boycotting the show that is actually the problem. Will CBS really get the point that it is their actions on Criminal Minds that we are upset about if we keep watching anyway?  I don’t think so.

In fact, I think CBS is counting on the fact the most people will grumble and complain, but ultimately continue to watch anyway. CBS never even bothered to address the fans’ concerns; they are that sure that people will continue to tune in.

But I won’t be one of them. Personally, I have had enough.  And I wrote them and told them so.

Over this last week, I have been practicing not watching CBS.  No more NCIS, the CSI  franchises, Medium, or even Entertainment Tonight.  No more nightly news from the CBS affiliate. And yeah, I am taking it to extremes: No more Criminal Minds reruns on A & E or Ion.  No more NCIS reruns on USA.  No more CSI  reruns on Spike.

Even the DVDs (and I own them all) are staying on the shelf, unwatched. And, I am looking into boycotting the CBS advertisers as well.

I urge everybody who cares about Criminal Minds (and getting quality programming in general) to boycott CBS as well.

And you know what? I am surviving just fine, with the aid of my Roku Player. And my Kindle.  And my computer. And my netbook. And Hulu.

Are you getting the picture, CBS?  It is a brave new world out there. I mean with that new-fangled Internet and all. People actually have choices about when and what they want to watch. And I have lots of toys to play with….

How about you? Are you a disgruntled Criminal Minds fan? Are you protesting the change? Or, have you ever had your favorite television show cancelled (or cannibalized)?  How did you react?

  1.  More fuzzy CBS math: Season episodes reduced were to 16 so Miami Medical could air in its spot. Numb3rs was then cancelled.

Help Save the Ladies of Criminal Minds

19 October 2009 - Los Angeles, California - Thomas Gibson, Kirsten Vangsness, A. J. Cook, Paget Brewster, Matthew Gray Gubler, Shemar Moore, Joe Mantegna. The Cast and Crew of CRIMINAL MINDS celebrating their 100th Episode with a cake cutting. held At The Quixote Studios. Photo Credit: Kevan Brooks/AdMedia

One of my favorite shows on television is CBS’ Criminal Minds. It is an outstanding drama with an outstanding cast that is going into its sixth year on the air.

This week, it was announced that Criminal Minds’ A.J. Cook was dropped from the show.  The number of episodes that castmate Paget Brewster is scheduled to appear in have been severely reduced.  

The initial press about this cited “financial reasons” for dropping Cook’s character of “JJ” from the poplar procedural drama. CBS has since since backpedaled and says that the changes were made for “creative reasons.”  On her Twitter account, Paget Brewster confirms the reasons are indeed financial, not creative.

And the fans, myself included, are livid. 

Criminal Minds has an incredible ensemble cast.  It is the chemistry of this group that really makes the show work. Having strong women showing that they can do a difficult and dangerous job not only offers great role models, but is more realistic in its portrayal of the “real” world.

LOS ANGELES, CA - OCTOBER 19: (L-R) Actresses Kirsten Vangsness, A. J. Cook and Paget Brewster attend the 100th episode celebration for the television show 'Criminal Minds' on October 19, 2009 in Los Angeles, California.  (Photo by Frederick M. Brown/Getty Images)

Cutting the characters of “JJ” and Prentiss would leave Garcia (played by Kirsten Vangsness) as the lone female regular.  And because Garcia’s character is technically a data analyst and not an active agent like JJ and Prentiss, it could be perceived that the remaining female character is in a more servile, less equal role compared to the men in the cast (none of whom are being cut).

So,  for most fans, the network’s actions in cutting just the female cast members are being seen as pretty sexist.  Especially as Entertainment President Nina Tassler has been quoted as saying about the renewal of Charlie Sheen’s lucrative contract,  “I think we value our stars and our actors.”

CBS has also announced plans for a spin off from Criminal Minds.  The pilot, that aired as an episode of the show and included the regular cast, was viewed by many fans as lacking the chemistry of the original.  Some fans are concerned that the costs saved by salaries for Cook and Brewster will go to the new, lesser quality spin off instead.

If finances are a problem, CBS could definitely earn additional income by making episodes of the show available for streaming, download and purchase.  Fans of the show have long complained that, unlike many of CBS’ shows, Criminal Minds episodes could not be viewed on CBS.com or sites like Hulu (and thus earning advertising revenue).  Nor were  episodes available for purchase.  They have only recently become available for iTunes and are still not available on Amazon’s Video On Demand service.  (Amazon is my preferred provider because I can purchase and watch on my large screen HD TV via my Roku Player.  Much better than the iPod screen, LOL!)

Just like the reaction when CBS cancelled the sci-fi drama Jericho, the fans have quickly gathered together to try to save these two beloved characters. 

  • There is now a Save the CM Ladies blog at Tumblr.  There is also a petition on the site that fans can sign.  The site also has contact info for CBS so you can join the protest.
  • The fans’ reactions are making the news at sites like TV Guide.  Check out the number of comments on some of these stories.  Simply amazing!
  • Fans of the show who are on Twitter can follow @SavetheCMLadies and participate in “Tweetflashes,” where everyone tweets at the same time with the same hashtag (a keyword or phrase preceded by a # sign). The goal is to get #SavetheCMLadies hashtag to “trend” and become one of the top topics on Twitter.
  • There is even a plan to mimic the Save Jericho campaign of sending peanuts to CBS, this time by sending lipstick to CBS’ Nina Tassler.
  • There is a group page for the effort called Save the Girls, Save the Team, Save the Show – Criminal Minds Campaign  at Facebook which plans to send decorated manila folders.

And if there seems to be an impassioned rush to the Save the CM Ladies Campaign, it is with good reason.  Filming on the show is scheduled to begin within the next two weeks.  Fans are afraid that if the show resumes production without A.J. Cook and Paget Brewster, there will be no chance of saving the characters.

Any and all support is appreciated, but it needs to be done quickly.  You can find more info at any of the sites listed above.

Police shot and killed another dog…

There’s a really good reason I don’t watch the local news. Tonight, one of the Chicago TV news stations led off with a story  about an off-duty police officer shooting some one’s dog.   As a animal lover and pet owner, I find these stories absolutely terrifying.  As someone who lost a beloved dog over this last year to cancer, I find a story like this especially heartbreaking. It is hard enough to lose a pet, let alone lose one to this kind of  sudden violence.

Unfortunately, this is a story that I am hearing all too frequently.  To see  just how prevalent this, try looking on the Internet.  A search on Google for “police shooting dogs” yields approximately 517,000 results.   Many of these dogs are shot and killed right in front of their owners.  In fact, not too long ago, police officers shot an owners’ dog right in front of them  in the city where I live.  The police officer in that case was cleared, as is usually the case  in most of these dog shootings.   It seems that “preventing injury” and an officer feeling  “in danger” are the excuses for both killing the animals and ruling the shootings  “justifiable.” 

In tonight’s incident, the officer evidently claims that she had no choice as the dog attacked while she was walking her dog and she felt “in danger.”  Unbelievably, after killing the dog, the officer then ticketed the owner for not having a dog license! The Chicago Police are supposedly investigating, so it will be interesting to see the outcome.  Unfortunately, I can already guess what that outcome will be.

If this happened to your dog, how would you feel?

Help Feed the Hungry: Hunger Action Challenge

Okay, I know I tweeted about this already today, but I think that this is such an important issue that I am doing a blog entry as well.  For Hunger Action month, Tyson Foods is asking for help to raise awareness for its Hunger Challenge to benefit the San Francisco Food Bank. The company will donate 100 pounds of food (up to a total of 100,000 pounds) for each tweet and 500 pounds per blog post on the subject.   The Hunger Challenge page has a list of hunger facts and suggested tweets.

While many of the facts listed on the page are specifically about San Francisco and California, unfortunately, the circumstances they describe are by no means unique.  Frighteningly, other states actually rank higher.    The truth is, that while we may be considered one of the richest nations on the earth, people in this country are dealing with hunger everyday.

There are so many other issues that make this situation worse: inflation, joblessness, under employment and homelessness.   Local food banks are seeing a huge increase in people coming to them for help because of the economy.  Many of the new people seeking services are middle class Americans.

If these statistics scare you like they do me, please do something.   Find a way to participate.  There are endless opportunities: I have seen local libraries hold food drives near the holidays where canned goods are accepted in leiu of fines for overdue books.  The United Sates Post Office has two food drives a year and the mail carriers will pick up your donation at your door. Find out who funds the food pantries: many are funded at least in part by local United Way charities which you may already be contributing to.  If your church or community group participates in a program, please get involved.

Look up the statistics on hunger in your community and find out where your local food pantries are.   If you can afford it, donate cash or food. Take the time to give the gift of yourself and volunteer at the food pantry-volunteers are desperately needed.

This is an important issue.  If my tweeting or blogging about this will help feed some hungry people in San Francisco, there is no way that I can let that opportunity pass by.  And truthfully, neither should you.  Tweet or blog, it is an easy, simple thing to do.   And if you can do something else to help please do, because every bit makes a difference. 

Hunger and homelessness are two of the greatest problems our society faces today.  Both of them are solvable if we are all part of the solution.

Just a few of the many links for even more information:

http://www.secondharvest.org/

http://foodpantries.org/

http://feedingamerica.org/foodbank-results.aspx

http://thefoodpantry.org/