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    From: J. Michael Straczynski <>
 Subject: Sci Fi Channel Poll
      To: CIS  
    Date: 9/16/1999 4:09:00 PM  

Message 1 in thread 

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{original post had no questions}

The only thing wrong with your argument is that it doesn't have
anything to do with why and what TNT did, which stems from incompetence
and testosterone, not logic or business.

Re: the B5 reruns...yes, the ratings dropped, because they would
run 5 in a row, then rerun the same five right afterward, rather than
giving it a good run, so you're showing eps that just aired a few weeks
earlier, and which everyone's seen. And on top of that, you have your
on-air ads announce "all new episodes," when they're those very same
reruns, and you can onlyh pull that crap so many times before people
give up...and on top of THAT they began moving it all over the schedule
to the point where even *I* didn't know when it was on at various

The series had done well enough in the ratings, and had grown,
across four seasons. When did it run into problems? When it hit TNT.
The primary reason that it was initially going to end with S4 was
because PTEN was gone, the WB network didn't want competition in the
marketplace, and the distribution mechanism was effectively gone.
That's why TNT *bought* a fifth season, because it had been doing well.
And it's done extremely well, up to and including S5, everywhere else
on the planet *except* TNT. That kind of points to the reality that
the problem was in how TNT handled it.

As for Crusade...because we wouldn't make it the show TNT wanted
-- Baywatch meets Wrestling in Space -- they wrote it off and did
everything they could to make damned sure it wouldn't succeed, because
if it DID succeed, it would prove that we were right and they were
wrong, and they absolutely would not allow that to happen. And since
they never coughed up much in the way of production money -- leaving
nearly all of that to WB to pick up -- they had nothing to lose in
doing so.

    From: J. Michael Straczynski <>
 Subject: Sci Fi Channel Poll
      To: CIS  
    Date: 9/16/1999 4:09:00 PM  

Message 2 in thread 

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{original post unavailable}

"I read in SFX August 99 the only response I've heard from TNT. They
claimed they were promised, and though they were buying, a high paced
action series, and got something a lot slower. So that's why they
cancelled it."

You've seen the final five (the first five produced, and the
show the way we wanted to make it) YOU think it was a slow
program? That it wasn't high-paced action? If not, then one begins to
wonder at the honesty of the statement.

Though anything in SFX regarding B5 or TNT is going to be
specious at best. When they exceeded the snark-limit, early when
Crusade was still in production, with endless cheap personal shots and
the like, we phantom zoned them, meaning they were cut off from press
kits, photos, and interviews... after which they would take any
possible opportunity to go after me or my shows.

    From: J. Michael Straczynski <>
 Subject: Sci Fi Channel Poll
      To: CIS  
    Date: 9/18/1999 11:33:00 AM  

Message 3 in thread 

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Bob Ingria <> asks:
> What is it with SFX regarding B5/Crusade?
> Was there any specific event that triggered this?

"What is it with SFX regarding B5/Crusade? I've noticed that, aside
from rare lapses into good taste, they seem to adopt a hostile, or at
best, cool tone towards you/the show. Was there any specific event
that triggered this? It was quite noticeable and rather puzzling."

As noted in my prior message, it's specifically because we
phantom zoned them because many of their articles were, quite simply,
unfair and sometimes cheap shots masquerading as objectivity. I don't
mind if somebody does or doesn't like a show or an episode, I got no
beef with that...but some of what was being done by them was wrong, I
felt...and finally, they were cut off from all PR material for Crusade.
At which point they went balls out to attack the show, or myself, at
any given opportunity; it's got nothing to do with journalism and
everything to do with being pissed-off jumped-up fanboys.

By contrast, Dreamwatch has often had both good and bad things
to say about the show, but always one gets a sense that they're being
fair about it, and that their criticisms are well considered and as a
result are often hard to argue with. As opposed to SFX, which takes
cheap ad hominum shots at anyone who even writes in to dare and say
they like B5 or Crusade. You can tell that it's personal with
them...and the moment it becomes personal, you can kiss goodbye even
the pretension to journalistic integrity.

When the situation came out about some B5 cast members not being
paid for their appearances at VorCon, Dreamwatch went out and
independently verified the situation. SFX, because it's close with
some of the people involved with VorCon, did not. This is typical of
their bias. And that bias and that open negativity is, I think, why
their circulation is reportedly shrinking while the circulation of some
of the other magazines, notably Dreamwatch, is increasing, especially
here in the States.

    From: J. Michael Straczynski <>
 Subject: Sci Fi Channel Poll
      To: CIS  
    Date: 9/21/1999 8:41:00 AM  

Message 4 in thread 

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{original post had no questions}

"Which brings us to the "Short Attention Span Theater" syndrome. Most
of the complaints I saw were from people who were expecting something
else and were unwilling to wait and see what developed. This is often
the norm for TV viewers and explains why we get a lot of the cr@p we

This is, unfortunately, all too often all too true.


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