The situation with the actors on Rangers is unique in that it falls between the
corporate structures of SFC and WB.
WB owns the underlying rights to the B5 universe. SFC generally likes to own
the rights to the shows it airs these days.
WB likes to spend as little as possible on any of its shows because, well,
that's their position on everything. They want the license fee from the
network to carry the lion's share of the burden.
SFC likes to spend less money on license fees for shows it doesn't own and more
on things it does own.
So when we were making the deal for the movie, it was a case of "no, *you* go
first" when it came to who was going to pay for what for the series.
Complicating this was of course not knowing what they were finally going to get
in the end, both in terms of the finished product and the ratings (which could
be considered separately as triggers for a series).
Finally it was decided to finance the movie and put a pin in the series
negotiation until either or both of the triggers above were pulled so they
could best evaluate who should spend what, and in what proportion, on the
Absent a series deal in place, you can't make option deals with actors. The
one cascades from the other.
Both WB and SFC want to make this thing. Neither WB nor SFC want to be the one
compromising its position financially. The better the end result, the more
easily they can come to an agreement, which I think should not be difficult
once they've seen the final result (which is pretty damn spectactular...we're
talking nearly feature film quality here).
So that's the deal on the actors, and why there isn't an option on their
services for the series at this time.
(all message content (c) 2001 by synthetic worlds, ltd.,
permission to reprint specifically denied to SFX Magazine
and don't send me story ideas)