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  • Crusade: what really happened?

    ok. i'm still fairly new to the b5 thing and all
    what happened really with crusade?

  • #2
    The crew caught baduniformitis and they all died... it was tragic.

    No, um... just got cancelled as far as I know.

    Unless there's some hideous dramatic backstory I'm not privy to?

    Comment


    • #3
      Very very short version:

      TNT gave us Season 5 of Babylon 5 and continued the policy of leaving well enough alone.

      TNT also bought the rerun rights to the other 4 seasons

      TNT also contracted for the spinoff, Crusade.

      (told to JMS long after the fact):
      While Season 5 was running and the first 4 seasons were also running, TNT did a study that showed that the regular TNT audience tuned out when B5 came on and tuned back in after. Conversely, the B5 audience only tuned in for B5, not the rest of TNT's programming.TNT decided they wanted *out* of their contract no matter what.


      Meanwhile, Crusade had begun filming with minimal interferance from TNT. This lasted for the first five episodes.

      Suddenly TNT decided that they wanted a 'bring-everybody-together' episode which had been decided against previously. They also began giving lots of conflicting notes to JMS.

      At some point around this time, a memo was leaked that had a lot of items embarrasing to TNT. (I never saw the actual reports that were posted. Wonder if it's archived anywhere.)

      A decision was made to extend a normal production hiatus to build more sets and it was at this time that the uniform change came about.

      Conflicting notes continued. At some point JMS walked out but was persuaded to come back.

      A meeting was held where JMS flat out refused to try to comply with the egregious items that TNT wanted.

      Production was shut down permanently months before any episodes aired. Efforts were made to take it to the Sci-Fi channel but TNT reportedly held both Crusade and the rerun rights to B5 for 'ransom'.

      JMS told a humorous version at Megacon one year.

      Jan
      Last edited by Jan; 08-17-2007, 03:05 PM.
      "As empathy spreads, civilization spreads. As empathy contracts, civilization contracts...as we're seeing now.

      Comment


      • #4
        Originally posted by Lunan View Post
        ok. i'm still fairly new to the b5 thing and all
        what happened really with crusade?
        B5 Seasons 1 thru 4 ran in syndication. After Season 4, it's "network" (PTEN - Prime Time Entertainment Network) went belly-up, and it appeared that B5 would end with Season 4. At the last minute, TNT came through and financed Season 5. So, beginning with Season 5, B5 ran at the same time on the same station all across the USA. At the end of B5 Season 5, TNT wanted a B5 spinoff series. JMS came up with Crusade.

        During Crusade's production, actually after the fifth episode was shot, TNT got the results of a survey that said that their core audience doesn't like sci-fi. They discovered that when B5 came on, their core audience tuned out, and the B5 audience came in. When B5 was over, and wrestling began, the B5 audience tuned out, and their core audience came back. TNT did not like this. They wanted to build an audience, i.e. their core audience to watch B5 and the B5 audience to watch wrestling. Not going to happen.

        So, TNT ordered a halt to production on Crusade, and the notes began. TNT at first thought they could micro-manage Crusade into the kind of show their core audience might like, Wrestling Meets Texas Whorehouse in Space. When JMS wouldn't go for that, TNT wanted to kill Crusade and use the money for Law & Order reruns.

        See:

        http://www.jmsnews.com/msg.aspx?id=1-1139

        http://www.jmsnews.com/msg.aspx?id=1-17127 (Search for Crusade.)

        The Fairy Tale:

        The following comes from a talk given by JMS at MegaCon '99. (Transcript is copied from the Interstellar News Web Page.) It tells the story of what happened between JMS and TNT in the form of a fairy tale:


        Q: "I'd like to know how many episodes are sold and what plans you have..."
        JMS: "For?"
        Q: "Crusade"
        JMS: "Thank you. It's a very long story. There's stuff I can say, and there's stuff that I can't say. So, I'll tell you what I can say and lie about what I can't say.
        "We shot 13 episodes. And TNT will be airing those on June 9 at 10:00, starting then and going straight through, more or less. And we had... they had said they weren't going to do more beyond that, beyond the 13. We tried at that point to take it to the SciFi Channel, but it was so late in the game.... It takes a lot of money to be able support an entire season of a show. The SciFi Channel had already allocated their funds for the year, so they couldn't pick it up. If the show does well, the first 13, then it will be considered for a season, beginning with the second season, on the SciFi Channel. If the show does well it will go on.
        "As for more what happened... let me tell you a fairy tale. And every fairy tale begins with Once Upon A Time...
        ...There was writer of songs in a kingdom. And he wasn't the best writer of songs on the entire planet. There were others who were as good or better. And he had written 110 really good songs? and four or five long odes. And they said, 'Do some more songs for us.' And he said, 'Sure.' And he began writing more songs. And those were for this little kingdom which was great. As were the ministers, who had always before worked with him.
        "Then the King heard about the new songs that were being commissioned. Not the Emperor. Not the Emperor Theodore and his wife Lady Jane. I ain't talking about them. I'm talking about the lower king of a particular land, all right. I don't want the Emperor getting pissed at me. And he (the King) said, 'Well, I should be involved creatively.' "And thus there came... runners would come with scrolls, which the singer/songwriter would look at and burn.
        "Now this is just a fairy tale. Okay? This is nothing but a fairy tale. This is not about Crusade. Okay? I'm just telling you a story here.
        "And the King became wroth. He waxed Wroth, and Wroth wasn't very happy about it. Old joke, I'm sorry.
        "So they called for a grand meeting at which, along one long table were ministers, and emissaries, and ambassadors, and functionaries and assistants, and programming - uh,... a whole lot of guys. Now on the other side of the table was the writer of songs. And they had plenty of these huge scrolls in front of them. And they began to open the first one.
        "And the writer of songs said, 'no.'
        "And they brought someone in with a book to explain to them what the word 'no' meant, because they had never heard it before. And they said, 'no to what?'
        "I said... The writer of songs said, in this imaginary story, 'no to all of it. No to all of it in all its parts and pieces, from page 1 to page 20. No to all of it.' The writer of songs felt that what they wanted was, in modern terms, for a moment, sort of Baywatch meets wrestling in space. Which was not applicable, exactly, to our fairy tale scenario. (aside: If I ever work again, it'll be a miracle)
        "It became clear that if the King's emissaries were not properly responded to, that they may say, 'you can only write 13 songs.' And the writer of songs said, 'better 13 songs that I can believe in than 22 that I do not.
        "So there were 13 songs, and the writer of songs has moved to a different kingdom knowing that the 13 songs were songs that he wanted to hear. And in the 13th song there was a sub-thread in the song about people who come in with suggestions, which is rather similar to the King's situation. Astonishingly, the King saw the 13th song and didn't realize what it was.
        "And the writer of songs moved to another kingdom and lived happily ever after.
        "And this has nothing to do with Crusade or your question, but I thought I'd tell you that story because it amuses me."
        Well that pretty much sums up the whole TNT situation.
        After TNT decided to cancel Crusade, Warner Bros. looked for a new Network to air the show. JMS informed the fans of the results of their negotiations with the Sci-Fi Channel:
        Posted Feb 26,1999 to rec.arts.sf.tv.babylon5.moderated:
        Bottom line:
        The reason we've been waiting so long for news is that the SciFi Channel has been crunching numbers for weeks, trying to make the deal work with WB, and doing their level best. The programming folks there loved the show (and special thanks has to go to Programming Head Tom Vitale at SFC who worked hardest to make this work).
        The problem is simply this: the money to fund a series is a BIG chunk of change. SFC had already allocated its budget for the year as of January 1st, and there simply wasn't enough left in this year's budget to pull it off. Also, the emphasis now is on spending money on shows where one owns a piece of it, and Crusade is owned entirely by WB.
        At the end of they day, they just couldn't make the dollars work, though they tried their damndest, and are only to be thanked.
        I'm told that if the ratings are good on the 13 which TNT will still air, all the eps made so far will be shown, there may be a second season, but we'll see.
        Meanwhile, I'm taking the day off. There have been seven offers for overall deals and multiple network pilot deals with both networks per se and studios on my desk for about a year now, ever since B5 ended, which I've been putting off to do Crusade. Now I'll pick one of those deals and make it. So the next thing from me you see will almost certainly be on one of the major networks. I'm going back into the deep water again....
        Meanwhile, my thanks to all those who emailed and wrote and called and supported. It's a good show, as will be seen when the shows are aired, and I'd rather lose a show I believed in than keep one I didn't believe in.
        JMS
        I hope this answers your question.
        Mac Breck (KoshN)
        ------------------
        Warner Brothers is Lucy.
        JMS and we fans are collectively Charlie Brown.
        Babylon 5 is the football.

        Comment


        • #5
          Originally posted by Jan View Post
          At some point around this time, a memo was leaked that had a lot of items embarrasing to TNT. (I never saw the actual reports that were posted. Wonder if it's archived anywhere.)
          I'm not certain if the memo I'm thinking about is the memo you're referencing, but there is text of a memo from jms to TNT regarding Crusade that is on the isnnews website in some form (possibly in multiple forms). I used to have a direct link to it, but I don't anymore, so I googled around a bit and came across a forum page that includes text of the memo I'm remembering. The formatting it is in makes it a bit awkward to read, but here it is.

          It's in the third post on this page.

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          • #6
            Originally posted by Jan View Post
            JMS told a humorous version at Megacon one year.

            Jan
            "Baywatch meets wrestling in space"

            Comment


            • #7
              Originally posted by vacantlook View Post
              I'm not certain if the memo I'm thinking about is the memo you're referencing, but there is text of a memo from jms to TNT regarding Crusade that is on the isnnews website in some form (possibly in multiple forms).
              Thanks, Vacantlook. No, the memo I'm thinking of was an internal TNT memo that got leaked and posted to (I believe) Ain't it Cool News. JMS refers to it in this post:

              From: [email protected] (Jms at B5)
              Subject: Re: A word to the wise.
              To: rec.arts.sf.tv.babylon5.moderated
              Date: 9/19/1998 9:09:00 AM
              No Thread


              The TNT memo was apparently real, from within the network to others in the
              network. But the egregious points have gone away.

              Not only that, but they've allocated a huge chunk of change for us to upgrade
              sets and add a bunch of new sets to the series, stuff we'd been planning to do
              later, but can do now instead.


              jms

              From: ([email protected])
              B5 Official Fan Club at:
              http://www.thestation.com
              ETA: Here's a link to some posts that have some info on what was in that memo.


              Jan
              Last edited by Jan; 08-17-2007, 04:31 PM.
              "As empathy spreads, civilization spreads. As empathy contracts, civilization contracts...as we're seeing now.

              Comment


              • #8
                Here's hoping the Lost Tales get to continue Crusade!
                There's an old saying. Do not try the patience of wizards for they are subtle and quick to anger.

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                • #9
                  I think TNT memo is here http://www.jmsnews.com/msg.aspx?id=1-709

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    That's JMS's response to a memo that he got from TNT. The memo that was leaked and caused all the hubbub and the shutdown for new sets/uniforms was an internal memo of TNTs. I don't think the actual text of the memo was ever posted because it was seen by somebody visiting, not leaked by anybody in TNT.

                    Jan
                    "As empathy spreads, civilization spreads. As empathy contracts, civilization contracts...as we're seeing now.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Another Puzzle Piece

                      Long time reader ocasional poster but figured I'd chime in with the resurgance in Crusade threads as of late. Last year Eric Bischoff, an on-air talent for WWF or whatever they want to call themsevles now a days, wrote a book about his time running WCW (the wrestling show that came on Monday nights on TNT).

                      In his book he goes into a great detail about the AOL-Time Warner merger that was begining to take place during the time of B5/Crusade. He recounts numerous meetings with board members and directors of programming of the soon to be mega-corp that they were abosulutley against having ANY sorts of original brodcasting on the Turner Networks (TNT &TBS). He states that his production budgets were being slashed left and right on a continous basis and was told to just 'make it work.' Now while he doesn't mention Crusade/B5by name he does say that he knows that other original productions on the Turner Networks were suffering the same fate as his wrestling show. If AOL-Time Warner was as adament as Eric Bischoff makes them out to be in his book about gutting original programming, especially the one program that drew BIG numbers to their networks, it is definetly not surprising that B5/Crusade got the axe.

                      While yes it's surprising that there can be a wrestling fan and a B5 fan in the same person, but i am a child of the 80s and I grew up taking my vitamins and saying my prayers just like the Hulkster told me to. I just thought that this little bit of info might shed some new light on all those weird note's that TNT was sending out as well it's sudden involvment in franchise they had at one time given 100% freedom.

                      Sorry for any spelling errors or missing words it's pretty late. Just wanted to chime in and say I enjoying reading this board and what a wonderful outlet it is for fans to come together with each other as well as a shows creator.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        While yes it's surprising that there can be a wrestling fan and a B5 fan in the same person
                        Don't worry, both fan groups are majority moronic.
                        Recently, there was a reckoning. It occurred on November 4, 2014 across the United States. Voters, recognizing the failures of the current leadership and fearing their unchecked abuses of power, elected another party as the new majority. This is a first step toward preventing more damage and undoing some of the damage already done. Hopefully, this is as much as will be required.

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                        • #13
                          I think that can be said for most of humanity, LiM. But since you, me and everybody else I've ever met qualify for that description over somedamnthing, it's usually considered polite not to call attention to it.

                          That was interesting info about TNT, KingSteph, thanks. It certainly adds another layer to what we've heard in the past.

                          Jan
                          "As empathy spreads, civilization spreads. As empathy contracts, civilization contracts...as we're seeing now.

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            I think that can be said for most of humanity, LiM. But since you, me and everybody else I've ever met qualify for that description over somedamnthing, it's usually considered polite not to call attention to it.
                            Eh, you just don't get my humor.

                            Also, there is a bit more on the topic from a non-WWE produced book:

                            http://jmsnews.com/forums/showpost.p...4&postcount=29
                            Recently, there was a reckoning. It occurred on November 4, 2014 across the United States. Voters, recognizing the failures of the current leadership and fearing their unchecked abuses of power, elected another party as the new majority. This is a first step toward preventing more damage and undoing some of the damage already done. Hopefully, this is as much as will be required.

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Thanks for the info KingSeph.

                              I'm no fan of wrestling, but if they were wrestling with a similar brand of stupid from TNT, then they have my sympathes. (And yes, I'm sure that is spelled wrong... )
                              Got movies? www.filmbuffonline.com

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