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 Message
    From: J. Michael Straczynski <71016.1644@compuserve.com>
 Subject: Claudia C fired!
      To: CIS  
    Date: 7/20/1997 2:11:00 PM  

Message 1 in thread 

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{original post had no questions}

I answered this in the other thread. Once you read it, you may
think differently.

As for your tone, please take it elsewhere. I have no interest
in hearing it.

jms
    From: J. Michael Straczynski <71016.1644@compuserve.com>
 Subject: Claudia C fired!
      To: CIS  
    Date: 7/20/1997 2:11:00 PM  

Message 2 in thread 

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{original post unavailable}

You must understand that Claudia is one of 10 or so actors on
the show. The other actors understood and understand that we cannot
renegotiate contracts in mid-stream, and they are *supportive of the
show*, and gave us extensions on their contracts so that WB could have
time to make the TNT deal work. They are all, to a man and woman, on
board otherwise.

Claudia opted to not give the extension, where the other cast
did, and now wants (or says she wants to) renegotiate, now that all the
other cast members are locked down. To do so in her case, when she did
not give us the extension, and deliberately embarrassed WB by having an
article appear in the trades saying she was out and looking for other
work, would be an insult to all the other cast members who have worked
with us to date.

Further, yes, she's right, in that the contract could not be
changed so that she could go out and do movies at a moment's notice.
By contract, we must have first call on an actor's services. That is a
requirement of ANY TV contract with an actor who is a series regular.
That cannot be changed for ANY actor, ANYwhere.

That said...I already *told* Claudia that, even though we
couldn't put it in the contract, I would be happy to work with her
*informally* on this, and that if she said she needed to be gone from
X-date to Y-date, I would write her out of those episodes so that she
could do the movies. SHE ALREADY GOT FROM ME THAT PROMISE. I've
already done similar things for her and other cast members on the show,
which is how many of them have appeared in other projects. So this is,
for me, a non-issue.

No, from my standpoint, she wanted off the show, and I have no
idea why she is running up the fans like this unless she wants to avoid
responsibility for this.

Again, this isn't a case of my word against hers. EVERY SINGLE
CAST MEMBER was there when this went down, and MANY of them tried to
talk her out of walking off the show. If you don't want to take my
word for it, ask any one of them who was there, especially Bruce or
Jeff.

I would suggest the fans *not* get into this, because a) you're
not getting solid or reliable information from Claudia, and b) it is
simply too late. She opted to pass on season 5, whether she wants to
admit this or not, whether she's running from responsibility from that,
I don't know...but it was her choice. I sat with her on Thursday night
at Midnight and told her, flat out, that I would accommodate her
request on a personal basis, and that she *had* to either contact WB
herself or have her agent do so the next day, or she was off the show,
because we HAD to get the show going. The train was leaving, and she
could be on it or not as she chose. She chose not to get on board.

What you also don't understand is that we start shooting season
5 in less than one month. We're in the process of writing scripts
*right now*, and have been since we got the production order right
about the time we went to Blackpool. You can't whipsaw the writing
back and forth -- is she in, isn't she in, maybe she is, maybe she
isn't -- and hope to have anything in shape to shoot. That was why we
had to know at that date. Normally we have a longer lead time; this
time we didn't, and this has already put the scripts back a bit. The
script with the new character is written and in; if I take it out now I
have to replace it, and there isn't *time*.

Claudia knew this. WB knew this. We were up against it. She
had to choose to be in, or out. She chose out. It's no longer our
responsibility, and it's flatly too late to bring her back. The door
is closed on season 5.

jms
    From: J. Michael Straczynski <71016.1644@compuserve.com>
 Subject: Claudia C fired!
      To: CIS  
    Date: 7/21/1997 6:54:00 PM  

Message 3 in thread 

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{original post had no questions}

The information on residuals is not correct. NO ONE was aske to
give up residuals on season 5 forever. That simply never took place.

To explain:

There are different residuals formulas for the various forms of
TV. The best one is for network, where the fee paid per rerun is quite
high; then you have syndication, which starts at a much lower level;
then there is the basic cable residual, which is lowest of all. In
year 5, B5 is going from syndication to basic cable. That means it
must now use the basic cable residuals formula. But the cast had to be
informed of this, and agree to it, otherwise there could not BE a fifth
season.

The basic cable deal is spelled out very clearly in the Screen
Actors Guild (SAG) agreement, which is standard for all parts of the
Industry. The rule is that the amount paid to an actor over
double-scale is *credited against* residuals. Once that amount is
earned out, the residuals come again. That is standard for basic cable.
(The closest parallel would be a print author, who is paid an advance
against royalties; once that advance is earned out, the royalties come
to the author.)

So to make it clearer: let's say for the sake of argument that
scale is $5,000 per episode. (It isn't that exact figure, but I don't
have the SAG book in front of me; still, that's close.) Double scale
would be $10,000 per episode. So if an actor is paid, let's say,
$12,000 per episode, then $2,000 over double scale per episode is
credited against residuals, for a total of $44,000. That amount would
get burned through pretty fast, and then the actor would again start
getting residuals.

That was the situation explained to *all* the actors. NO ONE
was asked to permanently give up S5 residuals. That simply never
happened, and *could not* happen under SAG rules. And the rule as
specified above can be verified in the SAG agreement.

BTW...it was stated to Claudia's people that WB *could* drop her
down to 18 episodes if she wanted to be paid for only those 18
episodes, but her reps demanded that she should be paid for all 22
regardless, and didn't take that deal.

You must understand that this sort of thing is common. For
instance, when Stephen Furst wanted to do fewer episodes so that he
could appear as a regular in the sitcom "Misery Loves Company," he
said, "Look, I really want to do this, so if you could cut me down to,
say, 8 episodes, and just pay me for those 8 instead of the contracted
13, that'd be great." And that deal was made, and made quickly. If an
actor wants to be reduced in the number of episodes, but still be paid
for the full number, that makes things difficult for a studio to go
along with.

And as of now, it's a moot point. The boat has left the pier.
This is no longer an issue that can be altered. She opted out, for her
own reasons. Heck, that was announced in the trades long before we knew
what was going on. We have had no choice but to move on.

jms
    From: J. Michael Straczynski <71016.1644@compuserve.com>
 Subject: Claudia C fired!
      To: CIS  
    Date: 7/21/1997 6:54:00 PM  

Message 4 in thread 

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{original post unavailable}

"I do have a question though. Why did you opt for a new character,
instead of simply promoting Corwin? Was this simply to save changing
Corwin's role in S5 or is there another reason?"

It involves some things that happen later this season that
require a certain grade officer in place in S5, and would require
Corwin to jump several ranks. He's too young and inexperienced for
that job.

jms
    From: J. Michael Straczynski <71016.1644@compuserve.com>
 Subject: Claudia C fired!
      To: CIS  
    Date: 7/22/1997 10:51:00 AM  

Message 5 in thread 

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{original post had no questions}

Actually, this would be much simpler if it *were* a
communication breakdown. But it ain't.

Onward.

jms
    From: J. Michael Straczynski <71016.1644@compuserve.com>
 Subject: Claudia C fired!
      To: CIS  
    Date: 7/22/1997 10:51:00 AM  

Message 6 in thread 

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Paul McElligott <70007.3154@compuserve.com> asks:
> Are the actors who played Major Ryan or Captain McDougal being
> considered to replace Claudia? Or would that be telling?

I'd prefer to put a female in that position, to keep the cast
relatively balanced. I've actually come up with some very interesting
ideas on this, which are kinda fun...a way to put a lot more conflict
into the inner circle, if you will.

jms
    From: J. Michael Straczynski <71016.1644@compuserve.com>
 Subject: Claudia C fired!
      To: CIS  
    Date: 7/23/1997 1:47:00 PM  

Message 7 in thread 

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{original post had no questions}

One of the problems not just in this, but in general, is that
there is so much mythology about how TV is done, and so much bad
information. Any time that can be cleared up, the better.

jms
    From: J. Michael Straczynski <71016.1644@compuserve.com>
 Subject: Claudia C fired!
      To: CIS  
    Date: 7/23/1997 5:52:00 PM  

Message 8 in thread 

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{original post unavailable}

"I do not have to sound like I'm in control ALL THE TIME."

I don't think you will find anyone in this forum who feels, on
reading your messages, that you're in control.

Mission objective achieved.

jms
    From: J. Michael Straczynski <71016.1644@compuserve.com>
 Subject: Claudia C fired!
      To: CIS  
    Date: 7/23/1997 5:52:00 PM  

Message 9 in thread 

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Vadim Naroditsky <72133.1175@compuserve.com> asks:
> The only 3 women that come to mind are: Lyta (unlikely but we can
> expect anything from you, can't we? I assume that the idea of
> keeping this affair to humans is still in effect, isn't it?

Nothing to do with being "politically correct," this is the
least PC show on record. I just like to have a mix of male and female
characters, and when it tilts too much in o, including Claudia, who has
three or four web sites devoted to her. She's not exactly out in the
cold here. Her comments at the convention were here instantly, the
Variety and Reuters articles were here very quickly, and her online
note showed up within hours. I don't exactly see that as only one side
being presented.

Second, your observation is cynical and untrue. I've been
online at CIS since 1984-85; I was one of the first people on CIS on my
block. I've been here for going on 13 years. I got on here to hang
out with fellow fans, and talk about shows, and meet people. I'm still
here now for the same reasons. You can speak to events and specifics
all you want, but stay out of my motives unless and until you can hire
a teep to probe around in my cerebellum.

jms
    From: J. Michael Straczynski <71016.1644@compuserve.com>
 Subject: Claudia C fired!
      To: CIS  
    Date: 7/23/1997 5:52:00 PM  

Message 10 in thread 

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{original post unavailable}

"I merely wanted to point out that JMS has seemed to USE this forum to
put over a very onesided point of view."

You're right. I put across one side. Mine. You put across
yours. How many people are supposed to inhabit my body? It's not my
place to speak for Claudia or you or anybody else.

I have not used words in the same way you have used them,
either; unlike you, I have not characterized the people here. You have
called me arrogant without a) any meaning of the word, or b) anything
to back that up other than bile and spirit messages. I have not called
anyone in this stupid, or malicious, or arrogant.

In reviewing your messages here, however, I'm nearly prepared to
make an exception to the rule.

jms
    From: J. Michael Straczynski <71016.1644@compuserve.com>
 Subject: Claudia C fired!
      To: CIS  
    Date: 7/23/1997 5:52:00 PM  

Message 11 in thread 

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{original post had no questions}

We'll probably start casting in the next 7 days.

jms
    From: J. Michael Straczynski <71016.1644@compuserve.com>
 Subject: Claudia C fired!
      To: CIS  
    Date: 7/24/1997 1:42:00 PM  

Message 12 in thread 

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{original post unavailable}

"all I was really saying is that he should keep the business side of
the show off of this forum."

Then you miss two important points.

1) This came up at Claudia's convention appearance, and the
result has led people to ask questions. As in, "What the hell's going
on?"

2) The whole reason I'm *here* is not publicity, but to create
and maintain a dialogue about How Television Is Done and Why Things Are
Done The Way They're Done. The business side of it has comprised about
60% of the discussion from day one. To answer questions about all the
other business aspects, but pointedly *not* answer them here, goes
against the reason I'm here, and would imply there's something to hide.

Besides, last I heard, you didn't define the range of what can
be discussed here, that's up to the sysops. If it's jake by them, it's
jake by me. The problem is yours.

jms
    From: J. Michael Straczynski <71016.1644@compuserve.com>
 Subject: Claudia C fired!
      To: CIS  
    Date: 7/25/1997 7:30:00 AM  

Message 13 in thread 

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{original post had no questions}

Thanks...I'll try.

jms
    From: J. Michael Straczynski <71016.1644@compuserve.com>
 Subject: Claudia C fired!
      To: CIS  
    Date: 7/25/1997 7:30:00 AM  

Message 14 in thread 

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(blocked) asks:
> Every character but Ivanova has undergone great changes, I
> presume that her's were to come now with the challenges and
> stresses of the battle with Psi Corp/Earth and her assumption of
> Army of Light command? Will the new character be used, more or
> less, to complete Ivanova's development or will her thread be
> dropped? Will the new character only have a lifespan of nine
> years? Could he be assistant king/commander?

Whatever you're drinking, you're either not drinking enough of
it or too much of it.

jms
    From: J. Michael Straczynski <71016.1644@compuserve.com>
 Subject: Claudia C fired!
      To: CIS  
    Date: 7/26/1997 8:22:00 AM  

Message 15 in thread 

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{original post unavailable}

"case in point - Claudia's cut-of date was last week - yet Joe claimed
that he had written stories that would have to be re-fitted around
claudia and he didn't have time... but if thats so then he never had
any intention of writing her in - so there is a whole there."

No, the date is incorrect. This all happened at Blackpool,
which was over the weekend of July 10th-13th. The Friday deadline that
we have been discussing was July 11th. The weekend of the 17th I was
in San Diego, which is when Claudia started talking about this at a
convention elsewhere.

I could not have been sitting in a hotel pub with her on
Thursday night in Blackpool if I was in San Diego at the time. All
this went down while we were in the UK.

jms
    From: J. Michael Straczynski <71016.1644@compuserve.com>
 Subject: Claudia C fired!
      To: CIS  
    Date: 7/26/1997 5:57:00 PM  

Message 16 in thread 

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Philip Friel <100647.753@compuserve.com> asks:
> And the coupla guys that I notice giving you a load of crap
> around here - I don't ever recall seeing you give *them* any crap
> (if you had, it might've been different, 'cos then it's
> *personal* - guns at fifty paces, and all that <bg>), so just
> what *is* their problem?

"I won't say that there won't ever be an SF show as good as B5, as
you've now set the yardstick, and the rest have something to aim at.
Maybe, someday, someone will reach or pass it"

I'm looking forward to that. I'll be the first one to stand up
and cheer when it happens.

"I'll say one thing about Trekkies, even though B5 fans often beat up
on them <g,d,&r> - if Gene Roddenberry were alive today, and were
active online, I just couldn't see him taking even a fraction of the
flack from online Trekkies as you do from these excuses for B5 fans"

Noooo...I don't think so...ask Majel about some of this
sometime. Believe me, if Gene were online, he'd get the same thing.
It's the medium, not the person, that's the problem.

jms
    From: J. Michael Straczynski <71016.1644@compuserve.com>
 Subject: Claudia C fired!
      To: CIS  
    Date: 7/27/1997 5:14:00 PM  

Message 17 in thread 

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{original post had no questions}

"Before coming to this forum today I was reading through a ST
newsgroup on the internet. John Ordover was busy defending himself
against criticism for things like ignoring rude messages. I'm sure you
don't find this at all surprising."

Yeah, well, John also announced *definitively* (and with
considerable joy, I suspect) on AOL that B5 had been canceled, and
there would be no fifth season, so I'm probably the last person to ask
about this....

jms

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