The J. Michael Straczynski Message Archive


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    From: J. Michael Straczynski <>
 Subject: CC Situation
      To: CIS  
    Date: 9/24/1997 6:44:00 AM  

Message 1 in thread 

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(blocked) asks:
> She claims there was no offer for 18 episodes made to her --
> maybe her agent didn't pass such an offer along? Jeff Sigh Corps -
> Pat Tallman Division Great Maker huh?

"She claims there was no offer for 18 episodes made to her."

That's correct, and not correct. What was relayed to her was
that if she wanted to be in just 18, and wanted to be paid for just
those 18, then that was fine...her people insisted that she be paid for
the rest of the episodes, constituting a per-episode pay increase,
which couldn't be done without violating the contracts of all the other

    From: J. Michael Straczynski <>
 Subject: CC Situation
      To: CIS  
    Date: 9/26/1997 4:24:00 PM  

Message 2 in thread 

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{original post had no questions}

She was definitely not booted.

There was absolutely no reason for ANYone to boot her. No one
has yet provided one plausible reason why anyone at this side would
want her gone. I certainly didn't want the character to go away, WB
didn't want the character to go away...she left when we couldn't give
her what she wanted.

    From: J. Michael Straczynski <>
 Subject: CC Situation
      To: CIS  
    Date: 9/26/1997 4:50:00 PM  

Message 3 in thread 

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(blocked) asks:
> Jeff Sigh Corps - Pat Tallman Division Great Maker huh?

"Sounds just like I figured it was.... her agent(s) screwed her by not
passing the offer along to Claudia. <sigh>"

Nope again. I was there, in Blackpool, with her and the other
cast members, and I sat across from her in the hotel pub at midnight
and told her that unless we got a yes or no by the next day, after all
that had gone in during the preceding days, the offer put out to her by
WB would be withdrawn.

She had all the information.

    From: J. Michael Straczynski <>
 Subject: CC Situation
      To: CIS  
    Date: 9/29/1997 4:37:00 AM  

Message 4 in thread 

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{original post had no questions}

Yeah, there are reasons someone can fall into disfavor, but
this was not the case with Claudia...if it were, everyone here, myself
included, would not have been so upset by her leaving, or tried to hard
to persuade her to stay.

    From: J. Michael Straczynski <>
 Subject: CC Situation
      To: CIS  
    Date: 9/30/1997 4:32:00 AM  

Message 5 in thread 

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{original post had no questions}

I guess it's fair to say you don't know which to buy...I'd just
note that in 5 years of being online and talking about the show, good,
bad and thousands of postings over five long years...I
have never yet been caught out in a contradiction or a fabrication.

    From: J. Michael Straczynski <>
 Subject: CC Situation
      To: CIS  
    Date: 10/1/1997 5:37:00 AM  

Message 6 in thread 

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{original post had no questions}

"We have an alleged meeting which she says she was booted and you say
never happened."

John...let me try this again.

The weekend this supposed meeting took place Claudia was in
Blackpool, in the UK, in front of 3,500 fans who can verify she was
there, and not in the US, let alone at a meeting with WB. It's not "me
vs. her" on this... there are 3,500 people who saw her that weekend,
8,000 miles from the WB offices.

This has nothing to do with who do you listen to, it's just
looking at the logistics and the realities that have nothing to do with
any personalities whatsoever.

Unless she is capable of transubstantiation and nobody told me,
there WAS no meeting.

    From: J. Michael Straczynski <>
 Subject: CC Situation
      To: CIS  
    Date: 10/1/1997 8:43:00 PM  

Message 7 in thread 

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{original post unavailable}

"...her stated view is that she was told it was 22 eps. or nothing by
the Turner people. No possible time off."

Again, this is only a partial statement. She was told that if
she wanted to be *paid* for 22 episodes, then the contract would have
to stipulate that she was hired for 22 episodes. The probelm was that
she wanted to have the contract read that she was being paid for 22
episodes, but appearing in 18, which constitutes a per-episode pay
increase, which would invalidate our contracts with all the other cast
members, who are on a favored-nation basis. Had her people said, "Just
pay us for 18 episodes and we'll just do 18 episodes," there would
never have been a problem. We did the same thing for Stephen Furst.

"Yes, when she didn't /couldn't agree to that, she was "booted"."

One clarification. You cannot fire someone who does not work
for you. That is the one part of this conversation everybody keeps
forgetting. As of June 15th, when Claudia did not give the extension,
her contract expired and she no longer worked for B5, or WB; neither
had any call or hold on her. What had to happen then was for WB to put
an offer on the table for her services. This was done. A deadline was
finally put on for a Friday, because of the pressures of production.
She did not accept the offer, and by that Friday, the offer was

    From: J. Michael Straczynski <>
 Subject: CC Situation
      To: CIS  
    Date: 10/4/1997 6:26:00 PM  

Message 8 in thread 

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Hero Games (Sue) <> asks:
> I've never known her to lie, have you?

"She also says she was never told she could do 18 shows at 18 episodes
of pay. (whether it was her agent that didn't tell her or someone else,
I don't know)"

Actually, if you read her statement, she does NOT say that. She
says only that she was told that the contract would read she would have
to do 22 (if she were being paid for 22). The 18-payment issue was
never addressed by her in any of her messages one way or another.
You're reading something in that was never actually stated.

Meanwhile...let me put this to you concisely. Her manager was
told about the 18/22 situation in no uncertain terms by John Copeland.
Now, I have an agent, same as Claudia has an agent. When I'm in
negotiations with someone, as we're currently in negotiations with WB
for the sequel series, the agent takes detailed notes and relays
everything back to the client on terms and conditions. Everything. An
agent doesn't just say, "Oh, I think I'll tell my client about A, B and
C but not D, because s/he doesn't need to know that." It simply
doesn't happen. And at no time has Claudia EVER said, "My agent didn't
tell me this." She's simply never mentioned this aspect in any of her

"I've never known her to lie, have you?"

Not to say otherwise, long have you known her that you
can say this? Have you known her...or have you known the character?
I'm not saying she did here...because an omission is not a lie...I just
find it a curious thing for you to say.

    From: J. Michael Straczynski <>
 Subject: CC Situation
      To: CIS  
    Date: 10/4/1997 6:26:00 PM  

Message 9 in thread 

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Hero Games (Sue) <> asks:
> So she was psyched for season five at a con, then something
> happened a month later that is ambiguous at best and this means
> she was lying about being psyched for seaons 5?

"That's just it, Carl. They're your *conclusions*. Unless I have
evidence to the contrary, I'll take someone's stated facts over what
happened to them over the conclusions of someone who's using second
hand knowledge any day."

A statement is not a fact. If that were true, then my statement
would be a *fact*, and someone else's would be a *fact*. And in that
case, nothing is true anymore.

Let me put this to you for a change, Sue: you keep saying you
want "evidence." Just to be brusque for a second...what the hell do
you mean by "evidence?" What would qualify to you as "evidence?" Be
specific. Be as concrete as you're asking others to be.

The cast, Bruce and Jeff and Stehen and others, have supported
everything I've said here, right down the line. Okay, that's not
enough for you. What is?

You keep asking for "evidence," so you must have some concrete
notion as to what constitutes evidence. Because short of producing
audio tapes of phone conversations (none exist), there IS no such
evidence, and you're asking for things that either do not exist, or
would violate confidenatiality (i.e., notes between Claudia and her

You keep demanding evidence, Sue. Okay, now I'm asking you: if
my statements, and the statements of those who were in the UK when all
this happened, are not enough...statements from credible witnesses,
myself included, that would stand up as testimony in court but are
apparently not enough for you...then what, realistically, is evidence
that could reasonsably be obtained?

Because I think you're deliberately asking for things that don't
exist, so you can continue to split hairs and make everybody else's
opinion *just* an opinion, while you state *facts*, at least in your

    From: J. Michael Straczynski <>
 Subject: CC Situation
      To: CIS  
    Date: 10/5/1997 8:59:00 AM  

Message 10 in thread 

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Hero Games (Sue) <> asks:
> Me> "I've never known her to lie, have you?"
> You> Not to say otherwise, long have you known her that
> You> you can say this? Have you known her...or have you known the
> You> character? Did Claudia want to do season five?
> You> Why should I believe she doesn't?
> You> Is there some reason that a new contract couldn't be drawn
> You> up for a few episodes such as has been done with Tracy Scoggins?

I note in the beinning that nowhere in your note did you cite
what you would consider "evidence." So please refrain from doing so in
future, since apparently you can't define it.

"If someone were to tell me that *you* were lying in this situation, I
would be just as offended and just as strong in defending you."

Sue, by taking the position you have taken in this, you are de
facto calling me a liar. I have said clearly that the situation was X.
You have said, repeatedly, that the situation could be Y. If it's Y
then I'm a liar. You may think this is just an academic exercise in
intellectual fairness; you are, however, calling my honesty into

"I don't know any of the people involved, and therefore I'm not going
to draw any negative conclusions about anyone unless there is a first
hand account."

Yes, you *do* know at least one of the people involved, you know
*me*, and I *do* have a first hand account. There ain't much in the
show that is MORE first hand than me. You don't seem to grasp here
that I *run* Babylon 5. No offers are made to agents or actors that I
don't know about.

"If you were to say "I told Claudia she could do 18 episodes for 18
pay" then I would see a direct conflict."

Then there's a direct conflict because that is EXACTLY what she
was told.

"Claudia says she was never offered 18 episodes at 18 episodes of

No, she doesn't say that. Look back at what you posted again.
I quote you quoting her.

"I was never offered 18 episodes at a different price."

Not the same price. A DIFFERENT PRICE PER EPISODE. That's what
I've been trying to get you to understand for months now. There was a
desire on their part to get her a pay raise per episode, which would
violate our contracts with the other actors. She wanted to do 18
episodes for the 22 price. That only confirms what I have been saying
here from day one.

"You keep saying that *I* don't think your statements are enough.
I've never contradicted or disbelieved your statements."

Yes you have, by implication. Maybe you don't see it that way,
but I and others here do.

"1. Was Claudia told that she could do 18 episodes for 18 episodes of
pay. If you say "yes, I told her" or "I was there when she was told" or
"My good friend Bob who I know and trust told her" then fine, I would
be prone to take your word for it."


"However, so far as I can tell, there has been no statement from
anyone who can say that she was informed."

Sue, I sat across from her in a pub in the UK. I talked to her
at length. This was referenced in the conversation by me. She was
aware of it.

"2. Did Claudia want to do season five? She stated before, during
and after that she wants to do B-5. Why should I believe she doesn't?"

I think -- and this is speculation -- she wanted to do S5, but
she wanted a pay raise, something confirmed by her comments in the TV
Guide Online magazine. Go read it, she wanted an increase that none of
the other cast members were getting. (And as part of that interview,
she says that all the other male actors were paid more than her, which
is, by the way, an absolute and outright fabrication.)

"Is there some reason that a new contract couldn't be drawn up for a
few episodes such as has been done with Tracy Scoggins?"

If she wouldn't go for 18 episodes at 18 episodes pay, why
should she go for 8 episodes at 8 episodes pay? At the point we're
talking about, we got every indication that she did not want to return
to the show, period. There were no phone calls from her or her people
saying so, nothing, absolute silence. Now, you'll pardon me for being
realistic, but I've got a show to run, and that means we have to have
scripts ready 4-5 weeks prior to shooting, and the first one was due
the day we GOT this information.

What was I supposed to do? Say, "Oh, no, wait around for a few
months, until right before filming, so we'll have plenty of time for
her to come back to us. We won't have any scripts, of course...." No.
I needed that gap in the command structure filled from the very first
episode. So now what do I do? Bring in a character for 2 episodes,
then turn the show upside down AGAIN and get rid of Tracy? Because we
don't make this show for a hell of a lot of money; every dime goes to
the show. If we brought back Ivanova for 8, we'd have to fire Tracy.'s real simple, Sue. Whatever was in her head at the
time, the reality is that she walked off the show. She made a
deliberate, conscious decision to go. My obligation is to the 10 other
members of our cast, the 200 people in our crew, and the 5 million
viewers to move on and make the best show I can. There were no
misunderstandings here. It was a business decision on her part.

Now can we please, finally, drop this, so I can put in the time
I'm spending arguing here back into making the show? Or do you still
want to doubt the veracity of me, my crew, John Copeland, and others
just so you can give Claudia the benefit of the doubt?

    From: J. Michael Straczynski <>
 Subject: CC Situation
      To: CIS  
    Date: 10/5/1997 4:37:00 PM  

Message 11 in thread 

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{original post had no questions}

"Change happens. Sometimes it's good, sometimes not. We (the fans)
still don't know how this change will affect the show."

Lemme tell you a true thing.

And I'll bank my rep on this one.

The Lochley character has added so much to season 5, I can't
even begin to describe it. Everyone who's seen her, has responded very
well, and likes the character enormously. Where Ivanova's character
was sometimes a hammer to the head, Lochley is a stiletto blade between
the eyes.

    From: J. Michael Straczynski <>
 Subject: CC Situation
      To: CIS  
    Date: 10/6/1997 5:07:00 PM  

Message 12 in thread 

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Scott Miller <> asks:
> issue of Dreamwatch?
> Do you *really* expect us to believe that you don't just throw
> scripts together the day before shooting like the DS9 production
> staff apparently does?

Actually, this is the one area (since you brought it up) where
we tend to shine. Our scripts are finalized usually 4 in advance of
shooting, so the director has about a month to plan out his or her
episode. We've found this makes all the difference in the world on
budget, and the whole look of the show. The only changes that
generally get made are in set locations, to make things easier for the
art department. But beyond that, there aren't massive changes (often
any changes) to dialogue, story, character, any of that; we rarely get
past 2 drafts, and again, those are mainly for production reasons.

We've kind of fallen a bit behind this season, due to my back
and other problems, but we're catching up again.

    From: J. Michael Straczynski <>
 Subject: CC Situation
      To: CIS  
    Date: 10/7/1997 4:33:00 AM  

Message 13 in thread 

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{original post unavailable}

Well, Corwin is technically Lochley's XO, but she's definitely
involved in the day-to-day stuff. You'll understand when you see it.

    From: J. Michael Straczynski <>
 Subject: CC Situation
      To: CIS  
    Date: 10/7/1997 8:33:00 PM  

Message 14 in thread 

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{original post had no questions}

I will confess that there are momets when I'll be looking at an
outside script with multiple names on it, and think, "It took TWO of
you to write this?"

I think the reliance on big writing staffs is an error. It
leads to the frequent creation of little "pocket universes" where each
staffer has kind of his vision or version of the show, and because it's
political at that level, nobody wants to step on anybody else's
toes...and you get a very uneven show, where everyone's also pulling at
everybody else's script, and delays result.

The best shows of the past tended to have one writer/producer or
one story editor at the core of it, not big writing teams.


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