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Can Plastic Dinosaurs Save ‘Terra Nova’?

Jason O’Mara wants fans to send them to Fox

If fans needed any more indication (than the tons of coverage here telling them so) that “Terra Nova” is in trouble, then hear it right from the dinosaur’s mouth.

And since we don’t understand how dinosaurs communicate, we have to listen to “Terra Nova” star Jason O’Mara instead.

O’Mara, who plays sheriff Jim Shannon, is encouraging fans of the show to demonstrate their support for “Terra Nova” by sending in plastic toy dinosaurs to the people at Fox.

“If you want to address your package of little plastic dinosaurs to somebody at Fox, send them to the president of the network,” O’Mara said, according to SciFi Now. “He’s a good guy, so keep it friendly please.”

Kevin Reilly, that very president O’Mara wants to flood the office of, has said that the fate of “Terra Nova” hung in the balance, and how well new mid-season shows like “Touch” and “Alcatraz” did would say a lot about what happens to the very expensive “Terra Nova.”

Early numbers are in for both, and not just one of them is a hit, it appears both could be. That means the writing is on the cave for “Terra Nova,” and Fox is very close to pulling the plug.

How much would a campaign like this work? Fan campaigns to save shows, even when they are star-initiated like this one from “Terra Nova” or even part of a network publicity stunt as the Subway campaign with “Chuck,” are not very successful. In fact, only a handful of actual campaigns have ever really worked: The original “Star Trek” campaign in the 1960s, the “Farscape” campaign, and more recently, the “Jericho” campaign, where fans sent peanuts to the offices of CBS.

For each of them, however, there were no real returns for the networks. NBC ordered just one more season of “Star Trek,” but it didn’t become popular until it hit syndications, when NBC was totally cut out of the profit picture. “Farscape” got a television movie, but that was just to tie things up from an abrupt end to its run. “Jericho” earned seven episodes, partly because of the impending writers strike. It came back to minimal ratings, and was not renewed after that.

“Terra Nova,” through the end of January, was Fox’s sixth highest-rated show with an overnight average of 4.7 rating/7 share, according to Fast National ratings from The Nielsen Co. “Touch,” with Kiefer Sutherland, premiered with a 7.0/11 last week in a sneak preview, while “Alcatraz” has averaged a 5.7/8 in January.

“Alcatraz,” however, has slipped a little since then. Monday’s episode clocked in at a 4.1/6, down 16 percent from the previous week, and off 31 percent from its premiere.

But then again, “Alcatraz” was up against a Super Bowl-enhanced “The Voice” on NBC, which garnered some of the best regular-schedule ratings for NBC in more than a decade. And even then, it’s still cheaper to produce than “Alcatraz,” which requires location shooting and heavy special effects.

Of course, a toy dinosaur and mailing it only costs a few bucks. Be sure to leave a nice, friendly hand-written note on how much you like “Terra Nova,” and send it to Kevin Reilly, Fox Broadcasting Co., P.O. Box. 900, Beverly Hills, CA, 90213.

Fox is expected to make a decision on “Terra Nova” any day now. However, even the hint of a campaign like this getting any legs could move that decision up even sooner.

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Could they be a Rut-ro! Shaggy
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