1) Merchandising licenses and broadcasting agreements are two completely
different things, handled by different parts of Warner Bros. The one has nothing to do with the other.
2) TNT is a U.S. cable network that had an exclusive deal to air the B5
reruns in the U.S.
until last year, and which had the broadcast rights to Crusade in the U.S. only
until late 1999. They do not and never have owned either show, and they should have no power to determine what happens with them in other countries. (Although it is possible that as the originating network they had some kind of influence before the rights reverted to Warner Bros. after they showed the 13 episodes once.) The shows are owned by Warner Bros. Anyone telling you any different is either grossly misinformed or lying.
3) Not renewing the merchandising licenses
at this time makes perfect
has been out of production for two years now. During 1999-2000 TNT's punative scheduling of the show (payback for Crusade
) drove awareness of and interest in the show to its lowest ebb. Merchandising licenses that expired at that point were not renewed by the licensees
because they saw a shrinking market. Warner Home Video couldn't make a go of a VHS release of the series, the Fan Club and B5Magazine
folded, it was not a good time for the series.
Now that the show is back in daily reruns on Sci-Fi and attracting new viewers, things are on the upswing again. The B5
name is beginning to look valuable to merchandisers. But this is just the beginning. Warner Bros. is looking forward to the DVD release, the Rangers
movie and a possible new series. Frankly they would be idiots to renew
existing licenses eight months or a year before the publicity bonanza that a new series would bring them.
License agreements with an option to renew generally state the terms of renewal in the original contract, and give both parties the option to renew within a give time of the expiration date. Once that passes, the studio is free to put the license for a given product out for bid. Why would Warner Bros. want to renew agreements based on the value of the show name several years ago when they expect that value to increase
With a new series on the air merchandisers are likely to be lining up to turn out B5
the time to negotiate, not when your show has barely crawled back into the public spotlight.
<BLOCKQUOTE><font size="1" face="Verdana, arial">quote:</font><HR>I contacted Channel 4 in the UK and they told me that they are unable to show any new Babylon 5 programmes at the present time.<HR></BLOCKQUOTE>
Hardly surprising given that there aren't
any new Babylon 5
programs "at the present time." They're still shooting Rangers
and Warner Bros. won't start marketing that overseas for awhile.
<BLOCKQUOTE><font size="1" face="Verdana, arial">quote:</font><HR>TNT will not allow them to reshow Crusade and all other Babylon 5 episodes has been restricted to only one episode a month if they need to fill gaps in the schedules.
See above re: TNT and Crusade
. I have no idea what the rest of this is supposed to mean, or who placed those "restrictions" on their airing the B5
reruns. Sounds more like an in-house decision than anything that would be part of a normal broadcast contract. Warner Bros. only gets paid their fees when a show is actually shown
. It makes no economic sense to tell a station not to air them. Odds are that Channel 4 thinks the per-broadcast fee they're paying for B5
is too high, so they don't run it unless they're caught with a whole in their schedule.
I must say that I only understand the broad generalities of how TV contracts work in the U.S., from reading public material on the subject, and none at all on overseas deals. But I do know how various kinds of business contracts work in other
industries, and this just sounds like doubletalk to me. I have a feeling that Channel 4 was just fobbing you off with a plausible sounding explanation because whoever you talked to either didn't know the real answer or didn't want to give it to you.
From the newsgroup, May 21st 2001:
<BLOCKQUOTE><font size="1" face="Verdana, arial">quote:</font><HR>(Space in Canada told the writer that) (t)he owners of CRUSADE pulled the plug on the production and will not allow broadcasters that have previously aired the series, the right to broadcast it a second time. However, the Sci-Fi Channel in the U.S. is able to air it because it is their first broadcast of the series.
Is this really true? Or is there some corporate bafflegab going on? Why would Crusade not be rerunnable, whereas Babylon 5 is?
Isn't it Warner Brothers that owns the rights to both series?
Yeah, so to be honest, that sounds a bit fishy to me. -- jms<HR></BLOCKQUOTE>
It almost sounds like this is something that TNT did, and was able to do, back in 1999
when they were still involved in the production and still had some clout. It is possible that neither Space in Canada nor Channel 4 in the U.K. realizes that TNT is out of the picture and that their "edict" is no longer in force. (Or it could be that both are counting on us not knowing these things and using TNT as a convenient excuse for not running a show they don't feel like running.
Pat Tallman Division