'Buffy' Storm Brewing?
It looks like a war of words may
have started between the WB TV
network and Fox over the fate of
Buffy the Vampire Slayer.
According to Variety, during this
season's Television Critics
Association press tour event, WB
CEO Jamie Kellner spoke of long
lasting rumors that Fox Television
might be willing to yank Buffy from
the network's schedule if they don't
get more money per episode, saying, "In all likelihood,
where we will come out is that we will say, 'We will take all
the revenue we can generate with Buffy and we'll give it to
you in a giant wheelbarrow. And if that's not enough, then
take it to somebody else, and you've demonstrated that
you're not the kind of partner we should be doing business
with. ... ' We would not go to a place where we would deficit
finance negatives for somebody else."
Then, on Sunday, Fox Television big shot, Sandy Grushow
responded to Kellner's comments, saying, "They don't have
wheelbarrows at the WB, they have Mercedes. Was (WB
publicity exec VP) Brad Turell whistling 'God Bless America'
behind Jamie when he gave that speech?"
Grushow added, "If, in fact, the WB is prepared to make a,
quote-unquote, 'fair' proposal to 20th Century Fox Television,
then there is no reason to believe that this show isn't going
to continue on the WB's air for many years to come. I can
tell you that up until this point, that that has not remotely
been the case."
Grushow also noted that he "had no intention of discussing
the issue today, but I was responding to Jamie, who decided
to make it a public debate."
Kellner, responded to that latter comment, saying, "Its a
little late for Sandy to try to push the genie back in the
bottle. He should have declined comment two years ago
when he started the public debate on Buffy's future. That
comment has pressurized the situation for everyone."
Currently, the WB pays just a little less than $1M per
episode for Buffy. The trade suggests that the network
actually pulls in 1.5-1.6M in ad revenue per episode, so
negotiating room may be somewhat restricted.