Maintained by David
Last Update on Feb 28 '99
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
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?
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.
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.
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?
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.
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.
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.