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JMS POSTS:
Maintained by David Boyd
Last Update on Feb 28 '99
 
22/02/99 - 28/02/99

Q: As much as I love B5, it would be very cool to see you start a new Television project. So what sort of offers have you recieved? I'm just curious...anything sci-fi-ish, or a drama?

JMS: It's a number of things; to run some network shows, to create others (blind pilot deals, meaning I write it, they buy it)...one network called late Friday as word got out and asked if I'd do a non-SF TV movie for them while the rest is in discussion (I said sure)...I can't talk about it much until the dust settles and I decide where to land.

 

Q: As much as I love B5, it would be very cool to see you start a new Television project. So what sort of offers have you recieved? I'm just curious...anything sci-fi-ish, or a drama?

JMS: It's a number of things; to run some network shows, to create others (blind pilot deals, meaning I write it, they buy it)...one network called late Friday as word got out and asked if I'd do a non-SF TV movie for them while the rest is in discussion (I said sure)...I can't talk about it much until the dust settles and I decide where to land.

 

Q: I know it will be EXTREMELY difficult for Crusade to live any further than it has. But it is possible.

JMS: What you have to understand at this point is that there's really no time left. It takes a large amount of money to hold a cast and crew together while other options are being sought, and even then options on varoius cast members and others begin to expire fast.

WB can't keep spending holding money while they're seeking another prospect. It's a business decision, but a sensible one, given the large amounts of money involved. Their approach now is to believe in the show enough to get it on the air, let the ratings speak for themselves, and see what happens.

My only regret is for the cast, who are all uniformly terrific, and who are caught out in all this.

 

JMS: Bottom line:

The reason we've been waiting so long for news is that the SciFi Channel has been crunching numbers for weeks, trying to make the deal work with WB, and doing their level best. The programming folks there loved the show (and special thanks has to go to Programming Head Tom Vitale at SFC who worked hardest to make this work).

The problem is simply this: the money to fund a series is a BIG chunk of change. SFC had already allocated its budget for the year as of January 1st, and there simply wasn't enough left in this year's budget to pull it off. Also, the emphasis now is on spending money on shows where one owns a piece of it, and Crusade is owned entirely by WB.

At the end of they day, they just couldn't make the dollars work, though they tried their damndest, and are only to be thanked.

I'm told that if the ratings are good on the 13 which TNT will still air, all the eps made so far will be shown, there may be a second season, but we'll see.

Meanwhile, I'm taking the day off. There have been seven offers for overall deals and multiple network pilot deals with both networks per se and studios on my desk for about a year now, ever since B5 ended, which I've been putting off to do Crusade. Now I'll pick one of those deals and make it. So the next thing from me you see will almost certainly be on one of the major networks. I'm going back into the deep water again....

Meanwhile, my thanks to all those who emailed and wrote and called and supported. It's a good show, as will be seen when the shows are aired, and I'd rather lose a show I believed in than keep one I didn't believe in.

 

Q: Through all of the TNT mess one question has continued to plague me. TNT was ecstatic to get B5. They "danced in the aisles" as you said, after the first ratings came in. Many of the TNT folks were rabid fans. Now they have a chance to get their very own, brand new show, that follows the same universe and is written by the same guy (with a little help here and there) but they don't want it anymore.

What happened? Why the sudden change of heart? You said in a previous post that they decided that science fiction didn't fit in with their overall "theme". What made them change their mind. It just doesn't seem to make any sense to me.

JMS: One element to the whole discussion is that B5 was already an entity in its own right, and taking on the fifth year entailed basically buying what was already there, as opposed to becoming involved with the creative process of influencing a new series.

 

Q: When will the next book be released?

JMS: It depends on the department and the position within that department. Some folks can get holding money, some go on the union roster for day-work elsewhere until the dust settles.

 

Crusade Gone For Now

JMS: Well, we took our best shot. Sometimes it works, sometimes it don't.

The SciFi Channel programming guys wanted the show; they wanted it a lot. They crunched numbers for almost two weeks trying to make it work. But at the end of the day, the problem was that they had already allocated or spent their budget for the year, and couldn't come up with the huge chunk of change necessary to get an entire season. Had this come up prior to January 1st, things would almost certainly have gone differently. But they have their budget, as we have ours, and it was already allocated.

So TNT will now air the full 13 produced, and that's the end of it for now. I say for now because WB has told us to fold and hold all the sets, rather than scrap them, because they believe strongly in the show, and feel that when the ratings come in we may well be able to pick up a second season. We'll see.

Meanwhile, I'm taking the day off, and deciding which of a number of offers from networks and studios, sitting on my desk since B5 finished, to pick up. I had declined to go that route so I could do Crusade and keep playing in this universe, but absent that, there's no reason not to go back to the networks and apply there some of what we've been able to do in B5 and Crusade.

My thanks to all those who wrote, and called, and emailed, and lent their support to the process. And I think that when you see the show, you'll be quite pleased by what we did. We're all very proud of it.

 

Q: As the hiatus in shooting goes on three weeks now, the question comes to mind - do the cast and crew get *paid* to sit out the decision-making process, or are they left "high and dry" until shooting starts up again? I can't imagine what it must be like, sitting around and waiting to know if you're going to have a job to go to or not!

JMS: It depends on the department and the position within that department. Some folks can get holding money, some go on the union roster for day-work elsewhere until the dust settles.

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