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July 20 2004

Clarification on the Amber Benson WB rumour. It has now been confirmed that the showrunner for Global Frequency did want Amber to test for a role and that a WB exec did veto her. However, this veto had nothing to do with her role as Tara. Warren Ellis speaks about these rumours - Simon.

The original rumours that sparked controversy on various boards which have now been clarified.

""Word is that the producer/showrunner of the upcoming comic based TV series Global Frequency has been battling with WB Network executives for weeks in an attempt to get Amber Benson cast as Kate, a new role he created for the series. Apparently, WB refuses to allow him to cast [Amber] in the role... because [she] played a lesbian on Buffy the Vampire Slayer."
This comes from Christopher Golden, so I'm assuming that this news has some weight to it, as opposed to just heresay."

UPDATE: The thread's unfortunately been deleted (but I don't think it was because it wasn't Chris Golden, but perhaps he had second thoughts about posting about it under his name?). The link has been changed to point to another thread that runs along the same lines.

If this is true, I would just like to say...

F**K YOU WB!!!!!!!!!!!!

Ok do we know if this is really Christopher Golden or not .... also with the recent we want Buffy type of shows from the heads of the WB - I don't see the reason they would not jump at the chance to have a former Buffy actor on the show that is the reason Angel is not returning this season.
Yeah, I'll keep my skeptic's hat on for now. I can't believe network execs would do something like this and state it so explicity. That said, if this is accurate, the WB ought to be ashamed of itself.

ETA: Looks like the post has been removed.

[ edited by Smo on 2004-07-21 03:14 ]
Yeah, I just noticed that too. This news is pretty volatile if it's true, and with Amber appearing at the Inkworks booth at Comic-Con later this week, I'll see if she can comment on this.
I don't see how they CAN do something like that. If it is true, it's just one more shining example of how pathetically bad things are at the WB.
This seems so difficult to comprehend. There are so many actors playing gay/lesbian characters on TV these days, it would seem that, if this were some sort of "policy" at WB, there would be a long list of actors who would not get parts. Wouldn't this ultimately be self-defeating? On the other hand, with the current debate over gay marriage, and the Republican efforts to force a vote on a constitutional amendment, to try to force Dems to take a stand right before elections, to cause them to lose votes, who knows what political pressure is being leveled against the WB. There may be a new "black list" of actors who have played gay characters. Would not surprise me, given the dirty political tactics we have already seen. But I hope this is all just a paranoid fantasy on my part, and there is no truth to this rumor, and we really haven't returned to McCarthyist tactics in Hollywood.

Please, Oddjob, report back if you get any word from Amber.
Nope sorry, whilst the stupidity of network execs never fails to amaze me they would have to be beyond stupid to commit this kind of PR suicide.

Why would the nature of any of Amber's previous roles be taken into account anyway? Especially one she actually originally played on that very same network.

I get the feeling this is one of those cases of fan speculation turning into internet fact we have seen so much of over the years. Somebody has heard that Amber is in the running for the part, the next person posts that the WB bosses don't want her, the next person assumes why and by the end of the thread you have your very own version of the truth to be spread around as many forums as possible.

It is probably a good sign that so few of us have readily believed it though. Maybe there is hope for the internet yet!
I can't see how the WB would be stupid enough to say that. 1) It's bad PR, and WB really can't afford any more negative press after the Save Angel campaigns. It would just make the fans more angry at the network.
And 2) Look at how adding James to the cast of Angel helped bump up ratings. Wouldn't adding a Buffy alum to a new show be a good thing considering how loyal a lot of the fans are to the actors that we've all grown to know and love?

But maybe i'm just naive. After all, the suits at that run the network haven't been making good moves. (Cammando Nanny? Redneck comedy? Drew Carey ripping-off himself? Not exactly must-see TV.)
I have a feeling this link will be deleted. A wee bit too speculative isn't it?
I don't see how this could possibly be true?

But if it was really from Chris Golden, then...??
Ok. I just deleted A Support Amber post, that had no link and was a complete knee jerk reaction to an event that may not have happened. Other posts like it will also be deleted.

Until there is more information, please let's keep a level head about this.
This sounds like a fabrication to me, if it is true however, I just have to say that I hate the WB even more.

But it probably isn't, so unless some proof comes my way I'm going to ignore it.
Forgot to mention that Chris Golden has posted occasionally to the Essence of Amber board, so I do not doubt that it was indeed him who started that thread in the first place. Again, I don't know why the original thread his post originated from was deleted, and until we know more, I also urge some civility in this matter.
That Chris Golden only posted twice on that site, so how are we sure that is really him.
Are you sure? I've seen him post as "ChristopherGolden" several times (full name, no spaces), here (10/8/03 11:23 am), here (7/14/03 12:42 pm), and here (4/29/03 7:38 am).

And the number of posts listed next to his name was 12, at least as of that first link.

[ edited by Oddjob on 2004-07-21 05:31 ]
Seeing as I have just got up. Let me try and clarify in my mind what is going on.

1) A link to an Amber board was posted which purported to come from Chris Golden about Amber and the WB.
2) This post on this Amber board was deleted.
3) The link was chanced to a post on the Essence of Amber board.
4) Doubts have been raised about whether Chris Golden actually said this.
5) I myself have just emailed Chris Golden to find out what is going on.
6) The subject title maybe heavily edited as I do not want what could be mere speculation taken as fact.
Let me help clarify what's been happening:

1. The link in question was at the Essence of Amber posting board. But yes, there was a thread there that was started by Chris Golden. Actually, at the time I made this news item, there were three threads that talked about Amber and The WB, but I chose Chris' because he is in frequent contact with Amber, and I would think he'd have a better grasp of what was happening before posting such information on a public forum.

2. Not only was his post deleted, but the entire thread that he had started was deleted, probably by Little Willow, the posting board's moderator. Perhaps it was done at Chris' request, perhaps at Amber's request, we don't know. Little Willow, et al have not said why it was deleted. It just has.

3. I then changed the news link to another Amber and The WB thread at the Essence of Amber posting board, but kept the original link in the news item.

4. Doubts have been raised about the validity of if it was really Chris Golden who posted this, as well as the validity of this news, yes. That being said, someone else in another thread said that "The creator of Global Frequency wants Amber and one of the executives doesn´t. And it is because she played a lesbian on Buffy. I have proof for this from a source I trust 100 %." Unfortunately, how much validity can we give to that statement?

5. Thanks for e-mailing Chris Golden. Since posting this news link, I have made queries through friends to Amber even though I will probably see her on Thursday at the Inkworks booth. Thus far, nothing, but that's probably because Amber is busy getting ready for Comic-Con.

6. I did edit the subject line but feel free to edit it further.
Well I've edited the subject line for the time being. Hopefully, we will get word on what the story is later today.
Well I emailed Warren Ellis (the comic book creator of Global Frequency) to see if he knew anything and this is what he had to say:

"I honestly have no idea. You have to remember I'm pretty
much removed from the casting process and the
production in general -- as the actors who approached me
for pointers for the auditions can sadly attest to -- just
receiving occasional updates. Plus I've been in bed with a
rotten case of the 'flu since last Friday night. I can say
that the actress whose name I've heard connected with
Kate over the last couple of weeks has not been Ms Benson.
The first I heard about all this was last night, when a fan who
is friendly with Ms Benson's family approached me about it.
I said to him what I'm saying to you, which obviously wasn't
enough, as he's been posting to a bunch of message boards
about it overnight without any more stated facts than when
he started. I mean, if it's true that an actress has not been
selected for a role because she once played a lesbian -- and
if that's not a garbling or a miscommunication --
then that's pretty stupid at the very least.
But let's, you know, FIND OUT, first.

Naturally enough, I've risen from my sick bed this afternoon
to find an inbox full of this stuff.

I'm not aware of Ms Benson's work, and I have no idea if
she'd make a better Kate than the actress Rogers has
been mentioning to me for the last week or two. That's
not my call. I have, however, forwarded this and a bunch
of the other emails I've received to the production. LA
hasn't woken up yet, and the production is under the gun
now, with shooting commencing in a few weeks and
the San Diego con being imminent, so any clarification
from the show may prove to be slow in coming.

And if you'll excuse me, I'm now off in search of
painkillers and something to cough green foam up into.

-- Warren Ellis"
Whether this turns out to be true or not, I think it says something about the WB that this could even be considered believable. The WB has clearly fallen far from grace and I don't think there's anything they can do that will bring them back from the depths they've sunk to.
I believe that The WB is the most hated tv network.I hate it!They cancelled Buffy & Angel!I hate them!lol.
Whether this turns out to be true or not, I think it says something about the WB that this could even be considered believable
I don't know.... I'm not a big fan of the WB right now, given the Angel cancellation, but I don't think these allegations are particularly believable. They just don't make sense. And while I may not agree with the WB's programming/business decisions, it's another thing entirely to accuse a network of prejudiced/homophobic casting based on a past role an actress had. A role she had ON the WB, no less, and an actress who has a large fan base. It doesn't make sense on any level, and certainly not in a business way, which is how most such decisions get made. That's a pretty hefty accusation to lob without, so far as I've seen, any real facts to back it up. There are all sorts of reasons Amber might not have been cast, that would make much more sense than the fact that she once played a lesbian witch on a WB show. The WB may have made some bad decisions, but I don't think this particular allegation says much about anyone other than whoever started the rumor (unless it's shown to have some factual basis). And let's not forget that they DID give buffy and Angel a home for a total of 10 seasons. They believed in Buffy, in fact, when no other network did.
Well its been confirmed that the veto had nothing to do with Amber playing a lesbian. Unfortunately, it was a case of crossed wires. So I've re-re-edited the subject line to show this. Thanks to Chris Golden for the heads up.
Thanks Simon, i can't say i'm too surprised as this sounded like a completely ludicrous position for any network to take, especially one who is supposedly trying to get Buffy fans back.

It would be nice to find out the specifics of why Amber was veto'd however as until the facts are presented there will still be some who choose to believe the lesbian rumour.
Assuming this new news is now true, I don't regret my anger upon first hearing about this and I don't regret thinking that the WB could actually do this. Bigotry can infest any institution.

I'm glad Ms. Benson won't be on the WB again, I wouldn't want her to be on the same network that values garbage over quality.
My memory is foggy on this but wasn't there some issues between Amber and someone (not sure if it was the WB or Fox) about money when her contract for BtVS came up? Maybe that has something to do with it. That would make more sense if they felt they had a hard time negotiating with her in the past. Again, I'm not sure about this and this could just be some rumor that I heard in the past. But it makes more sense than them not wanting her because she played a lesbian on one of their shows.
Wanted to echo my thanks to Simon for getting to the bottom of this.
Actors are considered for parts all the time and not picked up, for any number of reasons. I wonder why in this particular situation, it turned into such an odd rumour/event?
Given the current dislike for the WB and the fact that Amber played a character that courted controversy in some less enlightened circles, I'm guessing that someone put two and two together and got five and thought Amber had been victimised or unfairly treated.
It certainly did become an event, and the fact that it got picked up elsewhere like at Dark Horizons is fascinating.
I read a great article on CHUD the other day about these types of rumours.

Anyway, hopefully now this has been nipped in the bud.
Thanks, Simon, for the clarification.
I've been listening to the commentaries on the "Freaks and Geeks" DVDs recently, and, if the creators there are to be believed, then it's a rare event when the PTB at any network don't turn up and veto at least one of any proposed cast list (the creators of that show were really surprised they got to keep the cast they wanted, anyway). Sounds like the networks just like to throw their weight around at the shows they own, remind everyone who's boss. (Generally. I don't know any of the details in this case...)
Simon - Great job with the CHUD link.

[ edited by Unitas on 2004-07-21 21:09 ]

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