ER's Noah Wyle shaved and Buffy the Vampire Slayer's season of darkness lightened up for the same reason: a TV fansite called televisionwithoutpity.
The site is devoted to schlock (as its webmasters define it), and intentionally institutionalizes catty couch-potato reaction. But this British account reports that its lurkers include a number of the writers and producers of the shows that the site is devoted to criticizing, and that producers are making script adjustments, big and small, based on what they read there.
Fan intervention like this is another nail in the coffin of the Frankfurt School's still-influential "cultural industry" argument. That posits that cultural consumers are powerless, and eat whatever crap is shoveled at them by cynical cultural marketers. That was never true. Now, thanks to the technological tools in the hands of the audience, fans are only getting more powerful.