[B5JMS] SFC management

b5jms-admin at cs.columbia.edu b5jms-admin at cs.columbia.edu
Wed Apr 10 04:39:11 EDT 2002

From: "Mac Breck" <macbreck at access995.com>
Date: Mon, 8 Apr 2002 14:39:15 -0400
Lines: 94

----- Original Message -----
From: "Sven Olafsson" <sven_olafsson at e-mailanywhere.com>
Newsgroups: rec.arts.sf.tv.babylon5.moderated
Sent: Sunday, April 07, 2002 3:36 PM
Subject: SFC management

> You know the people who run the SF channel, are they actually
> interested in SF or just doing their job?

The latter, if you assume that their job is to earn more money for their
channel in *any way possible*.  Their latest announcements show that they
have the amazing ability to go off half-cocked (reactionary) against
perceived stereotypes, and in doing so make those stereotypes *worse*, and
hurt space-based sci-fi and sci-fi in general, in the long run.  However,
they care nothing for the long run, only the short term.  So, it will be
band-aid solutions upon band-aid solutions (cheap crap that will generate
profits even if the ratings are poor, sprinkled with a couple high budget
things to not make it look so obvious), instead of trying to make a serious
attempt at space sci-fi (e.g. with Crusade).

It looks like TLaDiS suffered from a lack of time to develop a script, a
lack of resources (the B5/Crusade CGI files), and lack of time to re-develop
the CGI that was lost.  They were under time pressure to produce something
before it could be affected by the looming strikes.

> Do they understand what
> they are selling,

No, and they don't care either.

> or simply examine the balancesheet and make
> decisions based on a tinsel-town formula?

That's it!

> I refer you to 2000AD, a
> British SF comic (home of Judge Dredd), created by people who had
> passion for it back in 1977.  Pat Mills & John Wagner fought against
> odds not disimilar to those JMS has been fighing.  2000AD almost got
> closed down a few times, yet they fought on.  They had interference
> from low-brow managerial types who *wanted* it to fail.  The reason
> they wanted it to fail was two-fold:  playing silly political games
> and they didn't understand it.

I've always found that the things that management types didn't understand
(just couldn't wrap their brain around), they always classified as
"unimportant."  After all, if it was important, they'd understand it. <s>
See if they admitted that they couldn't understand something that was
important, they'd be admiting a weakness, and their value would be

> Even if the readers loved a story, management would bugger it up, tone
> it down, remove any overtly political comments or themes.
> Why is it, I see the same thing happening to B5+?  Same bookie,
> different odds?

Cross-pollination and/or influence of people from TNT?

> The beautiful thing about 2000AD is that is got bought by people who
> appreciated it; Rebellion.  People who had admired it and wanted to
> hit the fanbase which was decimated in the 90s (the dark era).

or 1999-2002 for B5.

> It has
> become so fantastic of late, I've subscribed to it and their sister
> mag.  The creators are allowed to think for themselves again and
> management backs them (even if there are one or two little squabbles.)
> Hence my question:  does the SFC management actually *care* about SF?
> Anyone know?

I doubt they care about SF at all.  The few good things in their latest
press releases are there probably because they were shiny and sounded good
(like new management catch-phrases in a meeting), or fit the tinsel-town
formula (cheap enough to make back money even if the ratings are dismal).

Mac Breck
Vorlon Empire

http://www.scifi.com/b5rangers/   http://www.b5lr.com/

From: jmsatb5 at aol.com (Jms at B5)
Date: 10 Apr 2002 00:54:02 GMT
Lines: 38

>It looks like TLaDiS suffered from a lack of time to develop a script, a
>lack of resources (the B5/Crusade CGI files), and lack of time to re-develop
>the CGI that was lost.  They were under time pressure to produce something
>before it could be affected by the looming strikes.

Not true.

The script worked fine, the CGI worked fine, the time constraints were not an

What killed us was the football playoffs.  That is a matter of record.

They were hoping the show would do a 2.7 or 2.6 to get picked up.  In *every
market* where we weren't up against the highest-rasted football game in ten
years, we pulled those numbers or better, in some places hitting a 3.1, which
is just about unheard of for SFC.  Those numbers came in because the show

But we lost the east coast and most of the midwest to the game.  When you
averaged it all out, we got a 1.7 or thereabouts.  The SFC knows why, we know
why, it's not like that's an issue, and we *gained viewers* as the show went
along, which only happens if the show -- script, CGI, performances -- works. 
But in TV, the overall number is the overall number, and it's hard for a
network to get past that, especially in dealing with advertisers.

If we'd aired on any other night of the week, there would be a LoTR series in
prep right now.


(jmsatb5 at aol.com)
(all message content (c) 2002 by synthetic worlds, ltd., 
permission to reprint specifically denied to SFX Magazine 
and don't send me story ideas)

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