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About Claudia Christian's Departure

The following are comments from JMS and Claudia Christian about her departure. As new comments become available, they'll be added to the bottom of this page.

Note: Please don't send comments on her departure to the Lurker's Guide. We don't work for the show and have no influence whatsoever over the situation. See JMS' July 20 messages before you contemplate writing letters to try to reverse the decision.

Comments from JMS, July 19 1997
There have been some questions raised as to what has happened regarding Claudia Christian and Season 4. In simplest possible terms, which can be verified through every cast member, and in the press, what happened was this:

In early June, WB asked for, and received, one-month exensions on their contract options from all cast members except Claudia, for the purposes of allowing WB time to work out the co-financing deal with TNT for year 5 of B5. There was a great deal of red tape left over from the PTEN deal to finish unraveling, and other business aspects, to work out in going from syndication to cable, and it was taking longer than expected.

Claudia said, repeatedly, that she was on board for the fifth season, but that she didn't want to give the extension for business reasons of her own. We took her at her word and allowed her to not give the extension. Assurances were made to us, and to her fellow cast members.

While we were all together (cast, some crew, and I) in Blackpool for Wolf 359, word reached us of the articles in Variety and Reuters reporting that Claudia would not be returning to B5, and was looking for other work. This was the very first indication we had that she would not be in season 5. TNT was upset by this, WB was upset by this, and we were called on the carpet asking why we had trusted her about the fifth year. When spoken to in Blackpool, she was still, at that point, saying that she was going to be in season 5...but did nothing to address the situation with WB. She was told that WB had to know, for sure, if she was in or out by last Friday. All she had to do to be in season 5 was to pick up the phone, or have her agent do so, and call WB and say, "I'm in."

This did not happen. Friday came, and went. It was clear that she had no intention of being in season 5, and wanted instead to pursue movies. She is more well known now after B5, after all.

Cast members prevailed upon her to change her mind over the weekend. Bruce, Jeff Conaway, others took it upon themselves to try and talk her back onto the show, tried to get her to call on Monday in case she might be able to repair the bridges burned the prior week. On Monday, she left the convention early, and never called WB, never called Doug, never called anyone.

Bottom line is...she passed on season 5. She chose not to be there. I know that she has now told some people that WB doesn't want her...but if that is the case, why the articles planted in Variety and Reuters saying that the B5 producers were "bummed" that she wasn't available, that she had chosen not to return to the show? (Again, at the time the articles appeared, this intent had not even been conveyed to us or to WB; we had to learn about it by reading it in the trades, in articles no one had even discussed with us.) Why did she not give the extension, as was also reported? Why was it announced in the press (in articles reprinted right here on the nets) that she wasn't coming back and was looking for other work long before we even knew anything about it?

The offer was on the table. We extended it to the very limit. All the other actors signed on, and urged her to do the same. She chose not to. It was never a matter of anyone not wanting her. I personally urged her Thursday night to call her agent and talk this out and make her intentions clear if she wanted to come back to the show. She declined. Every cast member who was there in Blackpool saw what went down, and can verify this.

And that, as they say, is the long and the short of it. While I will not recast the role, on the theory that she may come around someday and decide she wants to be in one of the TNT features or one of the movies, we will be bringing in a new character to fill that position in the B5 command structure. Fortunately, 421, already filmed, is structured to allow us to adjust for this without missing a beat, and the story will continue as planned with only a minor variation in the first two episodes to introduce the new character.

Response from Claudia Christian, July 20 1997
Dear Folks,

Here's my side of the story and I should know because I was there.

On June 20th, I was called into the B-5 office to find out the fate of the 5th season. With three other cast members present we were told that we could make the fifth season (yeah!). We were then asked to give up the residuals for that season (those are the things that pay the rent since syndication isn't exactly lucrative). Well, nonetheless I said okay-I even volunteered to talk the rest of the cast into it. I had expressed my hesitation in extending my contract renewal because I wanted to get their assurance that in the 5th season I could get at least 4 episodes off to do a film. That was the only thing I was asking for. No raise--accepting a paycut-- simply less episodes, period. Ask yourself this: why would I have done the TNT promos for the 5th season if I did not want to be involved?

While I was in Europe (I was there for almost a month), I heard about the gossip column in Variety. It is a gossip column, nothing more. I have no idea who planted the gossip and frankly, I didn't think much of it since Hollywood is based on gossip. Because the producers and Joe were in Europe, I assumed negotiations for the 5th season would continue when we all returned. I was told quite curtly that my request for time off had been denied and that Ken Parks from Warner Bros. had told my agent to tell me to "Find another job, we'll replace her." After four years of working for a substantial paycut because I loved the show and the people involved, and felt that I was portraying a character that people really cared about, this hurt me immensely. At that point, I was in shock but I still went to Blackpool thinking that they would come around and give me the time I needed off. I knew Ivanova was in the first episodes. I figured we could sit down with my agent and come to a deal. In Blackpool, I was told by JMS that he would give me the episodes off but I could not get anything in writing. I trust him, however I know that he was not writing all of the episodes for the fifth season so I really felt that I had to have something in writing. I turns out my fears were justified because when my agent spoke to John Copeland (producer) and mentioned Joe's offer to write me out of a few episodes, Mr. Copeland responded by saying "That's not possible. If TNT wants her in every episode then she has to do all 22. That's the deal, take it or leave it."

At this point, I was told that I had until Monday to call Warner Bros. to tell them I was on board. Well Folks, an actor does not call a studio. Our union has rules. The producers of B-5 never called my manager or agent to tell them of this deadline. Instead, I was told by Jeff Conaway. I called my agent and left word. We missed each other. On Monday, I found out that on the previous Friday my agent had received a fax stating that the offer for me to be in B-5 was withdrawn. In essence, I was fired. This fax was received on Friday, so what kind of game was being played by giving me false hopes throughout the weekend in England? And by the way, on Tuesday of that week, I was in London promoting the show and doing magazine interviews and TV talk shows for them on my own time. Why would I do that if I did not believe something could be worked out.

If they really wanted me back, they would have accepted my plea through my agent to sit down and have a meeting. He was told by John Copeland that he was "a dollar short and a day late." They simply did not even want to sit down with me!

Once again, I would do season 5...if I had less episodes. I am hurt and disappointed that I have not even received the opportunity to discuss my needs. I was dismissed coldly and simply. I want you to know that I have given my heart to the show and I love Ivanova as much as any of you. I did not "leave" the show. I did not ask for more money. I did not create this mess. Perhaps this is a great lack of communication. I would like to think that. Thank you all for your love and support. I would never abandon you.

Claudia Christian

Response from JMS, July 20 1997
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.

More from JMS, July 20 1997 (in response to discussions on CompuServe)
1) This confirms what I said in my note to Brian, that I personally assured Claudia of the chance for time off (so Kevin, bugger off).

2) Neither I nor anyone else in B5 told her that she had until Monday. I sat with her Midnight Thursday and said she had to talk to her agent and get this to WB *the very next day*, Friday, or that was it. Jeff took it upon himself to try and talk Claudia into trying to work it out on Monday, out of his concern and a hope that this could be saved.

3) Her agent was notified several days prior to the deadline that it was in place by WB business affairs.

4) As noted in my other message, there wasn't time to sit down leisurely after Blackpool and discuss this. The first script had to be in on July 6th. The second on July 12th. The third one on July 18th. Those are the hard and fast deadlines in order to meet production requirements for season 5. It is not July 20th. By the time anyone could "sit down" we'd be deep into episode 5 or 6, and then what do we do? Rewrite all 5 or 6 at the last minute?

It's an unfortunate situation. Nobody's denying that. But what happened, happened.

From JMS, July 22 1997
"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.

From JMS, July 22 1997
The information on residuals is not correct. NO ONE was asked 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.

From JMS, July 22 1997
Let me put this to you straight-out, because I've now gotten about 75 more emails tonight, not a few of them threatening. Some people have told me that I had better look over my shoulder the next time I come to a convention. I have been called every name in the book. Right now I am about 2 inches away from yanking the modem out of the wall and leaving it out.

Let's get this straight, shall we?

1) We asked Claudia back. We wanted Claudia back.

2) Claudia passed.

3) The time during which she could have come back has expired. The deadline was not put on arbitrarily. We roll film on August 18, just a few weeks from now. We *had* to know by the date given whether or not she would be in so that scripts could be written. There was no longer any time.

4) The boat, as they say, has left the pier. You can't whipsaw scripts back and forth and do it all at the last minute.

5) It is *too late* for anything to change this for season 5. Whether 1 letter or 1 million letters come in, it's too late. It's *done*. She passed, and we've had no choice but to move on. The only thing that will be accomplished by more emails -- threatening or otherwise -- is to piss off me and WB, not necessarily in that order. Harrassment usually pushes people in the opposite direction than that intended, and this will be no exception.

This was not a miscommunication. This was not a mistake. There is no time, and no opportunity, for further negotiations. There is no middle ground, there are not three sides or four or seven. Anybody who doesn't want to take my word for this scenario can ask any of the actors. Ask Bruce. Ask Jeff. Ask anyone who was there. (Except Jerry, who came in Monday and missed the fireworks.)

She passed. Not us. The problem is not at this end of the modem line, and the accusastions, threats, abuse and intimidations are unmerited and undeserved.

I have been straight with the net community now for going on five years. At San Diego Comic Con, I asked Shane Shellenbarger, a fan and sometimes journalist who has taped my every convention appearance for the last 5 years if he had *ever* caught me in a lie or a contradiction or a misrepresentation. He coulnd't find even one. I've told you the truth in this. If five years of telling the truth isn't good enough, then nothing I've done has meant a damn, and I shouldn't be here.

I have to write this show and get it off the ground. I can do that, or I can deal with harrassing email. I can't do both. Especially when I did nothing to deserve it except do everything in my power to keep Claudia from passing on the show.

From JMS, July 22 1997
"In the back of my mind, I wonder why Claudia, her agent, Joe, and the WB/TNT folks couldn't sit down together (or conference call, or whatever) and talk with each other on that final day."

I did. That Thursday night, I sat with her for half an hour, urging her to call her agent, and have her agent call WB. Didn't happen. We never even heard anything from her or her people until literally 1 week after the deadline for scripts to start coming in.

From JMS, July 22 1997
Will Captain MacDougal be replacing Ivanova?
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.

From JMS, July 22 1997
Actually, this would be much simpler if it *were* a communication breakdown. But it ain't.


From JMS, July 22 1997
Yeah...ask any cast member, and they'll tell you that when I make a promise, it's kept, no matter what it takes.

On the reaction...it goes with the territory. What's been difficult have been the emails that have come in suggesting that I "watch my back" at the next few conventions I attend. Disagreement or discussion is one thing; threats are another.

From JMS, July 22 1997
There was no pay cut for the fifth season for the cast. And the residulas formula is standard for basic cable.

From JMS, July 22 1997
"Joe could write sa character out of an episode or 4, yet the suits could insist that the actor be present on the set anyway (or be in breach of contract)!"

Nope. Wouldn't happen. Has never happened. Would never happen. WB has not even given us a creative *note* in almost 2 years.

This one's a non-starter. That would simply not happen. If you're not in the script, there's no need for you to be there.

From JMS, July 24 1997
"If that's the case, then why wouldn't/couldn't he put it into writing? So far as I can tell, that's because although he can do everything in his power to keep Ivanova out of four episodes, there are higher powers within WB/TNT who could say otherwise. They're the ones who hold CCs contract, not JMS."

Every studio holds the contract on its actors; that's the same for every show.

Nothing could be put into writing in the form of a renegotiation because all of the actors are on a favored nation basis...if one renegotiates in his/her favor, they all get to renegotiate. Any of our cast can take fewer episodes if they agree to be paid for fewer episodes since that favors WB. Or they can come to me and we'll do it unofficially, as has been done with every single cast member for 4+ years now. Peter wanted to do "The Late Shift," I wrote him out for a couple of episodes to accommodate that; Andreas wants to do a movie, he asks, and I write him out. This has never, ever been a problem.

From JMS, July 24 1997
"Again, I'm not saying that JMS did anything wrong, but if the studio can supercede Joe (i.e. Joe can verbally say 'I'll do it', but the studio still has the right to say 'no'), then I can't blame CC for wanting something in writing <shrug>"

Any studio can supercede the authority of an executive producer.

The question, though, is one of logic.

If Character X is not in an episode, is not written in an episode, there is no grounds on earth for a studio to force the actor to hang around the studio for that episode. Never been done to my knowledge on ANY show, anywhere, at any time. Nor would there be any reason to do so here.

And WB doesn't write the scripts. I do. And they don't bother us on that one. We haven't had a creative note since year 2, episode 2, and that was mainly on a scene they wanted clarified.

In the past, with every actor on the show, I have said, "Come to me, and we'll work out unofficially time for you to get away." There are some occasions when I say, "Look, I *need* your character for this episode, I can't do "Severed Dreams" without Sheridan," but that doesn't happen too often. We have never had a problem with WB over this. And never once have I given my word to an actor about being available, and not had it work out.

From JMS, July 24 1997
"In her message, CC has quoted Copeland as saying that if TNT/WB want her to do the 22 episodes, there's nothing that can be done about it."

What John said was that if she wanted to be paid the full amount (the 22 episode fee) she had to be in all 22.

"However, there still seems to be a question as to whether or not she was informed of the correct deadlines or if WB/TNT withdrew whatever offer was on the table before that deadline arose."

She was. They didn't.

On the Thursday before the final Friday deadline, I sat in the bar of the DeVere Hotel in Blackpool with Claudia and said, "Claudia, the press has announced your departure from the show. WB takes it seriously, and I have to start writing *yesterday*. We have to know if you're in or out, and we have to know by mid-day (noon) tomorrow. If we don't get an indication from your agent that you're in, the offer will be withdrawn."

The offer was withdrawn at mid-day Friday, as indicated. Because to wait any longer would damage the show, and our chances of getting going without missing airdates.

From JMS, July 24 1997
"CC trusts that JMS will do what he can, but feels that things might be out of his hands and puts the question to Copeland who tells her (via her agent) that what JMS offered is "Not possible."

It is not possible only if one wishes to be paid for all 22.

"5. A deadline is set for CC to get in touch with WB to confirm S5. According to CC, she was told this by Conaway and not informed via normal channels (i.e. via agent, manager, WB). She tries to contact her agent regarding this but they miss each other over the weekend."

Ken Parks of WB Business Affairs informed her agent. I personally informed her as well.

"JMS says she had a Friday deadline. CC says she was told Monday by Conaway and that neither her agent or manager were informed of this deadline."

After the Friday deadline passed, Jeff took it upon himself to try and convince her to go back to the show. He went to her and said that if she or her agent contacted WB on Monday, there might be a chance to patch things up. That was the full extent of it. Jeff does not represent the show, and was not asked to convey this to Claudia, and was acting on his own good will to try and help her out. It had nothing to do with deadlines.

From JMS, July 24 1997
Nothing was said about any of this online until Claudia began talking about it at a convention Toronto and indicating that she had been fired, which was not the case.

She passed.

From JMS, July 24 1997
We'll probably start casting in the next 7 days.

From JMS, July 24 1997
"With the exception of 501 (airing in the 422 slot), you should have about 2 extra months to get the episodes in the can. They won't, after all, air until January, when they previously aired in November. Why then, was the deadline for Claudia to make up her mind left so short?"

Because you can't just come in and shoot one episode, then tell everyone, "Okay, we're taking a break for two months." The moment you begin shooting, the clock is ticking. SAG regulates the span of time you have the actors, equipment is rented...on and on. We had to come back in time to shoot 501/422, and it's going to be close as it is. It takes 52 days of post to finish an episode once it's filmed, so with 501/422 shooting August 18th, just do the math to see how close this is going to be.

And once we pull the trigger on 501, we have to go immediately into 502. And on and on.

Even if this were not an issue with the 422 business, we would *still* have to start shooting in August because of the schedule of holidays, and TNT's desire to run S5 *straight through* without reruns or breaks. That means you have to start early and be finished with a lot of shows, and vault them, to be able to then run through them all sequentially in 22 weeks.

From JMS, July 24 1997
"Even if Claudia had no doubt that Joe could steer her around any trouble with the suits, the verbal agreement wouldn't carry any weight in the outside world."


Y'know, up until this very moment, the whole 4-eps-in-writing thing hadn't made sense to me, I couldn't get my brain around it.

I don't know if that's it, but it's a helluvan interesting thought.

From JMS, July 24 1997
Regarding the new character
It'll be an interesting addition to the mix, given what happens in the latter part of the season.

And no, she won't be "dead and gone forever." There's the third TNT movie, and a possible feature film, and if she wants to approach us about those projects, we'll be more than happy to have the discussion. That's precisely why I'm not recasting the role.

From JMS, July 25 1997
Claudia's statement that the actors were asked to give up their residuals now makes sense ... to me, anyway, and I'm writing to ask where or if I'm wrong in this deduction ... in that the actors *were* asked to give up residuals that might be able to cover their rent for a month in exchange for residuals that might be able to cover lunch. Her statement about "giving up residuals" could be taken as a bit of exaggeration, as, by the previous scale, the basic cable residuals *are* pretty much nonexistent on a making-a-living basis."

Prior to getting the S5 renewal, we called in as many actors as were present and explained that shows made for basic cable are, according to the Screen Actors Guild Basic Agreement, different in many ways from syndication, as syndication is different than network, in terms of residuals.

In network, the fees generally start higher, and the residuals start at a higher percentage of that fee as well . In syndication, the fees are smaller, and the residuals start at a lower percentage. (For writers, for instance, I think the going fee for a network script is about $26-30,000 and the first rerun gets a high percentage of that back to the writer; in syndication, the script fee is about $15-16,000 and the first rerun starts at an even lower percentage of that fee.)

For basic cable, things get more complicated. The fees paid stay the same as syndication, so across the board actors' fees, directors and writers don't get touched. But the various Guilds gave basic cable a break in terms of encouraging original production, and in rerunning network/syndication fare. For instance, there's one formula for something made for network/syndication and later run on cable, and another for something made *specifically* for basic cable.

And it's the latter that we had to explain to the actors, because under SAG regs, again as part of the various guilds' decision to give cable a break to get it up and viable (so that it can later be brought up to par with syndication), the formula is that the amount paid to an actor above double-scale is credited against residuals. Once that is burned through, residuals accrue to the actor again.

That was the ONLY item mentioned in terms of residuals. Bear in mind in ALL this that we *cannot* make ANY deal that contravenes what is established by the various guilds, so asking any actor to give up residuals forever, as some have suggested, cannot be done by us or ANYone because we are Guild signatories.

From JMS, July 28 1997
No...let me stress this again: there was never any meeting here.

The meeting you *might* be thinking of was the one where we brought in the actors to explain to them the differences in syndication vs. cable residuals formula. That took place some weeks before.

If it helps, let me break down the dates for you a bit:

July 9th: the Variety and Reuters pieces appear saying Claudia's has left the show. WB wants to know where Claudia stands, and we need to know because at this point I've finished writing the new 422, and am about to start on 502 (actually the first S5 episode). I hear about this when Claudia, I and the rest of the cast are in the UK at Blackpool. The WB need for urgent clarification is conveyed to Claudia's agent.

July 10th: I reinforce to Claudia, at the pub in the DeVere hotel, that unless she confirms through her agent by noon Friday, the 11th, that she wants to be on the show, the offer will be withdrawn, that she will have, to all intents and purposes, passed on the offer.

July 11th: there was no "final comment," no meeting...again, we are still in the UK. For there to be a final comment, she or her agent would have had to actually *speak* to someone. But no call came from either Claudia or her agent. There was NO response at all. Thus, the offer was finally and reluctantly withdrawn because we were simply out of time, and having been told that silence = a pass on the offer, there was no longer any reason to maintain the offer. She passed.

July 12th: Jeff goes to Claudia and on his own, tries to convince her to try and work this out on Monday, that if her agent makes contact first thing, maybe this can be worked out. This is not a position that I told him to advance to her, he did this entirely on his own, hoping that she could still come back from her decision. Bruce and other cast members also try to talk to her about this, concerned about her decision.

July 14th (Monday): Claudia leaves the convention mid-day, announcing that she is going to go to a photo shoot.

The weekend of July 19th-20th: I'm at ComicCon in San Diego, where I learn that Claudia, at another convention, has announced that she was fired from B5. And that, to paraphrase, is where the blitz hit the fans.

I know you keep trying to find some way that maybe I wasn't there, perhaps to save me from the situation...but I was there for every bit of it; having the room 4 doors down from Claudia at the time, I couldn't be *more* in the thick of it unless I slept on the floor of her room.

From Claudia Christian, August 13, 1997
Dear Sweet Wonderful Guys and Gals, Ladies, Gentlemen - poets all of you:

I am sitting in my trailer on the film set of "Guardian" (not the film that conflicted with B-5, I have been lucky enough to star in 2 films - "Guardian" and "Thick and Thin" with Robert Townsend, in the last month). Anyway - I'm in here perusing the copious , kind, funny and downright incredible e- mails I have received from you. I actually started to cry a few minutes ago as I read a particularly touching message from a woman in Toronto. You are eloquent and I am so happy to have been able to entertain you in whatever way I have. Out of the hundreds of e-mails I have received from all over the world I have only had one negative one and that was from a fellow who hated my CD! I am amazed at your loyalty and your generosity of spirit. As I was depressed after being disinvited to the annual B-5 party - yes I am no longer welcome anywhere near B-5. I was then heartened by yet another slew of love from you via the e- mail. Thank You! Thank You! Thank You!

Now then to answer some of your questions:

1. I would love to be in the B-5 TNT movies or the feature, however I get the feeling they do not want me in anything at all.

2. I was never offered 18 episodes at a different price, I was told "If TNT wants you for all 22 - you have to do all 22" period.

3. I will still do conventions (If I am invited!) I love to be with the fans and always have a great time at them.

4. I apologize to anyone who missed me in Boston after I could only make an appearance on Sunday. I took the Red-Eye after finishing work on the movie I'm doing and missed my talk on Saturday. I hope that everyone who stayed for Sunday a decent show.

5. To Andrew P. I don't know Paul Lynch...at least I don't recognize the name.

6. To Mark K. Your welcome for the B-day card!

7. The deal breaker was never about money! It was about time!

8. Yes, it is ironic that they are replacing me with an actress that will be in only 8 episodes out of 22

9. Joseph B My game is called "Solar Eclipse" it's on Sony Playstation

10. Karen in NY The agent you are referring to was my convention agent, there was no foul play or stupid moves on the part of my theatrical agent. As I've said before they received a fax saying I was released on Friday after that they assumed the fight was over. I no longer work with the woman you heard about at Wolf.

11. If you read the Variety article, it simply said that I had not signed my contract yet, it did not state that I was leaving the show, period! It was gossip, I do not know who planted it.

12. I auditioned for the Borg on Voyager during season 4 when we were told that it did not look good for season 5. If I had gotten the job I could not have done it once B-5 was picked up. It had nothing to do with anything. All of the actors were auditioning for lots of things since we thought the series was over. Remember season 5 was a miracle, we even shot the last episode thinking it was over.

13. Yes Vince is my brother, a great guy, but I think he needs to get back to work in his lab so no more e-mails to him okay:-)

14. Kevin S 6-D loves you and 6-D bless you, you are great, remember that! Thank you for your kind words.

15. John D I didn't think you were short...

16. Damon does exist, he is my best friend and has set up this access to you for me.

17. Susan B I think Diana does an excellent job with my web site, she receives a lot of mail for me. I don't understand your comment "Be careful when you write people" I have only written twice. The original rebuttal and this letter now. Beware of impostors they say! Also Susan, I write from the heart not to impress a teacher, so sorry for the "poor phrasing".

18. Stephen Christian Thank you!!!! You're the BEST!

Now for the summary....

In case you didn't notice, during season 4 I mostly read off of a TelePrompTer for "The Voice of The Resistance" or said "Aye Captain" into my link. I was creatively frustrated but continued to float along thinking I would get my chance to stretch my acting muscles. It wasn't until episode 421 that Joe wrote a scene for Richard Biggs and I that I am very proud of and was thrilled to be able to do. Add to that the fact that I had a car accident that ended up costing me my savings account, I was drained. Along comes a producer who wants me to star in a film that will help get me on my feet again...barely...and satisfy my acting needs in a challenging role. I really wanted to do it. I asked for the time off and I was told I would get it. I explained I needed it in writing. There was no way they would hire me without this permission note. I had to get one for the one day I worked on the Steven Bocheo pilot "Total Security" for crying out loud! I was refused. Nothing in writing meant I couldn't do the film. I thought it could be worked out. I was wrong.

In conclusion:

I have never said I did not want to be a part of season 5. I would be happy to don Ivanova's uniform for episodes in season 5, the TNT movies of the week or the potential feature. My pride prohibits me from calling them. They know my number if they want me they can ask me. The ball has never been in my court people, I am just a pawn in this great chess game.

Thank you again for your love and support. I cherish each and every letter that has come to me.

Lots of Love

Claudia Christian

From JMS, August 14 1997
How can the story continue without one of the main characters?
One of the first things I had to do, in plotting out the storyline, was to set aside trap doors for *every single character*, because you never know when or how the real world is going to impinge upon you. An actor can quit, or get hit by a car, or slammed by a meteor...there's no way to control the characters the way you do in a novel. That's a given. But you can't bring X-million viewers along to a certain point, then say, "Well, all the stuff we were going to do we can't because X isn't here."

So in a way, the structure of the story is kind of like a computer game tree...pull out a piece along the way, and it goes down a different path, but ends up at exactly the same point at the end. It's the difference between different *results* and different ways of *getting* there.

You can do a story about a platoon in WW II, for instance, and some of the platoon may live, die, be injured, whatever...but the story of WWII is the story of WWII.

Beyond that, a challenge is just that: a call to see just how good you *really* are, kid. If you've ever seen GLORY, there's the scene in which one of the Massachusetts 54th is being taught to shoot. He does just fine, hits the target, reloads fine...when nobody's shooting at him. At which point the colonel starts firing a revolver right next to his head, teling him to try and do it NOW, and do it FAST, with ten thousand guns firing at him.

That's when the art comes in, that's when the skill comes in...in dealing with what you *don't* expect.

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Last update: August 15, 1997