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Is Raimi trying to replace ABC/Disney?

June 11, 2010

Bridget Regan spoke to a French journalist at Monte Carlo for an article published on Allocine. The following translated segment at the end of the article has inspired fan speculations:

A few weeks ago, one of our users, lafouine152, wondered if the series was canceled. We told him we would ask you the question. Can you answer?
“Lafouine152” I do not think that the Seeker will continue his adventures, at least, not with ABC – Disney, which produced the series so far. But if a new producer showed his interest, perhaps it would be different. It would even be the only way to continue the show. After all, I have not yet been released from my contract. Unfortunately this does not seem to take this direction …

If you want to read the article directly, and you don’t read French, you can use sites like Babelfish and Google Translate to do so. Google’s Chrome Browser automatically offers to translate pages when it detects a foreign language.

Bridget has been quoted before as saying something about they are looking for a new producer. And that has caused some confusion for people. If Sam Raimi and Rob Tapert are the show’s producers, then why is ABC Studios the Production Company when Raimi/Tapert’s Renaissance Pictures is the Production Company?

The answer is simple: it’s simply complex. I once asked Steve Sears (Co-Executive Producer on Xena: Warrior Princess) why everyone seemed to have “producer” in their title. Did they all do the same thing? His answer was complex (but simply put is thus): “Producer” is a title that is applied to various tasks associated with producing a show. Some producers are writers; some producers are decision-makers; some producers are primarily money men.

So, yes, there are different types of producers and production companies often come together to collaborate on television shows and movies and all sorts of entertainment productions. Don’t worry about why everyone seems to be a producer or who owns the rights to what. The bottom line here is that people are still interested in putting the show back on television — but they are apparently having to make new arrangements.

Whether Disney/ABC is trying to find someone to buy its interest in the property is a question to which I don’t have the answer. It doesn’t sound to me like Raimi and Tapert want out of the Seeker production business. Maybe SyFy wanted to buy ABC’s interest, maybe not. Maybe the rights are on the auction block, maybe not.

I do know that production companies don’t always buy permanent, irrevocable rights. Sometimes there is some sort of reversion or expiration clause in these kinds of contracts. So, far example, the rights to the “John Carter of Mars” movies (based on the Edgar Rice Burroughs novels) have bounced around from production company to production company every ten years or so — whereas the rights to movies (and everything else merchandisable) based on J.R.R. Tolkien’s The Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit are permanently owned by the Saul Zaentz Company (which manages those rights through its subsidiary Tolkien Enterprises, which has nothing to do with with the Tolkien Estate or the Tolkien Trust, which are owned by the Tolkien family and administer all other rights to the Tolkien canon).

So, I hope that clears things up for you. It is starting to sound to me like there is “hope” for the Seeker but that it will probably take time to get everything sorted out.

We should continue to show our support for the show, the cast, and all the production companies even if Disney/ABC are now trying to transition out of the picture.

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