Crusade for Crusade Kicks into High Gear

B5JMS Poster b5jms-owner at
Wed Jun 23 12:17:51 EDT 1999

Forwarded message to B5JMS list.
Originally From: "Alisa Schreibman" <schreibm at>


Crusade for Crusade Kicks into High Gear

 Earlier this year, Babylon 5 fans were stunned by news that TNT had
canceled production on the eagerly anticipated sequel, Crusade.  Reports of
conflict between TNT and J. Michael Straczynski, creator of both Babylon 5
and Crusade, immediately began to circulate.  TNT was alleged to have asked
Straczynski to add sex and violence to Crusade to make the “cerebral”
science fiction epic more palatable for their regular audience; Straczynski
reportedly refused and the show was canceled.  In a recent interview
(Dreamwatch, July), Straczynski confirmed the rumors: “They wanted the show
invaded by ‘horny aliens’ once in awhile.  They wanted fistfights and sex on
the bridge.  [Their production] notes became more and more reprehensible.
Leave aside creative differences, just morally they were outrageous.”  He
also indicated that TNT had been contractually bound for 22 episodes.  TNT
evidently did not think that  their parent company, Time-Warner, who also
owns Crusade, would sue itself for breach of contract—so only 13 episodes
were filmed.  TNT was also unwilling to see another network pick up the
series unless they would pay for the entire 22 episode season.  This
impasse—the limbo in which Crusade still hangs—has united Babylon 5 fans in
an Internet-based campaign to save Crusade.
 The Crusade for Crusade is a group of dedicated fans who came up with a
plan to raise money to place ads in well-circulated magazines calling
attention to Crusade’s plight.  Naysayers said the campaign would go
nowhere, but the fundraising drive earned over $6000 in less than two
months.  Two different ads were purchased with the fund: one in Sci-Fi
Entertainment (August issue on newsstands now) and one in Daily Variety
(June 9th).  Modeled after some flyers the Crusade had designed for local
distribution, the Sci-Fi Entertainment ad aimed primarily to enlist genre
fans in the fight to save Crusade.  The Daily Variety ad, also designed by
members of the Crusade, attempted to sell Crusade on its merits to industry
 Flyers and postings to bulletin boards and other web sites have formed an
integral part of the campaign.  These postings inform communities about
Crusade and ask for (continued) support.  These blitzes seem to be having
the desired effect.  Crusade debuted on June 9th to a market share of 1.9!
For cable, especially an under-promoted, unsupported science fiction show,
these ratings are quite remarkable.  The quarterly breakdown—1.8, 1.9, 1.9,
2.0—shows that Crusade gained viewers steadily throughout the hour and
retained those who tuned in.  While the second episode, “The Long Road” drew
somewhat lower ratings (an average share of 1.4), it was well received by
fans.  The viewer decline may be attributed to competition with the NBA
finals.  In Canada, on Space: The Imagination Station, which has done a
superb job promoting Crusade, the show is doing so well that its ratings
have doubled the usual ratings for Babylon 5 (which were very good to begin
with).  Bravo Space!  The really important thing here is that if Crusade
continues to earn between 1 and 2 points, chances are good that it will see
a second season.
 To ensure success, the Crusade for Crusade has kicked its letter-writing
campaign (which began in February) into high gear.  Previous letter writing
had focused on networks and news/entertainment magazines in a dual effort to
publicize Crusade and to get the show picked up for another season.  Current
efforts continue to target networks, especially the Sci-Fi Channel which is
the most likely new home for Crusade.  But, the campaign now targets an
additional group.  Crusade for Crusade feels that sponsors are in a position
to exert some influence over the networks, so they are writing to episode
sponsors to let them know that their support of good television has been
noted and is much appreciated.  So far, the response to the letters has been
outstanding.  Letters to the Editors have been printed in a number of
newspapers, and Crusade has received coverage (including the fan campaigns)
in TV Guide, newspapers, and other sources.
 The battle for Crusade is far from over.  But, the Crusade for Crusade
needs your help.  Please visit “Crusade for Crusade” at and “Crusade—The Quest for Life” at for more
information.  Spread the word, and watch Crusade.  If you like what you see,
write to the Sci-Fi Channel to ask them to pick up Crusade at:

 Ms. Bonnie Hammer
 Senior Vice President of Programming
 Sci-Fi Channel
 1230 Avenue of the Americas
 New York, NY 10020-1513

Time is of the essence.  The actor’s contracts will expire in mid-July, so a
decision will be made in short order.  Strike a blow for intelligent
television—help save Crusade!

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