Doug Netter is Exec Producer on BABYLON 5. I am Co-Executive Producer.
I worked with Doug on several projects in the past, including CAPTAIN POWER,
where he was, again, producer. He's irascible, and every bit as much of a
pain in the butt as I am. He grouses, carries on... one day I expect to
wander into the offices and find him wearing a patch over one eye, a knife
between his teeth, talking to a parrot and preparing to board the building
And I trust him implicitly. Doug is a straight-shooter. I have three
rules I live by when I work on a project: I never lie, I never BS, and I
never, EVER bluff. Doug's the same way. When he tells you he will do X, it
happens. Period. He's a pro, and was previously the head of production at
When we were working together on CP, Doug made me a promise. He said,
"Look, Joe, you know me, I'm not a writer, that's not what I'm good at. So I
will never give you a creative note. Production notes, hell yes. Creative
And he kept that promise.
Which is why, when it came time to show someone what I'd come up with on
BABYLON 5, instead of going righ off the bat to a big studio or a network...I
went to Doug. He liked it, and we formed a partnership to pruce the movie and
the series. He's invested a lot of time and effort over the last 4 years,
when it seemed it would never happen, but he never lost faith in the project.
We have a great relationship: we insult each other shamelessly. I've
even learned to somewhat mimic his voice, so I can return fire with his own
words, in his own voice. When our casting director met with us for the first
time and started going over how much she *loved* the script, he broke in, "No,
no, no, jeez, what're you saying, you can't say that, we NEVER say that, I'm
telling you you can't work with the man if you say that kind of thing. You
gotta tell him it's *sufficient*, but just barely, and with luck we can save
it in post. Jeez, no, don't ever do that again."
He's a very funny man.
I'm having him roughed up on Friday.
THAT'S who Doug Netter is.
Meanwhile...interesting things are happening. See, normally, when you do
a syndicated show, it's tough finding the actors you want, because syndicated
rates are across the board lower than network. That's a given on ANY show.
So all parties were prepared for a long, hard search.
Scripts started going out Monday.
Growing since, then and particularly in the last 48 hours as scripts have
arrived at homes, actors have been coming out of the woodwork at us, from all
sides. Not just newcomers, we're talking *name* actors who read the script
and fell in love with one or more of the characters and want to play them. My
jaw fell at some of the names I heard over the phone today...actors who will
do it for what we have, and want to do it very much.
Big name or newcomer, though, we're going to see and consider everybody.
You don't want to cast a Big Name just because he's a Big Name if he's wrong
for the part...you screw yourself over bigtime if you do that. Similarly, if
you don't cast a newcomer for a part even though he's *perfect* for the role,
you again screw yourself over.
But it looks like our range of choice is going to be a *lot* bigger than
I'd expected. A *lot* bigger....
Meanwhile...think good thoughts. I've always had one composer in mind
for this show. People thought I was nuts. But we've got a good, not a great
but a *good*, chance of nailing him. If we can, I'll be in heaven. Won't
know for a while, though, so don't expect word on this one anytime soon.
Boys and girls, THIS is the fun part!
(In the voice of Dr. Smith, "'We can save it in post' indeed. Hmf! Oh
the pain, the pain...come here, you clattering, clanking concatonation of