Diana Muldaur and the TNG cast

Discussion in 'The Next Generation' started by ShatnersToupee, Feb 25, 2011.

  1. ShatnersToupee

    ShatnersToupee Lieutenant Red Shirt

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    Hard to say if that's true. But I've heard the same thing about Robert Beltran. At least Muldaur was older and perhaps her memory was beginning to fade. What's Beltran's excuse. Oh that's right. He didn't care for the writing. Muldaur went from Star Trek to L.A. Law and was on that show for 2 seasons. Something tells me they wouldn't have kept her around that long if she was having trouble remembering her lines.
     
  2. Josh Kelton

    Josh Kelton Lieutenant Red Shirt

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    That seems a bit presumptuous of them, considering that TNG might not even have lasted five years or more.
     
  3. ShatnersToupee

    ShatnersToupee Lieutenant Red Shirt

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    No, it's just playing it safe. Most shows don't even last a year. But if you got a hit, you obviously don't want to have to renegotiate salaries every year. In my line of work, I could sign a 1 year contract for a project, but that project might get cancelled after 3 months. Is the employer being presumptuous by signing me up for a year? No. They're just planning ahead in case things go well.
     
  4. lurok

    lurok Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    First up, biased because Muldaur fan.

    Not sure if cue cards are some sort of trek urban myth. But even if not, other actors used them (Brando) or maybe Muldaur just needed them for techno-babble.

    As others have said, if inference is Muldaur bad actress, then surprising to go from TNG to LA Law and win TWO Emmy noms.
     
  5. Therin of Andor

    Therin of Andor Admiral Admiral

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    Almost every show in Hollywood - even those that end up running 13 or so years - try to sign up their actors to the standard five-year contract. It means big contract negotiations after five successful years, which could blow the budget out of the water, but it also provides a continuity of service.

    If the show lasts less than a year, it doesn't mean the actors get paid for another four years. A five-year contract simply locks in the salary (and royalties) scale and stops actors making huge demands in a show's early years, especially if its ratings suddenly become huge. Or jumping ship. For example, when Denise Crosby and Wil Wheaton asked to leave TNG early, Paramount could have refused.

    I own Majel Barrett and Michael Berryman cue cards from ST IV. Nimoy wanted them to read cue cards for their dialogue in the probe weather disaster scenes to give those scenes a certain unrehearsed urgency.
     
  6. Rom's Sehlat

    Rom's Sehlat Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    So that's a method of production, not due to the actors' memories or unwillingness to learn their lines.
     
  7. lurok

    lurok Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    Just realised who Crusher reminds me of: Gwen DeMarco :lol:
     
  8. ShatnersToupee

    ShatnersToupee Lieutenant Red Shirt

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    I suspect the cue card story was started by someone on the show or at the studio in order to deflect criticism for letting the actress go. This is Hollywood where they start ugly rumors about people all the time. They did the same thing with Jennifer Lien, circulating a story about her having a drug problem because they know people would criticize them for trading her in for a Barbie doll. Message boards like this are a great tool for the studio. They can start a rumor and watch as it makes the rounds to the point where enough people believe it.
     
  9. LaBarre

    LaBarre Commander Red Shirt

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    Therin, I know you've been saying for awhile that the "standard contract" is five years and that may well be, but what was the story with Patrick Stewart's TNG contract, then?

    I've read several interviews and attended a number of conventions over the years where Stewart speaks of it having been a six year contract, most recently in startrek.com's interview in October 2010:

    Q: The Next Generation debuted 23 years ago last week. How true is the story that you thought Next Gen would provide you with a few months work and income, and an opportunity to get a nice tan, and that you’d then head back home to England?

    Stewart: Well, that is what I was advised when I was offered the role, which was on a Monday, lunchtime, and told that I had until Friday lunchtime to make a decision. I was shocked because I’d never for a moment believed that I would get cast in Star Trek. I’d been called back to Los Angeles three times from the UK for auditions. So I raced around L.A., talking to anybody I knew I had any connection with, who was in the television and film industry, asking their advice. “What should I do?” I was to discover I had to sign a six-year contract. I was very naïve about the conditions attached to series television in the U.S.A. Every single person I spoke to – agents, directors, screenwriters, other actors – said, “Oh, don’t worry about six years. You’ll be lucky to make it through the first year.” Everybody felt it was madness to try to revive an iconic series like William Shatner and Leonard Nimoy’s Star Trek. So, on the basis of that advice I signed the six-year contract.

    Does this mean that Stewart's original contract NOT a standard contract?
     
  10. LaBarre

    LaBarre Commander Red Shirt

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    I don't think this has ever been confirmed.

    My personal supposition is that the rumours about contractual difficulties with Stewart leading to further rumours about him not returning in season 4 etc were not just untrue but were in fact deliberately created by Paramount during the summer hiatus to create viewer interest in BOBW II – which of course, they did.

    It's speculation on my part, but there is some support for it:

    According to ST: NG Companion, it was only After [BOBW I’s] airing, rumors circulated among fans that Patrick Stewart's contract talks with Paramount had stalled, and that Picard would be killed off, with Riker becoming Captain while Shelby would become his first officer. This culminated in an unprecedented level of interest in the next season opener, with Paramount running ads and radio spots specifically for the episode. [source: memory-alpha BOBWII]
     
  11. Botany Bay

    Botany Bay Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    Good call. Yep, a nasty trick often used in the entertainment biz, and probably every other industry, in these days of full time 'message consultants' and other such garbage.

    A comment made by Roddenberry, or someone with a title at a convention in 1989 would have been reported through the fan grapevine of fan magazines and newsletters. Just as effective as the internet in those days.

    I even vaguely remember reading a (Roddenberry?) quote along the lines of "Well, it was all deliberately planned, we were going to rest Bev for a year, then bring her back." :lol:
     
  12. Therin of Andor

    Therin of Andor Admiral Admiral

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    Simple. He was the lead actor. Highly respected. Not used to being tied to a long contract. Yearning to return to stage work. His wife in the UK (at least for part of that time). His agent noticed that actors signing to new shows were already getting more money in their first year than Stewart would be making in his fourth. The third season had rated extremely well: #1 syndicated, first-run, one-hour drama. Stewart's agent would have tried a little leverage for some kind of better deal. When your lead actor is unhappy, you offer him reduced hours, a longer lunch, a better trailer, a private phone, a chance to direct an episode, a bigger cut on merchandise, etc. Crosby had already asked for an early release. They wouldn't have wanted Stewart to contemplate doing so, although Paramount ended up doing very well with the rumours that he was renegotiating.

    Well someone said that, but it wasn't how it had panned out. Roddenberry's famous comment to the "Bring Back Bev" Brigade at a big convention was, IIRC, "If I listened to the fans on how to make television, 'Star Trek' would be shit."

    But look to ENT for the same problem. Even though Scott Bakula had an iron-clad, standard, five-year contract, he complained bitterly (two years running) about the long hours away from his family, and that few other shows were doing 26 episodes per season any more - and the producers bowed to his wishes and reduced the number of episodes in Season Three (by two) and Season Four (by four) partly to appease him.
     
    Last edited: Apr 4, 2011
  13. sonak

    sonak Vice Admiral Admiral

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    the reason T.V. shows started doing less episodes was because it reduced the workload on the actors and actresses? That's kind of cool if true, I just assumed it was because it saved money.
     
  14. ShatnersToupee

    ShatnersToupee Lieutenant Red Shirt

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    The stuff about 3-year vs 6-year contracts has me confused. Patrick Stewart says he signed a 6-year contract. But weren't the Voyager actors under 3-year contracts? Wasn't that how they were able to say that Jennifer Lien wasn't technically fired? Did the producers or studio change from having 6-year contracts to 3-year ones? Also, I could've sworn I saw an interview with Michael Piller where he talks about writing BOBW and he confirms that Stewart might not be returning for season 4. I just wish I could remember where I saw that interview.
     
  15. Therin of Andor

    Therin of Andor Admiral Admiral

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    One of the reasons. There were several interviews with, and about, Bakula that gave that as a reason. Long seasons can save money in other ways, such as spreading the expense of initial standing sets across more episodes.
     
  16. Therin of Andor

    Therin of Andor Admiral Admiral

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    The standard industry contract is five years.

    What studio would offer less?

    Slip of the tongue? When Stewart says "six", he probably means 5 plus an option of 1, or maybe his agent negotiated an extra year at the end of Season Three, to take account of added extras he was negotiating for back then.

    Who said? That would be incredibly shortsighted. And with VOY's low ratings, they could never have afforded contract negotiations for everyone after only three years.

    No.

    No.

    We don't know how they ended up releasing Lien. Contracts work for the studio's protection. They don't want to be lumbered with a character who proves unpopular, or an actor who proves difficult. The actor is signed to the studio for five years, but the contracts give the studios plenty of options. Lien may also have gotten some kind of payout.

    Yes, as discussed higher in the thread. But the debate was that Paramount exaggerated the situation when they realized the buzz it was creating.
     
  17. ShatnersToupee

    ShatnersToupee Lieutenant Red Shirt

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    I'm pretty sure Voyager had its actors on 3-year contracts. Bob Picardo has talked about this. As the end of Season 3 approached, he went to the producers and asked if his character was going to be invited back. As for Jennifer Lien, the "company line" I've heard over and over is that she wasn't fired. Her contract was simply not renewed, which implies that it was a 3-year contract. Also Robert Beltran, who has never been shy when it comes to discussing his views of Voyager, suggested that he was ready to leave after the third season due to poor writing. He only renewed when the producers promised better material for him, which obviously never materialized. I suspect that's why he started complaining. If he had been signed to a 5-year contract, something tells me he would've quit after season 5.
     
  18. Maurice

    Maurice Vice Admiral Admiral

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    ^^^
    There's a standard contract, but not all contracts are standard, to coin a phrase. Just because the standard series contract is five doesn't mean Paramout didn't have business reasons to go for six.
     
  19. Therin of Andor

    Therin of Andor Admiral Admiral

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    No, that implies that the contract gave the producers an option to retain (or release) the actor, perhaps at any time decided by the producers.

    My understanding (from annual convention visits by then-ST Archivist, Richard Arnold) was that, by the nature of science fiction series' very high SPFX budgets, it was very important to have good control over actors' salaries over as long a time as possible. Unless VOY was only ever planned to run three years as the flagship show of a brand new network (after TNG had had a full seven years in first-run syndication), it would be extremely shortsighted to sign the cast to less than the standard contract.

    So you reckon he signed for four more years on a handshake promise made to him at the end of Season Three?

    Sure, but it was five. "Starlog" magazine of the day reported contract renewals for the end of Seasons Six and Seven. Stewart's agent negotiated some kind of contract revision during the hiatus between "The Best of Both Worlds" two-parter, which may have put him on a sixth year before the others.