JMS on CompuServe (Jul 21, 1997) *POSSIBLE SPOILERS*

bbarrett at bbarrett at
Mon Jul 21 22:26:03 EDT 1997

 !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! WARNING !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
 The following posts may contain SPOILERS for
 upcoming Babylon 5 episodes.

 Continue at your own risk.

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 [ Summary of subjects in this section: ]
    Sb: #685130-jms in san diego
    Sb: #685152-jms in san diego
    Sb: #685146-Babylon 5 Credit Card
    Sb: #685816-Babylon 5 - The Cult
    Sb: #685937-#Claudia C fired!
    Sb: #685947-#Claudia C fired!
    Sb: #685890-#C Christian in Season 5?
    Sb: #685938-#Claudia sez this..

 #: 685130 S5/Babylon 5: General
    17-Jul-97  07:16:49
Sb: #685074-#jms in san diego

I'm surprised you'd go to San Diego, you never know when those terrorists are
going to strike...


 #: 685974 S5/Babylon 5: General
    20-Jul-97  21:10:50
Sb: #685130-jms in san diego

      It's okay, I know what date they hit the place, so I can be out of town
when it happens.


 [ Summary: "Is there a future chance of you coming to a convention in 
   Toronto?  I'll be attending TorontoTrek this weekend (18th, 19th, 20th).
   This is the third one a cast member from B5 is attending." ]

 #: 685975 S5/Babylon 5: General
    20-Jul-97  21:10:53
Sb: #685152-jms in san diego

      Thanks.  I don't do any convention with a direct link to Trek in its
name, so that would leave Toronto Trek out, despite many friendly talks with
the con organizers.  Bottom line, I get gigged by ST fans for "poaching," and
it just ain't worth the grief I get.


 #: 685146 S5/Babylon 5: General
    17-Jul-97  10:08:06
Sb: #Babylon 5 Credit Card

Dear Mr. Straczynski,

I called the Babylon 5 Fan Club a few weeks ago concerning new Babylon 5
merchandise.  I mentioned that I thought a Babylon 5 credit card would be a
great idea. They said that they were actually thinking of doing a Babylon 5
credit card. Is that true? I think it would be great to have a Babylon 5 credit

Thank you,
Shawn Ratner

 #: 685976 S5/Babylon 5: General
    20-Jul-97  21:10:56
Sb: #685146-Babylon 5 Credit Card

      It's been discussed with other ideas, but nothing more.

      The Agamemnon caps made their debut at San Diego Comic Con, and were a
huge hit.


 #: 685816 S5/Babylon 5: General
    20-Jul-97  13:41:56
Sb: #Babylon 5 - The Cult

Hello Joe,

I see on the Sonic Images web site that a 5 volume CD set called Babylon 5 -
The Cult is being produced. I noticed one of the soundtracks is for Walkabout.
Does this mean the two songs you wrote will appear on this CD.


 #: 685978 S5/Babylon 5: General
    20-Jul-97  21:11:00
Sb: #685816-Babylon 5 - The Cult

      Hmmm...I don't know.  I'll have to check.


 [ Summary: A fan who listened to Claudia Christian at TorontoTrek
   explains her side of the story and asks fans to act. ]

 #: 685980 S5/Babylon 5: General
    20-Jul-97  21:11:04
Sb: #685937-#Claudia C fired!

      You must understand that Claudia is one of 10 or so actors on the show.
The other actors understood and understand that we cannot renegotiate contracts
in mid-stream, and they are *supportive of the show*, and gave us extensions on
their contracts so that WB could have time to make the TNT deal work.  They are
all, to a man and woman, on board otherwise.

      Claudia opted to not give the extension, where the other cast did, and
now wants (or says she wants to) renegotiate, now that all the other cast
members are locked down.  To do so in her case, when she did not give us the
extension, and deliberately embarrassed WB by having an article appear in the
trades saying she was out and looking for other work, would be an insult to all
the other cast members who have worked with us to date.

      Further, yes, she's right, in that the contract could not be changed so
that she could go out and do movies at a moment's notice.  By contract, we must
have first call on an actor's services.  That is a requirement of ANY TV
contract with an actor who is a series regular.  That cannot be changed for ANY
actor, ANYwhere.

      That said...I already *told* Claudia that, even though we couldn't put it
in the contract, I would be happy to work with her *informally* on this, and
that if she said she needed to be gone from X-date to Y-date, I would write her
out of those episodes so that she could do the movies.  SHE ALREADY GOT FROM ME
THAT PROMISE.  I've already done similar things for her and other cast members
on the show, which is how many of them have appeared in other projects.  So
this is, for me, a non-issue.

      No, from my standpoint, she wanted off the show, and I have no idea why
she is running up the fans like this unless she wants to avoid responsibility
for this.

      Again, this isn't a case of my word against hers.  EVERY SINGLE CAST
MEMBER was there when this went down, and MANY of them tried to talk her out of
walking off the show.  If you don't want to take my word for it, ask any one of
them who was there, especially Bruce or Jeff.

      I would suggest the fans *not* get into this, because a) you're not
getting solid or reliable information from Claudia, and b) it is simply too
late.  She opted to pass on season 5, whether she wants to admit this or not,
whether she's running from responsibility from that, I don't know...but it was
her choice.  I sat with her on Thursday night at Midnight and told her, flat
out, that I would accommodate her request on a personal basis, and that she
*had* to either contact WB herself or have her agent do so the next day, or she
was off the show, because we HAD to get the show going.  The train was leaving,
and she could be on it or not as she chose.  She chose not to get on board.

      What you also don't understand is that we start shooting season 5 in less
than one month.  We're in the process of writing scripts *right now*, and have
been since we got the production order right about the time we went to
Blackpool.  You can't whipsaw the writing back and forth -- is she in, isn't
she in, maybe she is, maybe she isn't -- and hope to have anything in shape to
shoot.  That was why we had to know at that date.  Normally we have a longer
lead time; this time we didn't, and this has already put the scripts back a
bit.  The script with the new character is written and in; if I take it out now
I have to replace it, and there isn't *time*.

      Claudia knew this.  WB knew this.  We were up against it.  She had to
choose to be in, or out.  She chose out.  It's no longer our responsibility,
and it's flatly too late to bring her back.  The door is closed on season 5.


 #: 685947 S5/Babylon 5: General
    20-Jul-97  20:17:58
Sb: #Claudia C fired!

C'mon Joe, tell us the real story: the rest of the story...
As with O'Hare and Thompson, you do a very complete job of telling one-half of
the story, in order to preserve the mythos of "everything is always beautiful
on the B-5 set".  I consider these continuous half-truths of yours (the other
half being missing instead of being a lie) a form of Roddenberry's disease.  It
may be needed to survive in Hollywood, but some of us don't buy it.

The other 'fired' thread has Claudia's take on the situation.  I believe it.
And I don't like the fact that you didn't mention the contract negotiaions in
your post.  Maybe, somehow, you didn't know about them.  Perhaps you should
look up from your typewriter occasionally, to see how Claudia has been
(laughingly) complaining about her character at conventions for years, and even
in the interviews at the WB website.

For now, I'm on her side, which I wasn't when I read your post.  You say your
postings here are a historical document:  that document is turning out to be a
highly spun variant of history, indeed.

When the pit bull in you attacks back at this post(er), try including a few
facts.  Your propaganda is showing...


 #: 685981 S5/Babylon 5: General
    20-Jul-97  21:11:09
Sb: #685947-#Claudia C fired!

      I answered this in the other thread.  Once you read it, you may think

      As for your tone, please take it elsewhere.  I have no interest in
hearing it.


 [ Summary: Another TorontoTrek attendee mentions that all Claudia
   wanted was to have some time to do a movie. ]

 #: 685988 S5/Babylon 5: General
    20-Jul-97  21:35:00
Sb: #685890-#C Christian in Season 5?

      I personally told Claudia that we would work out the time for her to do a
film project prior to the deadline coming for her decision.  Other cast members
knew this, and confirmed it to her.


 #: 685938 S6/Babylon 5: Spoilers
    20-Jul-97  19:11:40
Sb: #Claudia sez this..

I happened to check Claudia Christian's official web site tonight and I found
the statement below which I am reproducing here uneditied, typos and all.

I post this not to make anyone look or feel bad, but only in the hopes of
having all sides presented, and perhaps, now that all have vented their
spleens, maybe there is a chance of getting Claudia back.

I make no further editorial comments, other than to say I support B5 as I
have from way back, and I hope everything works out for all parties for the
maximum possible happiness and the minimum possible aggravation.

:-) Alan

Claudia Christian, has requested that the following
be posted on her behalf.

Dear Folks,
        Here's my side of the story and I should know because I was there.

        On June 20th, I was called into the B-5 office to find out the fate
of the 5th season.  With three other cast members present we were told that
we could make the fifth season (yeah!).  We were then asked to give up the
residuals for that season (those are the things that pay the rent since
syndication isn't exactly lucrative).  Well, nonetheless I said okay-I even
volunteered to talk the rest of the cast into it.  I had expressed my
hesitation in extending my contract renewal because I wanted to get their
assurance that in the 5th season I could get at least 4 episodes off to do a
film.  That was the only thing I was asking for.  No raise--accepting a
paycut--simply less episodes, period.  Ask yourself this: why would I have
done the TNT promos for the 5th season if I did not want to be involved?

        While I was in Europe (I was there for almost a month), I heard about
the gossip column in Variety.  It is a gossip column, nothing more.  I have
no idea who planted the gossip and frankly, I didn't think much of it since
Hollywood is based on gossip.  Because the producers and Joe were in Europe,
I assumed negotiations for the 5th season would continue when we all
returned.  I was told quite curtly that my request for time off had been
denied and that Ken Parks from Warner Bros.  had told my agent to tell me to
"Find another job, we'll replace her."  After four years of working for a
substantial paycut because I loved the show and the people involved, and felt
that I was portraying a character that people really cared about, this hurt
me immensely.  At that point, I was in shock but I still went to Blackpool
thinking that they would come around and give me the time I needed off.  I
knew Ivanova was in the first episodes.  I figured we could sit down with my
agent and come to a deal.  In Blackpool, I was told by JMS that he would give
me the episodes off but I could not get anything in writing.  I trust him,
however I know that he was not writing all of the episodes for the fifth
season so I really felt that I had to have something in writing.  I turns out
my fears were justified because when my agent spoke to John Copeland
(producer) and mentioned Joe's offer to write me out of a few episodes, Mr.
Copeland responded by saying "That's not possible.  If TNT wants her in every
episode then she has to do all 22.  That's the deal, take it or leave it."

        At this point, I was told that I had until Monday to call Warner
Bros. to tell them I was on board.  Well Folks, an actor does not call a
studio.  Our union has rules.  The producers of B-5 never called my manager
or agent to tell them of this deadline.   Instead, I was told by Jeff
Conaway.  I called my agent and left word.  We missed each other.  On Monday,
I found out that on the previous Friday my agent had received a fax stating
that the offer for me to be in B-5 was withdrawn.  In essence, I was fired.
This fax was received on Friday, so what kind of game was being played by
giving me false hopes throughout the weekend in England?  And by the wayw, on
Tuesday of that week, I was in London promoting the show and doing magazine
interviews and TV talk shows for them on my own time.  Why would I do that if
I did not believe something could be worked out.

        If they really wanted me back, they would have accepted my plea
through my agent to sit down and have a meeting.  He was told by John
Copeland that he was "a dollar short and a day late."  They simply did not
even want to sit down with me!

        Once again, I would do season 5...if I had less episodes.  I am hurt
and disappointed that I have not even received the opportunity to discuss my
needs.  I was dismissed coldly and simply.  I want you to know that I have
given my heart to the show and I love Ivanova as much as any of you.  I did
not "leave" the show.  I did not ask for more money.  I did not create this
mess.  Perhaps this is a great lack of communication.  I would like to think
that.  Thank you all for your love and support.  I would never abandon you.

Claudia Christian

 #: 685989 S6/Babylon 5: Spoilers
    20-Jul-97  21:35:01
Sb: #685938-#Claudia sez this..

      1) This confirms what I said in my note to Brian, that I personally
assured Claudia of the chance for time off (so Kevin, bugger off).

      2) Neither I nor anyone else in B5 told her that she had until Monday. I
sat with her Midnight Thursday and said she had to talk to her agent and get
this to WB *the very next day*, Friday, or that was it.  Jeff took it upon
himself to try and talk Claudia into trying to work it out on Monday, out of
his concern and a hope that this could be saved.

      3) Her agent was notified several days prior to the deadline that it was
in place by WB business affairs.

      4) As noted in my other message, there wasn't time to sit down leisurely
after Blackpool and discuss this.  The first script had to be in on July 6th.
The second on July 12th.  The third one on July 18th.  Those are the hard and
fast deadlines in order to meet production requirements for season 5.  It is
not July 20th.  By the time anyone could "sit down" we'd be deep into episode 5
or 6, and then what do we do?  Rewrite all 5 or 6 at the last minute?

      It's an unfortunate situation.  Nobody's denying that.  But what
happened, happened.



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