Is there anyone you would permanently erase from your life and memory? If so, who and why?
If I say Nina Tassler, do I really need to say why? Here's my open letter to CBS:
I would like to voice my anger and disappointment at the news that AJ Cook has been dropped from Criminal Minds. I have been a fan of the show from it's first season and have loyally tuned in each week. I have no favourites on the show as all the characters are well-written and equally important to the show's dynamic.
I watched 'Law & Order' for many years, through various incarnations, because the writing was sharp and the characters were nuanced. The revolving door of cast members was no problem because we were invested in the stories. With Criminal Minds, the viewers become invested in the characters. We see their strengths and weaknesses, their hopes and their fears, every week. To upset the balance by changing the cast is to fundamentally change the way the show works.
I am not sure I believe that the reasons for AJ's departure are purely financial - you seem to have found money for the CM spinoff that the fans and critics did not warm to. I doubt you are naive enough to not monitor internet chatter, but you may have underestimated how many of the CM fans were only intending to watch the spinoff because of loyalty to the original. I fear that most of those who were willing to give it a chance have changed their minds because of your actions. I certainly have.
The show works because of the differing roles the writers have mapped out for the characters. Emily Prentiss is the perfect foil for Derek Morgan and has a wonderful relationship with David Rossi. Jennifer Jareau is the nurturing presence that calms and provides a solid foundation the others are anchored to. JJ shows that a woman can have a family and a career in law enforcement; both women provide strong, capable, fearless role models.
Paget Brewster and AJ Cook play their characters with a depth and humility that is rare in television today. Neither woman portrays a caricature but shows the vulnerability and the determination of their characters. They are not female FBI agents, they are just FBI agents.
Finally, the fan response you are getting is largely because of the open and mutual respect of the cast - for each other, for the fans - and it is reciprocated. The loyalty of the fans is not just to the show - we can adjust to cast changes - it is to the actors. Even the cast has voiced their shock and disappointment, going so far as to encourage people to sign the petitions. These actresses are not divas; they are not demanding; they go to work, do a job, and always have time for the fans. Reports say that Kirsten Vangsness kept her job because she has a large fanbase - these are probably the same fans you have alienated with your decisions.
It appears that you are operating under the misguided belief that jettisoning two thirds of the cast and replacing them with - what will no doubt be - a younger, sexier, cheaper model to boost your young male demographic will give you a greater return...I am a 23 yr old male who will not watch, or buy the DVDs, of any future seasons of Criminal Minds.
I sincerely hope that you take the protests seriously. I have watched CM out of loyalty for 'my' show and because I follow Paget Brewster's work. I will not bother to support a show that cannot support its cast. I think this is something you fail to grasp as a network: people love their shows, but they love their actors too. I watched 'Andy Richter Controls the Universe' and thought Paget Brewster was fantastic. I then watched 'Huff' because Brewster was cast (it was not a show I would have ordinarily watched). I came to Criminal Minds because of Brewster. I will now go with AJ Cook, to the point of hunting for a copy of her film 'Misconceptions' which I had not planned to watch.
This is the intangible. This is the 'brand loyalty'. Not to a network, or a show, but to the actors we find entertaining.
For your information, I will be watching 'In Plain Sight' because Mary McCormack impressed me in 'The West Wing', 'Leverage' because I like Christian Kane's music and gave the show a try, and 'Rizzoli & Isles' because I think Angie Harmon is worth watching. Nothing else is worth investing my time in without the pull of a favourite actor now that 'Law & Order' is over. I don't have the free time to watch a lot of TV, so when I do it is because I will enjoy it.
You might want to note that the shows I will be following are all on cable television.