The brouhaha over casting credits has emerged once again in Stargate fandom, although instead of the infamous “Amanda Tapping should be the lead; Ben Browder is new – he should be second!” stuff that some of us remember from the distant past (where it should stay), it’s now over AT’s possible creditage (is that a word?) in SGA since she’s going to be in 14 episodes, so says one of the producers.
Anyway, fans argue left and right with no real facts to back ‘em up, but I dug up this article with a quick Googling. Rob Owen, the TV Editor at the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, did a great interview a few years back on this controversial (well, to fans) topic.
Credit where it's due
TV actors prefer billing that's first, last or with a preposition
Sunday, April 18, 1999
PASADENA, Calif. -- Everyone wants credit for the work he does, but in the world of TV, sometimes it's not enough for an actor to have his or her name in the opening credits.
Actors want top billing, but when that's not available, there are other opportunities to make them stand apart from fellow cast members. The key words are "and," "with" or "and as."
"It's an incentive beyond the salary, a perk," said Peter Golden, senior vice president of talent and casting for CBS. "It says, 'We know you're special, we'll give you special billing.' "
Ron West, an agent at International Creative Management whose clients include Juliana Margulies ("ER"), Andy Dick ("NewsRadio") and David Boreanaz ("Buffy the Vampire Slayer"), said first billing is ideal, naturally.
"Second billing becomes second most ideal and, depending on who you ask, third billing or last becomes the next most preferable," West said.
When billed last, the actor's name is usually preceded by "and," which West said is "a way of drawing attention to somebody and distinguishing a particular actor from the others.
" 'With' is thrown in when somebody else requires a certain amount of distinction and the 'and' is already given away," he said.
Golden said agents like the perk of a special credit because it makes their client feel like he or she is getting something others are not. Casting directors are happy to give that credit if it means securing a talented actor who fits the role.
Recent special billing includes Heather Locklear, who is listed as a "special guest star" on "Melrose Place" even though she's been on the show as a regular since midway through its first season.
West said a new series this season, also with co-leads, uses the same method of crediting its stars. In the opening of "Will & Grace," the names of actors Eric McCormack (Will) and Debra Messing (Grace) appear on the screen simultaneously.
"That's considered equal footing," West said. "Neither is considered more preferential than the other. It's an easy way of declaring a truce in the battle of who gets first billing."
On some programs, including "Friends," the cast is listed in alphabetical order, another way to resolve the sticky issue of who gets what billing.
Billing in a series is "a substantive deal point when you're negotiating," West said. "It's not necessarily as substantive as money, but it is something agents and representatives concern themselves with early on in negotiations."
When a TV series comes from the point of view of a single character, that actor will get first billing, even if he or she is not well known when the show premieres.
When it comes to TV show guest stars, the simplest distinction is whether an actor's name appears at the beginning of the show or as part of the end credits, West said.
Even when it's listed in the beginning, there are myriad other issues. Does the actor fall under a "featuring" credit or "guest star" or "special guest star"? Does the actor's name appear on screen by itself or with the name of another actor?
West said some actors have stronger feelings than others about how they get credited.
"My job as an actor's representative is to take advantage of the moment before they have my client under contract and get the best deal possible in as many areas as I can," West said.
Sandy Grushow, president of Twentieth Century Fox Television, said the way actors want to be credited has to do with how they want to be perceived.
"If an actor feels like they have a strong, positive cachet they're loaning to a series, but they are not the star of that show, they may want to be separated from the pack," Grushow said. "I think there is a perceived value, although I don't know that America cares."
Soooooooooooo………..the big question on the fourth season of Stargate Atlantis is who will be where in the credits? (Well, it’s something to argue about if you have nothing else to do, and yes, I’ve participated cuz well, it’s been interesting to see who believes or thinks what about this mess). It’s a given Joe Flanigan remains in his first billed perch, but with Torri Higginson now becoming recurring (according to the producers in an MGM video interview which vanished off MGM’s site when they realized they were giving away spoilers but it’s too late – fans copied ‘em everywhere), who is next up on the credits? Rachel? Jason? Will David retain his last billed credit? Will Torri stay in the credits? Where will Amanda go and will she be an “a special guest star” billed right as act I airs, or…. Well, the permutations are endless and there are many months to nitpick the point.
My feeling is that no one should be added to SGA’s main credits. Leave Joe, Torri (I hope!), Rachel, Joe and David (if you don’t know about Paul, well, um, er….)
Actually, don’t give much hoot on the credits, it’s the actual content of the show. Will Carter be there having verbal sparring bouts with McKay and thus degrade his intelligence (face it, he makes the more inappropriate remarks around her which would get him bounced out of any office nowadays). I’d rather continue to see Zelenka and McKay argue and banter, and definitely Sheppard-McKay bantering, which is the true draw for me. And please, let’s beef up – character and dialogue-wise – Teyla and Ronon. If you want to see some good Ronon stuff, wait till you see “Vengeance.” Neat stuff…
And stuff seen in the news recently (just for the heck of it)….
reports that A “strikingly unusual” new mammal has been discovered in the tree forests of Peru. The large rodent, which has been described by its finders as a “handsome novelty”, looks similar to a squirrel and yet is most closely related to spiny rats.
It is a nocturnal tree-climbing rodent with long dense fur, a broad blocky head, and a thickly furred tail. A blackish crest of fur on its crown, nape and shoulders add to its distinctive appearance.
Please don't eat the squirrels, New Jersey warns residents
TRENTON — Squirrel is off the menu. New Jersey officials are warning residents near a toxic waste dump in the northern part of the state to restrict how much squirrel they eat, two months after a lead-contaminated animal was found in the area.
A letter sent to Ringwood residents, many of whom hunt, advised them that children should not eat squirrel more than once a month, pregnant women should limit their intake to twice a month, and adults should not eat squirrel more than twice a week.
Man kept contact lenses in for a year
A Chinese man had to have his contact lenses surgically removed after he did not take them out for a year.
Liu, 40, started to wear contact lenses a year ago and never took them out because he found it difficult.
"I only have some eye drops for when they feel uncomfortable," he told Chutian City News.
Liu recently felt his eyesight was getting worse, so he bought another pair of lenses and wore them on top of the old ones.
But when his eyesight still didn't improve, he took another startling decision.
"I put a pair of used disposal contact lenses over the other two pairs in my eyes. By then, I was wearing three pairs of lenses," he said.
By the next day, Liu's eyes had reacted badly to his DIY eyecare and he finally sought medical attention.
A doctor was shocked to find the first lenses had grown into his eyes and surgery was needed to take them out.
Ugh ugh ugh!!
Meanwhile, changed the manner in which people can comment on this LJ to registered users only. Anonymous was fine until somebody decided to dump a profanity-laced insult in one comment, which I summarily deleted (IP 184.108.40.206, by the way). While I have no problem with people disagreeing, they can do it in an adult manner. My LJ, so, my decision.
Ugh, snow predicted for tomorrow. I was hoping we’d reversed coastal weather and we’d get Seattle’s former rainy status. Darn.