NEWS GOSSIP RUMORS
By Laura Sue Dean
November 4, 1997
BORING RATINGS STUFF
LETTERS TO LAURA SUE
LAURA SUE NEEDS YOU!
GOSH! My, but those pesky PTB are keeping us on our toes this season!!! First, we have Xena about to kill her momma (not to mention being taunted by the most annoying lap dancing over permed trio -- who needed more acting lessons than bacchaes with a lisp -- that ever danced their way through anachronistic Greece)...then she was sucked into a temporal rift worthy of Star Trek: The Next Generation (oh, where have you gone Gene Roddenberry?...oh yeah, Earth: Final Conflict...nevermind!)... then Gabby gets knocked around... and up.... and now they go over seas in search of the best moo goo gai pan ever made (post-partum depression does it EVERYTIME)! What will they think of next? Callisto returning and the gals hanging out with Ephiny and the Amazons? Nah, too much of a stretch!
BTW, EPHINY AND THE AMAZONS will be touring in January after the release of their record, "I am the Queen, D*mm*t".
CALLING ALL BARDS! Dreamworker, a new on-line magazine has just announced their short story contest. All submissions must be 1,500 words or longer. Original characters and plots only, and no seasonal (Christmas, etc.) stories. First prize is an IBM Thinkpad 380 166mg mmx computer (perfect for writing LSD on the sly). 2nd prize is a Nikon Coolpic 300 digital camera (perfect for taking pictures for LSD on the sly). All entries should be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org. Be sure to put "STORY CONTEST" in the subject space. Deadline for the contest is Nov 30, 1997.
ROBERT TAPERT STEPPING OUT! December 1997 (#245) of Starlog Magazine, has an interview with Robert Tapert, that man who lives with Lucy Lawless. It's called "Creating Xena & Hercules". Rob talks of his most and least favorite episodes of Xena and Herc, and some of the trials and tribulations of making both. Hmmm....favorite episode..... could it be... THE TITANS?
YEAH, YEAH, BUT GABBY COULD TAKE THAT LISA CHICK WITH ONE ARM TIED BEHIND HER BACK! In the December issue of Flex magazine, a magazine dedicated to bodybuilding, on page 173, Steve Wennerstrom, women's editor of the magazine, and Editor in Chief of WOMEN'S PHYSIQUE WORLD MAGAZINE( is this guy focused or what????) claims frustration that Lucy Lawless is insufficiently muscular to be a credible warrior (DUH! I wonder if he has ever heard of the difference between fiction and real life, too). He shows his preference by a picture of a bodybuilder named Lisa Lewis, who he claims is the same height and thirty pounds heavier than Lucy. The picture shows this vastly muscular woman in a very brief, fringed posing bikini, with no weapons. (HA! NO WEAPONS? What's up with that?)
HERCULES & XENA UNOFFICIAL COMPANION book/guide by James Van Hise for US$15.95 (296 pages). [LSD note: Is Rob Tapert Lucy Lawless' unofficial companion until they tie the you know what?]
XENA : WARRIOR PRINCESS OFFICIAL Guide - US$14.00 (208 pages). Go behind the scenes of televisions hottest & hippist syndicated show to see the real story of the making of Xena! You'll get first-hand accounts of the show's production, including casting sessions, writer's meetings, and filming, which enabled the author to tell the complete tale of how this show came to be and what goes on behind the scenes. Includes a complete episode guide, exclusive interviews with cast and crew, fascinating stories that reveal the inner workings and origin of the show, and little known tales such as how Lucy Lawless almost missed being cast as Xena little known. (Oh yeah...that's a story we haven't heard before?!?!) (Bantam) (0-385-49136-0)
NOTE: THERE IS ALSO A SIMILAR OFFICIAL COMPANION/guide book for Hercules: The Legendary Journeys for the same price. It alledgedly contains 100 never-before-seen photos (including a 16 page full color insert and 80 black & white photos) (Bantam) (0-385-32569-X).
XENA: GABRIELLE BARD/PRINCESS/QUEEN T-SHIRT - US$16.00 - This black tee, adorned with these gorgeous photo realistic images is a must have for all "Gabbers" and "Xenites" alike! Depicting Gabrielle's ascendence from the noted Bard of Poteidaia to Amazon Princess to the royal Amazon Queen ! From the pic they show of this shirt, it *is* gorgeous, with Gab as Amazon Queen (hands on hips) in the center, Gab in Princess garb behind/right, and Gab as Bard behind/left and a big "GABRIELLE" across the bottom . (oooOOoohhh! I want one across MY bottom!)
"BATTLE ON XENA" PIN - US$ 6.00 - brand new 1-inch wide Xena enamel pin features the famous war cry "Battle On Xena !" in shiny gold lettering over a field of purple enamel.
THE OFFICIAL XENA: WARRIOR PRINCESS MAGAZINE #2 - US$4.95 (comes in two photo covers -- as usual -- one with Xena holding chakram and one with Callisto holding sword ) - This issue features a close-up look at Xena'sdeadliest foe - Callisto! In an exclusive interview and photo shoot, they talk with Hudson Leick about her portrayal of Xena's deadliest adversary, along with a sidebar commentary on Callisto from Lucy Lawless & Renee O'Connor. Plus, an interview with Ted (Joxer) Raimi, and "Friends and Foes" chats with Bruce(Autolycus) Campbell. Also, a comprehensive season two photo-filled episode guide, a double gatefold Xena poster, an all new comic adventure by Roy Thomas & Claude St. Aubin, a painted Xena vs Callisto clash by DaveDeVries, a behind-the-scenes tour with the special effects wizards at Flat Earth, and more !
STARLOG MAGAZINE # 248 - US$4.99 - Includes a villanous heroes (and heroic villains) you love to hate, including Xena's Hudson Leick (Callisto). Let's hope they explain the subtle difference between villanous heroes (you'd think that the first villanous act would get their hero license suspended!) and heroic villains.
XENA IS ON THE COVER OF NICKELODEAN KIDS MAGAZINE. It's a two page "A to Z" guide to Xena. There are several small pictures of Xena, Gabrielle, Ares, and Callisto. It's a cute summary of the show and has quotes like, "C is for Chakram and Y is for Yiyiyiyiyi, Xena's battle cry". The magazine is $2.95 and will be on the shelves until December 9. Also, strangely enough, it is the final word on the stunt horses on the show.
S P O I L E R
C ( for XENA COMICS SPOILERS )
XENA: WARRIOR PRINCESS #3 (Joxer Warrior Prince, Part 3/3) - US$2.95 (comes in both an art and photo cover ) - T&M Bierbaum, Lim & Gil- Joxer completes the impossible sixth labor - the rescue of the luscious seanymph Galatea from the clutches of the mighty Cyclops - with more than alittle help from Xena! One more labor completed and Joxer will win the hand of Princess Nausicaa! In an attempt to prevent their daughter from marrying Joxer, the King & Queen formulate the perfect impossible seventh labor - he must defeat Xena in hand-to-hand combat. Meanwhile, Hercules & Gabriellediscover the truth behind Nausicaa's love for Joxer !
XENA:WARRIOR PRINCESS: XENA AND THE DRAGON'S TEETH #2 - US$2.95 (comes in both art and photo editions) - Thomas/ Teranishi & Montano- Xena battles the forces of King Creon, the monarch of Thebes, who seeks toimprison the returning Oedipus. Ancient and evil forces are transpiring totake over Thebes, spearheaded by Adrastus and the six Dragon Warriors ofmyth. The Dragon Warriors conjure up a deadly skeleton serpent to attack Xena & Gabrielle as a form of retribution for their defeat at their hands earlier. It looks as if Thebes is doomed - and Xena & Gabrielle along with it!
UNFORTUNATELY, CREATION RAN INTO THE SAME PROBLEM with the Houston Convention that they had with Chicago. Originally they called upon Ted Raimi to replace Bob Trebor, but now Ted has also gotten the phone call from NZ (supposedly they are both going to be filming Hercules). LSD still wants to know why no one thought to call any of the Kiwi actors to replace them. (It wouldn't have anything to do with paying for airfare would it? Naahhhh...)
LAURA SUE WAS HANGIN' TEN ON THE NET (interestingly enough, while wearing the same darling bikini worn for the SPORTS QUENCHER tv commercial!) and found a great site with lots of traditional Bulgarian music, like the one you hear in the beginning of XENA. The first time LSD heard it, she thought it was magical music and still does. It is deeply linked with the Bulgarian blood as Bulgarians were once warriors just like XENA. (And, as we all know, New Greeceland and Bulgaria are practically neighbors!) The address is:
THE FIRST SONG IS CALLED "100 Gaidas" meaning 100 Bulgarian Bagpipes, the ones that you hear a lot in the episodes. So, enjoy them and tell other XENA fans, because these songs are just magical.
LESBIANS, COLLEGE STUDENTS AND CONVICTS...OH MY! They love Xena, but they want to marry Gabrielle. Renee O'Connor says she gets marriage proposals from both male and female fans of "Xena." The series has a big lesbian following. (ed. note: WHAT?!?! This is the first LSD's heard of this!) O'Connor says fans find Lucy Lawless "much more intimidating," so they're "a little bit scared" to ask her to marry them. In addition to lesbians and college students, O'Connor says convicts love the show.
"YOU'RE GOING OUT A SIDEKICK, BUT YOU'RE COMING BACK A DOLL!" Renee O'Connor says Gabrielle doesn't rate her own show, but Xena's sidekick will be getting her own doll. When "Xena" first went on air, no one knew how many shows Gabrielle would be on, so Xena was the only one to get a doll. But as Gabrielle got more and more fans, they demanded a doll for her, too. O'Connor says it'll be out in April. But, don't hold your breath waiting for a Gabrielle spinoff series. O'Connor says Gabrielle is perfectly content to stay at Xena's side.
WHO SAYS IT'S NOT A DRAG TO WATCH HTLJ? In an episode NOT to be missed Robert Trebor, Bruce Campbell, and Michael Hurst will all be in DRAG for an upcoming HERCULES, with Bob and Bruce doing a striptease and appearing "au natural" in a bathtub together as women!! (Somehow LSD thinks there will be LOTS of bubbles involved in that one.) Does SOME LIKE IT HOT ring a bell? Bob is playing the Jack Lemmon role, and Bruce the Tony Curtis role. Michael is playing a role he created for himself in his famous New Zealand holiday pantomime shows. This one will definitely have fans ROTFLTAO. Laura Sue even heard an early version of the script had Michael catching Bruce and Bob in the bath together and saying, "Who do you think your are, Xena and Gabrielle?"
YAXI (Yet Another Xena Inconsistency) for GABRIELLE'S HOPE: When the banshees attack Xena inside the castle, her sword is knocked from her hand and lands some distance behind her. She clobbers the banshees, then goes charging after Gabrielle, leaving her sword behind. She jumps off the castle wall and lands on the ground, with her sword in its scabbard? (I think that sword has been hanging around with the chakram too long; wherever it's thrown, it always comes back!)
SPEAKING OF THE CHAKRAM: the last time we saw it in THE DELIVERER, it was headed hades-knows-where after passing through a stone wall. How did Xena ever find it again? (That Chakram has better homing skills than those cute lil animals from "Homeward Bound".)
BORING RATINGS STUFF
[LSD's NOTE: I tried last issue to do the ratings and now I am back to have "Speedy" my ghostwriter do it. One cannot write about ratings and make them at the same time, you know what I mean?]
AND SO THE ADVENTURE BEGINS. The number rankings and scores for BEEN THERE DONE THAT (48/302) are out! The new season has started in earnest with some new contenders popping up and some surprises for all. But first the numbers. Unfortunately all I was given in this two bit operation was the numbers for XWP, HTLJ, STDS9, and EFC.
THIS WEEK THE RAGING BULLS of GENE RODDENBERRY'S EARTH: FINAL CONFLICT and the syndicated X-FILES have shown their spunk. FINAL CONFLICT took 10th with a 4.9 score while X-FILES took 13th (score unknown at this point because my employers are TOO CHEAP to get me a subscription to Variety). Not long ago (like 5 weeks ago!) XENA would have thought those rankings to be serious contenders.
ALL IN ALL IT WAS A WEEK where not enough people were staying home to watch action hours. All of the syndicated dramas suffered.
XENA TOOK TOP HONORS with BTDT ranking 7th with a 5.6 score. The previous week XENA made a strong presence with a 6.1 for her season premiere [THE FURIES (47/301). Okay, it is an 8.1% drop. Should ratings mavens be worried? Well, let's tally up the good and bad points:
(1) XWP opened the season and continued into it as the number one action hour. The first season, XWP opened 3rd and stayed third into the next show [SINS OF THE PAST (01/101), CHARIOTS OF WAR (02/102)], while the second season she opened third again but leaped her way into second place by the second show [ORPHAN OF WAR (25/201), REMEMBER NOTHING (26/202). Compared to previous seasons, XENA is doing well in comparison to fellow action hours.
(2) XWP dropped 8% the second show. The first season it stayed the same (4.5) from the 1st to the 2nd show and the third season it ROSE 5.6% from a 5.3 to 5.6 (ORPHAN OF WAR to REMEMBER NOTHING). Compared to previous years in terms of score, XENA is doing okay, but she seems to have lost some steam somewhere.
(3) XWP opened the season with an overall rank of 5th competing against ALL shows in syndication. By the next week, XENA was 7th. In the first season XENA went from 16th to 19th, and in the third she went 11th to 9th. Compared to previous seasons, XENA is weaseling her way up the top ten of syndicationland.
AND WHAT'S HAPPENING WITH HERK? Hercules opened his 4th season with BEANSTALKS AND BAD EGGS (60/401), an homage to Jack and the Beanstalk guest starring the irrepressible Bruce Campbell. He (HERK not Bruce) ranked 6th with 5.5 score and was the 2nd highest placing action hour. Not bad, but it could have been better. His first full season was his second season (1995-96). His opening was 7th with 5.4 (but he was top action hour)[KING OF THIEVES (14/201), and third season he was still top action hour ranking 8th with a 5.8 [MERCENARY (38/301)].
THE SECOND HERK EPISODE of the season was HERO'S HEART (61/402). Like XENA, HERK took a dive, but not as dramatic as Xena's from the premiere. HERK came in FOURTH, ranking 11th with a 4.8 (EARTH: FINAL CONFLICT made 3rd). Compared to the previous seasons, HERK made a mega-dive. 2nd season HERK didn't earn in the 4's until repeats were rampant and they were into the 35th week of the 2nd season [THE POWER (35/222) ranking 14th with 4.7 and placing 3rd in action hours on 05/06/96 -- and a first release too -- OUCH]! The third season waited until the 26th week to go into the 4's [MONSTER CHILD IN THE PROMISED LAND (43/306), 2nd release (whew! better), ranking 17th with 4.3 and placing 2nd in action hours on 03/24/97]. Now the fourth season has the distinction of hitting the 4's in the second week of the season. Eek.
THE STAR TREK: DEEP SPACE NINE EPISODE competing with BEEN THERE and HERK's HERO'S HEART was ROCKS AND SHOALS (126/602). DEEP SPACE NINE has been a scrappy contender. Two seasons ago it hit rock bottom but it has been clawing itself out of the primarily self-dug hole. It has not shown as spectacular a leap as it did last season but we are only into the second show. I am expecting great things from DEEP SPACE NINE this year and it should give HERCULES a run for its money unless the RENAISSANCE PEOPLE give HERK some serious first aid. DEEP SPACE 9 had competing against THE FURIES, the 6th season opener, TIME TO STAND (125/601). DEEP SPACE ranked a very healthy 8th with a 5.4 score and placed 3rd in the action hours. ROCKS ranked 9th with a 5.2 score and placed 2nd.
THE PREVIOUS SEASON OPENING for DEEP SPACE NINE was a 9th ranking, with a 5.6 score at 2nd place followed by a 7th ranking with a 6.0 score at 1st place [APOCALYPSE RISING (99/501); THE SHIP (100/502). Those were the salad days! The season previous to that had DEEP SPACE 9 in deep something with an 11th ranking with a 4.9 score at 2nd place, followed by a healthier 10th ranking with a 5.6 score at 2nd place [DISTANT VOICES (64/318), 2nd release; THROUGH THE LOOKING GLASS (65/319), 2nd release].
THE NEW KIDS ON THE BLOCK took the 3rd and 5th places. EARTH: FINAL CONFLICT sequestered 3rd place with a 10th ranking and 4.9 score. That is better than XENA got on her very first episode (she got 3rd place, 16th ranking with a 4.5 score!) and the SECRETS OF THE X-FILES (which I believe was a special to promote the X-FILES in syndication, or is that what they are calling the X-FILES in syndication? Duh, I need a drink) placed 5th (it is because of my cheap employers that I do not have any score for X-FILES).
THE RACE IS ON!!! If following the ratings is your idea of good clean America fun, then come back here to join me, yes ME, Speedy, LSD's underpaid, overworked, and anal ghostwriter.
HEY, CONTEST TIME KIDS! Send me what rating you think a specific episode will get before the numbers come out (no cheating now!!!), and if you are the first person to answer correctly, you will win a prize!!! How about THAT!!! In fact I have 5 of them staring me in the face RIGHT NOW! So please send your guess to SPEEDY and put in the subject area "GUESS THE RATING". Be sure to include the name of the episode or release date and the rating YOU THINK it will get. Now, why not stay and read what Laura Sue has to say to her esteemed correpondents? You'll be glad you did!
LETTERS TO LAURA SUE
DEAR LAURA SUE
Any info on who was originally cast as Xena and the other women who turned down the role?
LAURA SUE RESPONDS:
Dear Ann Marie:
HEY.....I know you! You're THAT GIRL! I had no idea you'd show up again....! Gee I sure miss YOUR show... "Oh Donald!" is one of Laura Sue's favorite things to say when things don't go exactly the way she'd like. What is it like out there in TVLand? Now, where was I?.... Oh yes! Well, as the legend goes, the Producers had to virtually hunt down Lucy Lawless in the New Zealand wilderness while on a camping trip because FIVE, count 'em, FIVE American actresses turned down the role of Xena! Their first choice (well, not the producer's first choice, but the CORPORATE first choice) was Vanessa Angel, from another Universal show, Weird Science. As to who the other four were.. well... LSD has scoured the rumor mills high and low...and found out that the other (un) lucky gals were, (in no particular order) Christina Crawford, Mary Crosby, Lucy Arnez and... TORI SPELLING! [Ed. note: the producers decided afterwards that it was a good thing that none of these women actually took the part -- Handing out juicy parts to siblings of big-shot Hollywood Stars and/or Producers would just open themselves up to accusations of NEPOTISM...(and we wouldn't want that now, would we?)]
"Don't hate me because I said NO...."
Vanessa Angel at ease."
THIS IS A COMPUTER APP CLASS FROM MARYBOROUGH HIGH JUST SAYING G'DAY!!! WE'RE FROM AUSTRALIA.TOWN OF MARYBOROUGH IN QUEENSLAND.WE LIKE TO WATCH YOUR SHOW THOUGH I MISS IT SOMETIMES BECAUSE WE ARE OUT PARTYING.PLEASE SEND US A MESSAGE WE WOULD LIKE TO HEAR FROM YOU.A TEACHER HERE WOULD LIKE TO KNOW IF YOU ARE MARRIED? WHAT IS IT YOU LIKE TO DO IN YOUR SPARE TIME? (IF YOU HAVE ANY) TOOTLES ....... WRITE LATER
JAMES IS HERE TOO BUT I DON'T KNOW HIS LAST NAME!!!!!
LAURA SUE RESPONDS:
THANKS FOR WRITING -- ALTHOUGH I'M NOT TOO SURE WHY YOU'D MISS *MY* SHOW JUST FOR PARTYING. BUT I GUESS IF YOU *WEREN'T* PARTYING, YOU'D REALIZE THAT I DON'T *HAVE* A SHOW! THAT KIND OF DEFEATS THE PURPOSE OF YOUR LETTER..SO....WHATEVER!
THANKS FOR CHECKING IN!
I'm a recent convert to Xena, so, unfortunately, I missed all those deliteful episodes of the first two seasons(Oh No!!!!) I saw your little tidbit about USA showing the reruns, and wondered if you knew when they were going to start that? I'm hoping it starts soon!! Reading spoilers and scripts and looking at screenshots just doesn't make up for missing Lucy and Renee in action!
LAURA SUE RESPONDS:
The USA Network will begin running XWP in strip syndication in the FALL of 1998. Be there or be square!
Hi Laura Sue
I just watched Zena tonight Gabreile's Hope and I would like to know what happened to the war with Ceaser? Was this a mistake or what? They went there to fight Ceaser then Gabreile gets pregnent by the god of darkness but then wouldnt they go back to fight? Can you enlighten me.
[name withheld to keep the author from further ridicule]
LAURA SUE RESPONDS:
Dear [name withheld],
While Laura Sue appreciates EVERY letter she gets (my motto is receiving is better than giving), she has a rule. If you don't spell XENA correctly...Laura Sue (on principle) cannot answer your question. I'm sure you understand, it's really nothing personal.
We apologize PROFUSELYfor LSD's misguided principles. We've been trying to break her, but so far no good. To answer your question, Krafstar made a comment about Xena defeating Caesar. Rumor has it that Xena and Boudicea ended up driving Caesar from Britania, but it broke up the tension of what was happening to Gabrielle in the temple and was cut from the episode.
I don't want to be a know-it-all-smarty-pants but the pava stones that you referred to are actually called paua here in NZ. The stone does come from a black abalone which makes a very nice fritter and the stones or shells are often used in jewellery, souvenirs or even ashtrays!
By the way love your work!
Cheerio from downunder - Shannon
LAURA SUE RESPONDS:
Dear know-it-all-smarty-p...er, Shannon,
Thank you SO much for the correction. Laura Sue just LOVES being corrected. Really.
LAURA SUE NEEDS YOU!
If you HAVE any good dish, write me. Need a rumor confirmed, denied, or ambiguously tap danced around? I'm your gal! Just drop Laura Sue a line!
I can't print every letter, but I'll do my best to answer your questions... and report those late-breaking XWP stories!
Back to the NGR contents page