from jms re: claudia quitting B5

B5JMS Poster b5jms-owner at
Mon Jul 21 06:10:13 EDT 1997

From: jmsatb5 at (Jms at B5)
Date: 19 Jul 1997 15:07:27 -0400
Lines: 72

There have been some questions raised as to what has happened regarding
Claudia Christian and Season 4.  In simplest possible terms, which can be
verified through every cast member, and in the press, what happened was

In early June, WB asked for, and received, one-month exensions on their
contract options from all cast members except Claudia, for the purposes of
allowing WB time to work out the co-financing deal with TNT for year 5 of
B5.  There was a great deal of red tape left over from the PTEN deal to
finish unraveling, and other business aspects, to work out in going from
syndication to cable, and it was taking longer than expected.

Claudia said, repeatedly, that she was on board for the fifth season, but
that she didn't want to give the extension for business reasons of her
own.  We took her at her word and allowed her to not give the extension. 
Assurances were made to us, and to her fellow cast members.

While we were all together (cast, some crew, and I) in Blackpool for Wolf
359, word reached us of the articles in Variety and Reuters reporting that
Claudia would not be returning to B5, and was looking for other work. 
This was the very first indication we had that she would not be in season
5.  TNT was upset by this, WB was upset by this, and we were called on the
carpet asking why we had trusted her about the fifth year.  When spoken to
in Blackpool, she was still, at that point, saying that she was going to
be in season 5...but did nothing to address the situation with WB.  She
was told that WB had to know, for sure, if she was in or out by last
Friday.  All she had to do to be in season 5 was to pick up the phone, or
have her agent do so, and call WB and say, "I'm in."

This did not happen.  Friday came, and went.  It was clear that she had no
intention of being in season 5, and wanted instead to pursue movies.  She
is more well known now after B5, after all.

Cast members prevailed upon her to change her mind over the weekend. 
Bruce, Jeff Conaway, others took it upon themselves to try and talk her
back onto the show, tried to get her to call on Monday in case she might
be able to repair the bridges burned the prior week.  On Monday, she left
the convention early, and never called WB, never called Doug, never called

Bottom line is...she passed on season 5.  She chose not to be there.  I
know that she has now told some people that WB doesn't want her...but if
that is the case, why the articles planted in Variety and Reuters saying
that the B5 producers were "bummed" that she wasn't available, that she
had chosen not to return to the show?  (Again, at the time the articles
appeared, this intent had not even been conveyed to us or to WB; we had to
learn about it by reading it in the trades, in articles no one had even
discussed with us.)  Why did she not give the extension, as was also
reported?  Why was it announced in the press (in articles reprinted right
here on the nets) that she wasn't coming back and was looking for other
work long before we even knew anything about it?

The offer was on the table.  We extended it to the very limit.  All the
other actors signed on, and urged her to do the same.  She chose not to. 
It was never a matter of anyone not wanting her.  I personally urged her
Thursday night to call her agent and talk this out and make her intentions
clear if she wanted to come back to the show.  She declined.  Every cast
member who was there in Blackpool saw what went down, and can verify this.

And that, as they say, is the long and the short of it.  While I will not
recast the role, on the theory that she may come around someday and decide
she wants to be in one of the TNT features or one of the movies, we will
be bringing in a new character to fill that position in the B5 command
structure.  Fortunately, 421, already filmed, is structured to allow us to
adjust for this without missing a beat, and the story will continue as
planned with only a minor variation in the first two episodes to introduce
the new character.


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