With few exceptions, most campaigns to save a TV show fail. Rightly so. Viewing figures just don't lie, if a show isn't making a network enough money, it's gone. My favourite, Angel, had 4 million viewers in the USA alone when it was cancelled.
Many of these 4 million fans were furious. They mobilized themselves. They launched letter-writing campaigns, online petitions, blood and food drives, advertised in trade magazines and attempted to convince other networks to buy the show.
What a waste of time.
Today fans of cult shows can save their shows. The key is to stop trying to convince television executives, and start trying to convince the producers of show.
Negotiate a rate with the producers say $70m for a series or $10m for a 2 hour special. Now you just needs a means of collecting the money. If you don't reach the limit by a set date, everyone gets a refund.
How about £20 to watch the series as it's released (this gets you the DVD of course)? For £40 you also get a big dollop of merchandise? £400 gets you a spot as an extra on the show (yes, you get to meet the cast). £2000 gets you a speaking role. That's a quirky birthday present. If just 1 in 4 fans of this show's worldwide audience are happy to chip in, you should more than have enough to keep the show going.
Sprinkle in a little advertising revenue, and anything else you can make from merchandise, live events, behind the scenes etc and we're starting to make some headway. Don't convince the television execs, become them. Imagine how much the producers might enjoy making a show free from the mainstream pressures of television? It's exciting stuff.
Now, here's my favourite twist; imagine the power the fans suddenly have on the show. Jar-Jar Bink-like characters can be nixed in the bud before even reaching the screen. You can take this concept much, much, deeper. Fans can decide upon plot lines or opportunities, maybe even decide how much the stars should get paid?
These cult shows are the ones that can make the real money. Cult shows are the ones that fans will determinably watch, no matter what hoops they must jump through to do it.
If you want to learn how to build online communities. I can't think of a better place to start. Pick your favourite TV show and try to bring it back. Perhaps just a Christmas special. It's a cause, with an established audience and a measurable goal. You probably wont succeed, but what a way to learn.