Attn JMS: Crusade on Sci-Fi - Question

B5JMS Poster b5jms-owner at
Wed Apr 12 04:50:33 EDT 2000

From: Andy Hock <andyhock at>
Date: 11 Apr 2000 09:22:53 -0600
Lines: 11

Mac Breck wrote:
> Now is the time for all of us to ask the Sci-Fi Channel to back Crusade, 

I disagree.  JMS has said that it is way too early to get into
the Crusade issue now.  The time to ask SciFi to back Crusade
(IMHO, of course) is AFTER the B5 reruns become successful on
SciFi (assuming they do) and make SciFi lots of money.

				Andy Hock

From: jmsatb5 at (Jms at B5)
Date: 11 Apr 2000 22:58:35 -0600
Lines: 78

>I disagree.  JMS has said that it is way too early to get into
>the Crusade issue now.  The time to ask SciFi to back Crusade
>(IMHO, of course) is AFTER the B5 reruns become successful on
>SciFi (assuming they do) and make SciFi lots of money.

I get the sense from some folks at SFC that they wanted to make the B5 deal its
own thing, without diluting it, and that they might well come back next year to
pick up the Crusade reruns as another kind of event to spike the B5 reruns a

Note: I'm not saying that's what's going to happen, only my sense of what will
*probably* happen, given some recent conversations.  

Everything in TV has its time; shows are acquired at specific points and in
specific ways.  That's why, for instance, the project Chris Carter and I had in
development has to wait until July/August before I can take it out again;
development season runs from about that time through October, then the door's

To that point, as an aside, since people have emailed and asked what is
involved in development in terms of my side of things....

In the case of the project I was doing with Chris, you don't simply jump over a
broom on the floor and say "Okay, we're now in development."  (Taxi fans will
get that one.)  Contracts are signed and deals made BEFORE you get into
development and before you pitch it to anyone.


Because let's say you DON'T sign a deal in advance.  You take the project to a
network. They want it.  The writer can then hold up the studio for exorbitant
monies because he knows the network wants the show.  Studios will NEVER put
themselves in that vulnerable a position.  (On the flip side, a writer wants to
make sure his or her position on the show is guaranteed in advance.)

So in the case of THE WORLD ON FIRE, once I'd pitched it to Frank and Chris,
and they liked it, before any development work could commence we had to strike
a deal between me, Ten Thirteen Productions, and Fox Studios.  Negotiations
took about 2 or 3 weeks, if I recall.

In that deal, signed around July/August last year, Fox agreed that I would exec
produce the series if it were picked up.  Chris and Frank would also be EPs.

Even though the show didn't get picked up because of the Harsh Realm situation,
what's significant is that a) the negotiation and deal, which is now a matter
of record at Fox, put my salary quote at nearly double what it had been at B5
(this is important because all new deals are based on your last deal), and b)
it proved what I'd believed: that having run B5 for five years, keeping it on
budget, on schedule, and making it hugely profitable for WB, was a hell of a
lot more important to the studios than the Crusade situation.  Shows get
dropped all the time, sometimes in contentious circumstances.  

What mattered to Fox and Ten Thirteen (and all this is a matter of record, I
couldn't say this stuff if it weren't true or Fox would nail my ass to the
wall) was what was done with B5.  I don't think they were even *aware* of
Crusade, to be honest.  

So when the next development season comes around in July/August, we'll see what
happens.  In general I'd prefer to run my own show than come in on someone
else's show (show runners for new and returning series get hired May/June). 
I've had some nice offers, including a project with Joe Dante that I'm very
strongly considering, but in general I'm holding out for something *cool*,
whether it's my own show or someone else's.


(jmsatb5 at
B5 Official Fan Club at:
(all message content (c) 2000 by
synthetic worlds, ltd., permission
to reprint specifically denied to
SFX Magazine)

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