The second season of "Jericho" will be released on DVD Tuesday with an alternate ending, giving fans a glimpse of what a third season might have looked like.

If there were going to be a third season.

Which there's not.

I'm tempted to write, "So just get over it," but I won't. Because I know that wouldn't go over well with the fans.

So let's go with something a little less harsh. It's time to move on. Yes, "Jericho" had many fine qualities. And, yes, it was better than a lot of shows that are still on the air.

But ratings went from bad to worse. It's not coming back. Ever.

Pining over the show will only make your life more difficult. And we want you to be happy.

We could sit here and argue all day about the merits of "Jericho" — and, personally, I greatly enjoyed Season 2 and would have liked to see it return — but here are the cold, hard facts:

• CBS canceled "Jericho" in May 2007.

• After an outpouring of support from fans, CBS brought the show back for a seven-episode second season — and warned that, if ratings didn't improve, it would not return for a third.

• Not only did ratings not improve, they declined. The highest-rated episode of Season 2 was seen by fewer viewers than the lowest-rated episode of Season 1.

• CBS canceled "Jericho" again. Permanently.

Now to the "I told you so" part. A year ago, I wrote that future efforts to revive other series will be made more difficult if "Jericho" doesn't succeed. Execs at all the networks will point to this show and say, "Look, it doesn't work."

It's a really, really iffy proposition with a downside that goes far beyond just "Jericho."

That's exactly what has already happened. When CBS Entertainment president Nina Tassler announced the cancellation of "Moonlight" — a show with very iffy ratings and a vociferous fan base — she said what happened with "Jericho" "did play into our decision making."

Her counterparts at NBC didn't make it quite so clear, but when "Las Vegas" fans sent them thousands of pairs of baby booties (imitating the save-"Jericho" effort that sent thousands of pounds of peanuts to CBS), NBC programmers just shrugged.

For the umpteenth time, it seems necessary to point out that TV is a business. Lots of viewers means lots of advertisers and vice versa.

And network executives learned that, while seemingly every show has a rabid fan base that bands together on the Internet, that may mean absolutely nothing.

IF YOU DON'T want to wait until Tuesday for that alternate "Jericho" ending, you can see the 7 1/2-minute segment on YouTube — youtube.com/watch?v=QJYatBiDYLI.)

BY THE WAY, if plans for some sort of wrap-up for the series "Las Vegas" aren't dead, they're very, very sick.

It won't be moving to another network. And hopes for some kind of TV movie have dimmed — the cast, writers and producers have moved on to other projects and the chances of getting them all back together again are extremely slim.


E-mail: pierce@desnews.com