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May 26, 2000

Interviews can be arranged by e-mailing michaelwiseman@icqmail.com

E-MAIL LIST FIGHTS TO SAVE CANCELED SHOW STARTS LETTER-WRITING AND AD CAMPAIGN

Fans of the critically acclaimed television show "Now and Again" have raised money to buy an advertisement in the Tuesday, May 30, issue of The Hollywood Reporter. The ad urges network executives to bring back the show, which was canceled on May 17 by CBS.

The advertisement is the latest in a campaign to save the show. Ever since CBS announced its fall schedule, leaving the freshman show conspicuously absent, the 365 members of the "Now and Again" e-mail list have written letters to CBS and contacted media outlets to voice their outrage. Members have handed out hundreds of handbills urging people to protest the cancellation and two Web sites have been established for the renewal efforts.

A second "Now and Again" e-mail list with 120 members joined the cause and is assisting in the letter-writing campaign.

"We have people who are enlisting the aid of friends and family because they believe in this show," said Amanda Ohlin, spokeswoman of the largest "Now and Again" list on the Web. "One woman wrote us to say that 48 members of her youth group wrote letters because they couldn't believe CBS did not renew the show."

List members from across the country started pledging money Friday to buy a quarter-page ad in The Hollywood Reporter. The group raised more than $1,200 in just over 48 hours.

The notice emulates contemporary MasterCard ads, calling the return of a quality television show "priceless." It also quotes an online Entertainment Weekly article by television critic Bruce Fretts, who wrote, "When 'Now & Again' is at its best ... it's as good as anything on TV, including 'The Sopranos.' "

Fretts is just the latest in a line of critics who have praised the show, which combines drama, comedy and science fiction. Critics from TV Guide, People and US magazine, among others, agreed that the show was innovative and one of the best new programs of the season.

"This cancellation truly came out of nowhere," Ohlin said. " If the fans knew it was coming, the campaign would have started much earlier. Even two respected Web sites listed that the show was going to be renewed up until the day the final schedule was announced. The show had been 'on the bubble,' but had fairly good ratings, considering the poor timeslot it was in, and a solid following."

Even CBS had declared the show an early success. During the first months of the season, the network announced that "Now and Again" was its first drama to thrive on a Friday night since the late 1980s when "Beauty and the Beast" was on. After November sweeps, the network proclaimed the show a hit among 18- to 49-year-old males, considered a key demographic group by network executives and advertisers.

"Many people loved this show," Ohlin said. "A list member reported that she was discussing the cancellation with a coworker. When she looked up, she realized she was surrounded by 10 people, all of who were appalled that CBS would take this action."

"Now and Again" is produced by Glenn Gordon Caron, who is best known for creating "Moonlighting." It stars Eric Close as Michael Wiseman, a $3 billion, genetically engineered man with the transplanted brain of a middle-aged insurance salesman, and Dennis Haysbert as Dr. Theo Morris, the scientist who created him. It also stars Margaret Colin, Heather Matarazzo and Gerrit Graham.
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