Q: I heard MST3K has been cancelled! Is that
true? When and how was it announced?
A: On February 24, 1999, BBI released a statement which read, in
10th season of episodes, Best Brains Inc. of Eden Prairie,
Minnesota, will close the curtain on its Peabody Award
winning series, Mystery Science Theater 3000, as the Sci-Fi
Channel will not be ordering any new programs.
"Ten years is a
great run for any
series. We've had a tremendous ride and it's time for Mike
Nelson and the 'Bots to come down to Earth," Executive
Producer and Best Brain's President Jim Mallon said
"We'd like to
thank our families,
friends and our tremendous fans for all of their support
over the years. We'd also like to thank the Sci-Fi Channel
for a great run which brought us to our 10th year."
Q: Why did Sci-Fi Channel officials decide to
stop ordering episodes?
A: Initially, network executives said the issue was
ratings, pure and simple. Later, they also noted that
the cost of acquiring the rights to movies for riffing was
getting too high. Many viewers also noticed a change in the
network after Barry Schulman -- MST3K's chief defender at
the channel -- departed, and Bonnie Hammer -- an executive
from what was then Sci-Fi's parent company, USA Networks --
took over. MST3K apparently did not fit with her vision for the network.
Q: Does BBI think
the show can be saved?
Q: So, it's over?
There will be no
new episodes of MST3K.
Q: How long did reruns of the show continue to
run on the Sci-Fi Channel?
Sci-Fi Channel and BBI
signed expired in early 2002. However, in late 2001, the two
parties signed a two-year contract extension, allowing the
Channel to continue showing reruns through the end of
January, 2004. At that time, the show ended its run on
Q: So, does that mean that some channel can
put the CC-era
reruns back on the air?
possible, that looks very unlikely. To do that, some channel
would have to find the resources to repurchase the rights to
the movies in many episodes, and having spent all that
money, they will then have to find advertisers willing to
pay enough to cover those costs and make the whole venture profitable. It doesn't seem like this business formula has much of a
Q: Did they consider making direct-to-video
A: Yes, BBI and Rhino considered that. But when they crunched
the numbers, it was clear that it wouldn't work. BBI needed a certain amount of funding to stay
in business--that is, meet the payroll, maintain its office and studio, and all the
things a business has to pay for. And Rhino
needs to be able to make enough from each sale to pay for the rights to the movie being riffed and for
duplication and distribution costs, and all the other
expenses that go into putting the videos on the market--and
make a reasonable profit. They didn't think the home video marketplace would provide that level of
revenue. The numbers just didn't add up.
Q: What happened to the idea of running an ad
in Variety asking some other channel to pick up the show?
happened, thanks to
generous donations from 145 people in 36 states, Washington
DC, Canada and one from New Zealand! A full-page
advertisement appeared in the Friday, June 18th, 1999, issue.
If you didn't have a
chance to see
click HERE to download a copy in Adobe Acrobat's PDF
here to download the Adobe Acrobat Reader
Q: Was there any response to the ad from TV
A: None that we know of.
Q: I hear that people have been writing to other
asking them to
pick up MST3K.
Have they gotten any responses?
A: Although BBI in no way encouraged them, some fans took
it upon themselves to write to various TV networks in an
effort to get them to pick up MST3K.
Every response we saw was polite but uninterested.
Q: What's happened
area on the Sci-Fi Channel's Web site?
A: It has been deleted. The
content from the
site survives on Satellite
Q: What about the "Caption
This" feature on the Sci-Fi Channel Web site?
A: In 1999,
the channel said that it would remain, stripped of its MST3K-related graphics. But ultimately it was
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