Saturday, December 30, 2000
The WB TV series "Roswell" was on the verge of extinction, but thanks to the Internet and a few thousand bottles of Tabasco sauce, the show and its fans are enjoying another television season.
The science-fiction drama, centered on teens descended from aliens who landed near the New Mexico town in 1947, premiered in 1999. When it came up for renewal, the show was "on the proverbial fence," according to Brad Turell, executive vice-president of network communications. "It was in question whether it would come back or not."
For fans of the show, leaving that question up to network executives was not an option.
"Over 3,000 bottles of Tabasco sauce were sent from all over the country," said WB publicist Suzanne Gomez. "The fans wanted to make sure the show was picked up for the next season."
Viewers who tracked the show via the Internet spread the word and organized a mass mailing of Tabasco, the aliens' sauce of choice, to WB co-presidents Jordan Levin and Susanne Daniels and to CEO Jamie Kellner.
"I still have some (Tabasco sauce); I have tons," said Turell. Much of the sauce, however, was sent to the media.
The condiment apparently spiced things up for Warner Bros. executives.
"I would say it definitely contributed" to saving the show, said Turell. He added: "If the show wasn't a good show ï¿½ no matter how much Tabasco we received ï¿½ we wouldn't have picked it up. All those things were in place. Then add to that a passionate fan base."
Gomez considers the fans and their dedication "an asset." According to Gomez, the Tabasco campaign was launched from the Crashdown site (www.crashdown.com) dedicated to "Roswell" and named after a cafe the characters frequent on the show.
There are approximately 16,000 registered viewers of the Crashdown fan site, according to one of its co-founders, Kenn Gold.
"We've been aware of the Crashdown site. It's a very popular site," Gomez said. "Web sites are very important. It's the age of the Internet."
"I think people wanting to create their own fan sites is a very encouraging sign for any show," said Turell.