Latest Information from TNT [usa]

B5JMS Poster b5jms-owner at
Fri Oct 17 17:04:47 EDT 1997

Forwarded message to B5JMS list.
Originally From: judge at (Dirk A. Loedding)


[I'm submitting this one normally, in case Steve already sent it to you.]

A note from Dean Treadway at TNT about B5 promos and schedules.
Of special note is that "The Gathering" will indeed be re-edited, and 
that the Season 5 episodes will be airing on Wednesdays, rather than on 
Mondays, as previously mentioned.

This letter is also available at:


Hi!  Dean Treadway of TNT programming, here with an update on the 
situation with B5 appearing on TNT.  A lot of this material that follows 
may or may not be stuff you've read before, but a lot is quite 
different, too.  Here we go: 

As you probably know, BABYLON 5 is headed for Turner Network Television 
(at least in the United States) in January 1998.  Already, the :15 
promos are showing on TNT at least twice daily, and that will soon be 
stepped up (yes, the promos will be available on the website eventually, 
once our preliminary B5 website launches in November).  The other 
promotional materials--posters, bus sides and so forth (not available to 
fans, except through eventual website contests)--are currently in 
production and should be hitting the streets some time in late 
November/early December.  Anyway, here's a timeline of B5 events on TNT: 

DECEMBER 28: At 8 pm ET, 2001: A SPACE ODYSSEY, hosted by Bruce 
    Boxleitner and Jerry Doyle (set to reair at 4:15 am ET on the 
    morning of January 2). "What Is Babylon 5?" a 30-min special 
    designed to initiate the uninitiated, will premiere here at 11 pm 
    ET, and again at 2 am ET.  

JANUARY 4: The premiere of the prequel movie "In The Beginning" at 8 pm 
    ET, followed by the RE-EDITED, RE-SCORED pilot movie "The Gathering" 
    at 10 pm ET; "What is Babylon 5?" at 12 mid ET; a replay of "In The 
    Beginning" at 12:30 am ET, followed by a replay of "What is Babylon 
    5?" at 2:30 am ET and at 5:30 am ET.  

JANUARY 5:  "Babylon 5" strip begins; seasons 1-4 (and eventually 5) 
    will be played in sequential order, in their original length, in 
    stereo but not letterboxed, Monday through Friday, starting today at 
    6 pm ET or, more than likely, 7 pm ET.  

JANUARY 21: 5th season episodes begin appearing, starting on this 
    WEDNESDAY at 10 pm ET, with a replay of the episode on the following 
    Saturday at 6 (or 7) pm ET.  

SPRING 1998: Premiere of "Third Space," the second of our B5 movies. 

Of course, some fans are writing, lamenting the fact that their local 
station has dropped the final four B5 eps of the fourth season.  We're a 
little afraid that showing the final four before the bow of the fifth 
season will be a tad confusing to any non-fan viewers, and it's not as 
if the situation is not confusing enough, what with three separate 
premiere dates for varying facets of the series.  We know the votes of 
B5 fans worldwide would favor the airings, but we have to think of all 
70 million of our subscribers when we program something. So it doesn't 
look as the airing of the final four before the premiere of the 5th 
season episodes is going to happen.  

And that's the end of the B5 timeline, for right now. We're working on 
collating all the series info and graphics we need for the TNT website, 
but we don't want people to think it's a fall addition to TNT, so, as 
I've said, we're waiting until November or so to launch, to avoid 
confusion.  You'll hear about the site through here at Lurker's or on 
The Zocalo, though, so don't worry--you'll know about it when it 

Now, to some ancillary issues: 

AIR TIMES: B5 fans from the West Coast have been calling and writing in, 
asking for a second showing of the daily episode at a later time (like, 
say 10 or 11 pm ET), so that they can see the series in prime time.  
Unfortunately, though, we really have to concentrate on our movie 
library and sporting events after the 8 pm ET hour, so I don't see 
episodes of B5 being programmed after that time period (if we programmed 
B5 at, say 8, 9 or 10 pm ET, it'd be pre-empted at least three times a 
week, for basketball and wrestling, both to which we have an equally 
strong committment).  Sorry--B5 will appear weekdays on the West coast 
at either 3 or 4 pm least for a little while.  BUT HERE'S THE 
GOOD NEWS: TNT is adding a West Coast feed to their operations sometime 
in mid- to late 1998.  This means that, what airs at 7 pm Eastern will 
also air at 7 pm Pacific. So, eventually, during the B5's time on TNT, 
the show will be seen in a more accessible time slot on the West Coast.  

EPISODE ORDERING: We will be getting an episode ordering from JMS that 
will reflect the PROPER order for the series' episodes, which we will 
slavishly follow.  

CLOSE CAPTIONING: I've been assured that all B5 episodes and movies will 
be close-captioned.  Everything will go smoothly in this regard...

LETTERBOXING: No chance of B5 being aired on a regular basis in 
letterbox, but we have discussed the possibilities of having a 
letterboxed week or a letterbox marathon of shows, and they were open to 
that.  No dates or anything for that, though.  It probably won't happen 
for a while...

STEREO: I know B5 is mixed for Surround Sound stereo, and is greatly 
enhanced by such.  FYI, TNT does broadcast in stereo, when it's 
available on the materials we're broadcasting.  For instance, while some 
of our older movies and TV shows were originally recorded in mono, our 
sports, TNT Originals, specials, and some newer movies and TV series 
(including B5, of course) are all broadcast and will be broadcast in 
stereo.  I cannot, however, say if your cable company RECEIVES us in 
stereo, but the bottom line is: we DO broadcast in stereo, when we can. 
If you are not currently recieveing stereo on your TNT reception, call 
your cable company back and make sure they don't recieve us as such; 
there is nothing we can personally do to MAKE them broadcast us in 
stereo, though, as we have no control over cable affiliates' operations.  
And I can't suggest anything towards your efforts to make them recieve 
us in stereo; my only suggestion: badger, badger, badger (or get a 
satellite dish). 

BUGS (LOGOS): The strong leaning in programming (and we know this won't 
be a popular decision with fans) is to leave the SMALL, TRANSPARANT TNT 
logo on the corner of the screen throughout a portion of the episodes.  
This is something that we HAVE TO start doing to foster recognizability 
of TNT, not just during B5, but during movies and LOIS AND CLARK and 
everything on TNT.  Why?  Well, there are 70 channels out there for the 
average cable subscriber to choose from (let's don't even get INTO 
satellite).  In the age of remote controls, people don't pay attention 
to channels or numbers or anything like that.  The days of "ABC's on 2, 
NBC's on 11 and CBS is on 5" are over.  Networks must do something to 
make themselves and their locations on your "dial" much more noticable 
(Sci- Fi Channel keeps their bug up 24-7...).  Therefore, the logos 
(bugs) will be a regular fixture on B5.  But, again, it will be 
transparant logo, and very small. And, really, it probably won't be up 
the WHOLE time...
know what's coming up next on our network (or any network) voice-overs 
and, sometimes, squeeze credits are necessary to keep people with 
shorter attention spans/low tolerance for credits tuned into the 
network.  Squeeze credits will probably rarely be used.  But voice-overs 
are guaranteed to be a daily staple on the B5 credits.   However, we 
will relax our policy for the following episodes: "Chrysalis," "And Now 
For A Word," "The Fall of Night," "Walkabout," "And The Rock Cried Out, 
No Hiding Place," "Z'Ha'Dum," and "Atonement."  These episodes have been 
flagged with a NO V.O. notice, in order to provide fans/viewers with one 
episode a season where they can hear the theme music running over the 
credits, as well as to avoid stepping on special audio material played 
during the closing credits of various episodes. 

VIDEO RELEASE OF B5:  I've been getting a few requests for the release 
of B5 on video, and I just wanted to make clear to fans that TNT has 
nothing to do with the manufacture, release, or sale of videotapes.  We 
merely program the network. We leave the video/laserdisc end of the 
business up to the Babylonian production team and Warner Brothers Home 
Video (818-954-6429), whom I'm sure will seriously consider releasing B5 
to video, if they feel they can make back their investment (which, one 
would think, they can). 

CANADIAN DISTRIBUTION:  Apparantly, as you probably know, it's very 
difficult to get Canadian cable systems to carry TNT.  Canada requires 
any Cable TV station being seen within their borders to have at least 
10% Canadian-oriented programming, which we do not and will not have, 
most probably.  I'm positive, though, that TNT has applied to the right 
commissions and so forth in order to be carried in Canada, but nothing 
has pannned out yet.  A bunch of Canadian fans have asked if we'd be 
willing to let TBS have some B5 action, since Canadians CAN get TBS 
(cause it's a superstation that goes out over satellite, rather than 
cable, and as such, falls under differing Canadian communication 
guidelines). The answer is: nope, TBS did not pay for the rights to 
carry "Babylon 5," so TBS will not be airing it.  It's a TNT exclusive.  
So we're back to square one. Now, I'm providing a response sent by the 
CRTC (Canadian Radio and Television Commission) to a viewer who was 
asking about the availability of TNT to Canadian viewers.  Here it is:  

    "Thank you for contacting the CRTC, expressing interest in receiving 
    the non-Canadian satellite service, TNT. It is important to note 
    that the Commission authorizes carriage of non-Canadian satellite 
    services through its Lists of Eligible Satellite Services (Public 
    Notice CRTC 1997-19, enclosed).  You will notice that there are two 
    lists, one that applies to Class I and some Class II cable systems, 
    which generally serve large communities, and the other to smaller 
    Class II and Part III cable systems located in more remote, 
    underserved areas.

    "All requests for amendments to the lists are assessed in light of 
    certain criteria, including the Commission's policy of not allowing 
    the carriage of non-Canadian satellite services which can offer 
    programming similar to Canadian pay and specialty services.  Such 
    requests must originate with an acceptable Canadian sponsor, which 
    could be a cable, pay television, or specialty service licensee.

    "In September 1996, the Commission began a public process to 
    consider requests from eligible sponsors for additions to the lists.  
    As you will see from the public notice 1997-17, no eligible sponsor 
    has requested the Commission to consider adding TNT to the lists. 
    You may wish to directly contact your cable television company to 
    ensure it is aware of your concerns.  In turn, the cable company 
    may, at some future date, request the Commission to consider adding 
    TNT to the lists.

    "Thank you for taking the time to write.

    Forrest Greene
    Public Affairs, CRTC"

I know the above response seems a little like gobbedygook (there was an 
attatchment to the original message that I think might have clarified 
some stuff), but what I gather is that, if you want TNT in Canada, then 
you're going to have to make some noise about it, either to these 
"eligible sponsors" mentioned above, or to the CRTC (their e-mail 
address is SMTP:INFO at crtc.x400). Sorry the news can't be better or more 

internationally distribute TV series, B5 or otherwise, but is instead to 
program a DOMESTIC cable network available in the United States.  When 
it comes to all of this other stuff--international distribution, 
videotape possibilities, DVD--Warner Brothers is the answer-giver!  We 
didn't BUY "Babylon 5" lock, stock and barrel from WB--we just "rented" 
it; they retain ownership--it's just that no one else domestically can 
show the series, at least, for as long as our contracts go.  So, since 
TNT bought, from Warner Brothers, the rights ONLY to show "Babylon 5" in 
the United States, there are no plans on our end to make it available 
for Canada, Australia, TNT Europe, TNT Asia, or TNT Latin America (all 
of which, despite having TNT as part of their names, are separte 
channels with completely separate operations and budgets and programming 
agendas).  I know this is easy for me to say, but don't worry too 
much--Warner Brothers knows of the desire of fans worldwide to see any 
new Babylon 5 episodes or movies, and I'm sure they'll make 
accomodations for you to see them, either by selling the movies/episodes 
to TNT Asia, TNT Europe, and/or TNT Latin America, or to foreign 
syndication, or at the very least to a videotape distributor (I know 
that, in BRITAIN, for instance, they'll still continue to put 5th season 
episodes and the new movies on videotape).  I don't work for Warner 
Brothers Distribution or Home Video, though, so I can't tell you what 
their plans are; all I can tell you is what's going on in my sphere of 
knowledge, and that sphere pretty much begins and ends with TNT Domestic 
(or, at the very most, the Turner side of Time/ Warner).  I'm working on 
finding an e-mail address or phone number of someone in WB who can 
troubleshoot in this regard, though; as soon as I find out who/where to 
call, I'll amend this FAQ list.  Sorry I can't help more...

Well, hopefully, all this info answers any questions you may have about 
our plans for B5.  Again, as fans ourselves, we're thrilled to be 
carrying the series.  It's intelligently written, beautifully performed, 
inpeccably crafted, and always incredibly exciting and ambitious--what 
more could we want from a show? You all have our deepest gratitude for 
taking the time to send us your congratulations and thanks!   We're very 
much looking forward to having you guys as regular viewers in 1998!  
Take care. 

Dean Treadway @ TNT Programming

|   Dirk A. Loedding               <*>               judge at   |

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