Earlier today, news hit that Nexstar Media Group had formally closed its deal to acquire 75% of The CW (with Warner Bros. Discovery & Paramount Global each retaining 12.5% ownership stakes). Along with that news also came word that Mark Pedowitz had stepped down as Chairman/CEO of the network after 11-1/2 years in charge, leading many to believe that was the final move in what will be a major programming overhaul of the networks. As we wrote earlier today, that leaves the statuses of a number of series in limbo and left wondering about their futures. One of those projects is J. Michael Straczynski's "from-the-ground-up" Babylon 5 reboot, and now JMS is offering an update to fans who were left wondering. "We ain't dead yet."
"There are still a lot of discussions going on behind the scenes, and no decision has yet been made about #B5onCWin23. As we await that decision, fans eager to see a new 'Babylon 5' series should continue to voice their support to [Nexstar Media Group] and [Warner Bros. TV]," JMS added in a tweet updating fans on where things stand. Following that, he had some kind words to share about Pedowitz, adding, "And though Mark Pedowitz is now on a new path into the future after leading the CW for 11 years, I want to thank him for his dedication to and support of Babylon 5 during all of this, right through to the events of today. He's a stand-up guy."
A Brief History of JMS's Babylon 5 Revival Project
JMS first revealed that the pilot had not been picked up but that Pedowitz spoke with him to confirm that the pilot was still in active development back in February of this year. JMS began his update by referencing the biggest news surrounding The CW over the past few weeks and how it would play a factor in "how many pilots, and what sort, could be picked up during this transition." That transition? The rumored sale of the network by Warner Bros Discovery and Paramount Global (previously ViacomCBS) to Nexstar. As JMS wrote, "pre-existing deals" and prior "commitments" would then play heavily into the decision-making.
Straczynski's series proposal focuses on John Sheridan (Bruce Boxleitner in the original series), an Earthforce officer with a mysterious background who is assigned to Babylon 5, a five-mile-long space station in neutral space, a port of call for travelers, smugglers, corporate explorers, and alien diplomats at a time of uneasy peace and the constant threat of war. His arrival triggers a destiny beyond anything he could have imagined, as an exploratory Earth company accidentally triggers a conflict with a civilization a million years ahead of us, putting Sheridan and the rest of the B5 crew in the line of fire as the last, best hope for the survival of the human race.