Three days to launch and we had the big SciFi/MGM marketing conference call this morning. I have to admit that, as much as I found fault with previous years’ promos that habitually gave away the big fourth act reveals, the promos that SciFi has put together this year have been great. Starting from the extended trailer they put together for Comic Con to the spots they’re running on the network, they’ve done an excellent job this year. And the fact that today’s call was not so much about the premiere (because, with three days to go, the push is already well underway) but about what SciFi is going to do to promote the show through its run – well, that was a very good sign. After all, why put so much thought and effort into a show you have no interest in picking up? Yes, it’s a good sign and everyone has done their part to get the word out – but now it’s in the hands of our fans. And, hopefully, any new fans who may be checking us out for the first time. Bottom line: it’s the ratings that will decide the fate of this show.

Well, I’m hopeful. We’ve produced what I know is our best season yet, have the full support of the MGM and SciFi machines, and, despite the fact that we’re 1) up against a network premiere, 2) airing in the Fall against the new network shows, 3) still suffering from DVR/Tivo bleed-off, 4) finally returning with new episodes after a fairly long hiatus – I’m feeling confident I’ll be able to feed the dogs for one more year. And that confidence is mirrored in the writer’s room where we have kicked off our annual pre-season premiere ratings predictions with participants ranging from the coldly realistic Rob Cooper to the brightly optimistic Brad Wright -and everyone in between.

Speaking of numbers, I’ve heard mention on more than one occasion that, statistically, one in ten people is gay. And yet, according to Iranian President Ahmadinejad, there are no homosexuals in Iran. “In Iran, we don’t have this phenomenon,”he informed his stunned audience, suggesting that the gay lifestyle simply never caught on in his homeland unlike, say, the Rubiks cube or the hula hoop. So I guess it stands to reason that if Iran, with a population of approximately 71 million people, has, oh, 0% homosexuals, then, statistically speaking and all things being equal, some other nation out there with roughly one tenth the population of Iran should boast a fully 100% gay citizenry. That’s either Paraguay or Tajikistan. Your guess is as good as mine.

You have to give President Ahmadinejad points for trying though. Realizing he was floundering, he decided to lighten the mood by suggesting he tell a joke and then offered up the following zinger: “I think the politicians who are after atomic bombs, or testing them, making them, politically they are backward, retarded.” According to Reuters: “The crowd seemed uncertain how to react. Some applauded that pacifist sentiment, others seemed befuddled by the insensitive use of the word retarded.” What Reuters failed to include in their report, however, was the unedited transcript of the ensuing few moments:

President Ahmadinejad (clearly miffed): “Seriously. That joke killed in Yemen.”
Awkward silence.
President Ahmadinejad, shifting nervously, consults his notes and then: “I see Britney in the news again. But her underwear I do not.”
Another awkward silence. Someone in the audience coughs.
President Ahmadinejad quickly: “What is the deal with doorknobs anyway? Some of them are not even knobs!”
Audience member: “You suck!”
A whistled catcall from another.
Another audience member: “Get off the stage!”
President Ahmadinejad, refolding and pocketing his notes, is overheard grousing to his aide: “When I get back to Tehran, remind me to execute my joke writer.”

And it was downhill from there.

Today’s pics: Oh, behind the scenes on Outcast and stuff around the office.

Today’s video: Click on the date to check out Martin Wood’s new toy – the techno-crane.

57 thoughts on “September 25, 2007

  1. Hey, thinking about the (hopeful) new season, how soon do you start constructing stuff for an episode after starting to write it? As soon as you’ve gotten the general idea of where an episode will be, or after you’ve gotten the script finished, or somewhere inbetween?

    Also for set pieces like the puddlejumper, do you move them to create a set, or do you constuct a needed set around it, or is it something where the picture that the viewer sees is almost always computer generated so it doesn’t matter and have a ready made one that’s always there?

  2. That’s either Paraguay or Tajikistan. Your guess is as good as mine.

    *chortle*

    Sorry, no time for my usual long-winded comments on your writings today.. am too busy whiling my life away obsessively rewatching the new clips included in some of the promos and interviews at MGm’s website (funny you should blog about promos today!) 😀

    Let’s just say the GW Shep Whump thread has suddenly recovered from the loooong hiatus lull and is in full-on Season 4 squeee-mode! (Don’t say you weren’t warned!) 😀

  3. *crosses fingers* I am sooo hoping you guys get a pick up. I’ll be watching every ep! ^___^

    “Speaking of numbers, I’ve heard mention on more than one occasion that, statistically, one in ten people is gay. And yet, according to Iranian President Ahmadinejad, there are no homosexuals in Iran. “In Iran, we don’t have this phenomenon,”he informed his stunned audience, suggesting that the gay lifestyle simply never caught on in his homeland unlike, say, the Rubiks cube or the hula hoop.”

    Well we are talking about a guy who doesn’t believe the Holocaust happened…so i was exspecting him to say something along those lines. I for one was very upset that he even had the slightest idea to visit Ground Zero. It made me sick. Thats just how i feel about it.

    Anyway, Shocker i don’t have any questions for you this time around lols. I just wish you the best.

    ~Danielle

  4. *waves*

    Block your ears Mr m, cos it’s a biggie.

    *SQUEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE*

    It’s 2am and i’m in work tomorrow, but instead, i’m about to have an aneurysm from squee overload. 😀

    Thank you. 😀

    The promo’s from MGM/Sci Fi and adverts are fantastic. Full of action, dramam suspense, and WHUMP. 😀

    I can feel another squee coming on. So i’ll leave you with a fabulous smile. You’ve made my day, heck my year!

    *hugs*

    Oh by the way, they have gay parks in Iran, they’re just not allowed to tell anyone that’s what they are. Go figure it’s a strange world. 😀

    I’m going now because i’m freaking my cats out, but I’ll leave you with this..

    *passes ear plugs to the other posters*

    SQUEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE

    *giggles*

  5. Hi Joe, I thought this might be of interest to you. The people behind the neilsen box have started up a website at http://www.heynielsen.com/. Though it probably won’t have half the impact of the boxes themselves, the very fact the website is going to be run by those guys probably means they’ll be taking at least some notice of what people’s opinions are. Probably a good place for fans to flock and spread the love?

  6. Oh so the wrait who helped Sheppard is named Todd? funny!

    Hope the show does extra well this year

    Question:

    Just watched Mrs miller and Mckay episode.
    Is that REALLY, Joe Flannigan’s laugh? you must know after working with him so long.

  7. Speaking of numbers, I’ve heard mention on more than one occasion that, statistically, one in ten people is gay.>>>>>>

    Speaking of numbers, does that mean that one in ten people on Atlantis is gay, too? And note, they would be of both sexes, wouldn’t they?

  8. Todd’s knife? Ooooh… Sweet.

    We see Wraith in The Last Man, then?

    And congrats on the positive signs— hey, what were some of your numbers? Closer to Brad’s or Rob’s? 🙂

  9. So Carl also has an alter ego in Dash Riprock,perhaps he is your arch nemesis.
    Now we have the beginnings of a super hero/villain crusade.
    Let battle commence.

    Pauline

  10. What types of things did Sci-fi/MGM mention they would be doing to help secure new viewers?

    Which other network shows do you and the rest of the crew think will offer the biggest competition for Atlantis?

  11. Joe,

    Tell Martin I love his new toy. If we can get viewers this season (S4), season 5 seems to be a lock. If viewers love the season (and us readers of your blog see no reason why they shouldn’t), then can we get a multi-year contract? Rest assured, your cats should be well fed for years to come.

    Is that Andy with the Twizzler ‘stache? It’s funny.

  12. Found your blog, so happy i did 🙂
    Can’t wait for the SG1 movies, and i can’t wait for season 4 of Atlantis!

    Been a fan since i was 9 years old, and always will be a fan until the day i die.

    Love your work!

    Tony.

  13. I apologize if you’ve covered this before, but can you explain the whole ratings thing? I’m one of the horrid DVR people. I hate to be tied to the TV (and vice versa — the damned thing is heavy). Since I suspect that many more people will be using such devices, more and more shows will be suffering from the DVR/Tivo Bleed-off. Why can this not be factored into the ratings equation? Is it a technological issue, or is it because the viewer can fast forward through the income generating commercials? Also, what effect does iTunes have on ratings? I sometimes just purchase the show from that source and watch it sans-commercials on my computer. Since there is income generated from this front, does it factor into the ratings? Finally, do you think that the ratings number is a good indicator of how many people are actually watching the show and the strength of a show’s fan
    base?

    BTW, I love Terry Pratchett (I’m currently reading “Making Money”) and your writing reminds me of his.

  14. What do you expect from politicians? The only thing laughable about them are their policies…

    – Dana

  15. Ahhh! So lovely to hear positive thoughts regarding a season 5 pickup. 🙂 After jumping on the bandwagon so late, I’m seriously rooting for nice, long, healthy run for SGA.

    Totally ready for premiere night, including the prerequisite popcorn (for me, anyway).

    As for Ahmadinejad…All I can say is that there are some truly evil people in this world.

  16. That’s either Paraguay or Tajikistan. Your guess is as good as mine.

    I would say Paraguay i mean come on take away one little letter and voila! you get where i’m going right? 😉

    Oh I was wondering if you had time if you could cruise by my blog and check it out sometime(don’t worry i’m not a fan fic writer) http://mackenziesmomma06.blogspot.com/ thanks.

    Oh on a side note if i wanted to ship you chocolate where would i ship it to?

  17. I’m crossing my fingers for a season five pick-up! Based on the clips I’ve seen, Atlantis looks like it’s going to be great.

    Wow, no homosexuals in Iran? I had no idea… I kind of hope Ahmadinejad is just saying that and doesn’t truly believe it.

    Hope you’re having a good evening.

  18. Your optimism about ratings high enough for a fifth season pickup is highly encouraging. Don’t let me down, Mr. Mallozzi.

    And, for the record, I find that hairy little Iranian goblin anything but funny.

  19. Question:

    Will we ever see the Nerd Sheppard from the alternative universe?

    Why do the team takes off the shoulder patches during missions?

  20. I’m happy but not all that surprised in SciFi’s enthusiasm in promoting the show. They haven’t had much success unveiling new shows as of late and maybe realize they need to have at least 2 good shows running on their network. I hope that means good things for SGA.

    As for Ahmadinejad…Jack O’Neill expresses my sentiments best: Oy. And without getting too political, of course he can “boast” on having 0% homosexual population. As soon as they’re discovered, they’re put to death. As are dissidents and reporters who speak out against this bastion of free speech and expression.

    Mary Beth

  21. Hi Joe
    Since when did Dr. Lee become more important to the franchise than Jack?
    Hope you do something about this in S5 and bring Jack back for a couple of episodes (it would be even better if Daniel would come too)!

  22. Hi, Joe.

    I just wanted to clarify something. Watching the show live ups the ratings, you’ve said. Is that for everyone? Or does it only apply to those with a Nielsen box? Friends who usually tivo the show where wondering.

  23. Well Joe, the Monday Central Park stakeout was a bust, partly due to the fact that I was at school at the time. Still, my sources (ok, just my uncle) said that nothing was there. I guess I should’ve expected that.

    BUT! It wasn’t a complete loss! My Stargate friend told me in class today that you guys were filming near 49th and Marine, and woooo was I excited. I was at UBC, so it was about a 10 minute drive away. Needless to say, I took the 3 hour break I had to visit the set that was so subtly named “PPI”.

    I didn’t get to see much, only the crew working around a few big houses, but I did get the chance to shout “Stargate rules!” at the lady directing traffic at the end of the 4-way stop before reaching the house. It was a grand adventure!

    Anyway, that does INDEED sound like a good sign. Of course, I don’t think SciFi have much of a choice right now. The only show on that network that’s getting “good” ratings are Eureka and ECW, and the latter isn’t even Scifi (well, it’s “fi”). Really, Atlantis is one of a 2-finger full of shows left on the network that isn’t going away by next year. From an outsider perspective, if they cancel Atlantis, the channel will be offline for good very soon.

    But we’ll see what happens. Adrift in 69 hours, and 50 minutes!

  24. *chokes* Joe, I think I love you!

    I’m thinking Paraguay… mmm, fruity Paraguay. Or maybe if you add the populations of New Zealand and Jamaica together. That could be fun.

    But yeah, as Oooober said, it’s not hard to have 0% of the population as out gays when they are put to death.

    Anyway, have fun with the premiere, I hope any ratings bets are in chocolate.

  25. *crying with laughter* what a sadistic bunch we fans are going all Squeee over one character or another getting a good whumping, I thought we LOVED these guys.
    There must be a paper on this phenomenon as well as the whole fandom thing..*meanders off to explore possibilities*

  26. Sorry Joe, going to have to be a little critical here.

    You can’t critisise the leader of a country about claiming to have zero homosexuals (regardless of how rediculous it is), when as a writer / producer you are yet to include any homosexuals or implied homosexuality to the stargate realm, be it SG-1 or Atlantis.

    Yep, you are allowed a personal opinion on the issue, but you have to be aware that your words will always be tied in some form (for the most part) to the actions as seen on the TV screen. Also, yes I get the difference between reality and a ficticious TV show, but my answer to that would be that often, with Stargate being no exception, the ficticious TV show mirrors or comments on events occuring in reality.

    Even Star Trek managed to go down the implied “gay” route, as does Dr Who, Torchwood, maybe even Bert and Ernie — Cookie Monsters good friends. When will Stargate step into the modern era and declare one of their characters, if not openly gay then “sexually ambiguous” as to their choice of partner?

  27. If it makes you feel any better Joe, I avoid most ratings whore TV.

    I unfortunately don’t get Scifi at home.. But I am risking all and making the journey to my dad’s currently cootie-filled-seasonal -cold-house just to watch the long-Awaited new season of Atlantis. That and the promise of a new Alienware component computer he put together. And maybe a cookie.

    And speaking of premieres, did you manage to catch JourneyMan. It had a Quantum Leap/NowhereMan feel to it but it does have a different twist to it which keeps the time travel idea fresh.

    But seriously, I’m ever so excited about SGA. The promos I saw at Comic Con were so awesome I can’t even remember what I saw. They were THAT awesome.

  28. Well, I can tell you that I have definitly done my part in spreading the word of the SGA premiere. Not only am I posting it on all the internet groups I am a member of, but I am also using SGA in school. I am taking an anthropology and religion class this semester, and she wants us to bring a TV show or movie that uses religion…and we get to show an entire episode.

    So, not only have I now got my group members hooked and wanting to not miss the premiere on fri…but I hope, on our presentation day 2 weeks from now, I will have others hooked as well.

    And this is not the first time I did this either. Right before the end of the mid season hiatus, I did the same thing in my Mythology class. Showed an episode, wrote an essay, and did a billboard…

    I hope this gets me at least 10 to 20 people watching it…and then they can tell their friends and so on…I hope it’s worked like that.

  29. I could not refrain!

    OK. We have some word that
    there is some bad red rope liquorice circulating in the crowd.

    Repeat, stay away from the red rope liquorice.

  30. Hi Joe,

    A couple of folks on your blog have mentioned Sees candy. I’m coming up to Vancouver next week and always bring a box for the wonderful people who work at the motel I stay in.

    Interested in trying it?

  31. Bonjour,

    Dans l’hypothèse qu’il y ait une saison 5, pourriez-vous nous promettre qu’Elizabeth sera présente ?
    Qu’il ne lui arrivera pas la même chose qu’à Ford (4 episodes et puis plur rien) !

    Merci

    PS : Lulu est adorable avec son petit bonnet !!

  32. Wow! I’ve got out of bed this morning and seen all the MGM vids they’ve put up overnight…well overnight for me!

    Suffice it to say, that my family were giving me strange looks when I started screaming in delight and sheer awe at what I saw on screen, whilst they munched on their toast! Actually, I got so carried away we were late leaving for my daughter’s school bus, but fortunately, despite some anxious driving, we made it in time, but not after I’d been chastised for watching SGA vids instead of hurrying the kids along. Ooops!

    As if I wasn’t excited enough before I saw these promo vids! The Doppelganger and Travelers clips are fantastic, and I can’t wait to see those episodes particularly. It has nothing to do with my liking of Shep whump…honest 😉

    I am so glad all the advertising is finally happening, and has stepped up a gear in the US, and my fingers, and every other available body part, are firmly crossed for the excellent ratings Adrift and Lifeline and subsequent episodes deserve. If there’s no season 5, I’ll be baffled as to why.

    Finally – DASH RIPROCK? That had me chortling, and getting strange looks from my puppy! (She’s an Atlantis fan too…well she wags her tail when the SGA theme music starts on my TV! Though maybe it’s a pavlovian response as she gets a rawhide bone when I watch it usually!)

  33. I would love to see a huge parade of drag queens go right in front of Ahmadinejad. The truly outrageous ones, too.

    You can thank your actors at Dragon*Con for recruiting at least three more fans for this year. Friends I dragged to the panels were so excited about Stargate afterwards that all of my DVD sets are being watched so they can catch up.

    Sadly, none of those friends are Nielson families, but they plan to watch live.

    ::fingers crossed::

  34. Gee, Joe Flanigan doesn’t earn much considering he works 12-14 hour days and has to live in a separate country from his family.

    Now we know why he says “there’s Malibu, and then there’s Malibu.”

  35. Hi Joe,

    First- thank you for the blog. I enjoy your comments and the beautiful pictures you post.

    I was kind of confused by your attitude towards Ahmadinejad’s comments about homosexuals, considering how uber-straight the Stargate Universe is. I can appreciate that it might be difficult considering the position of gays in the military, but SG-1 and SGA have visited a LOT of planets in their 13 years, and no one’s ever gay off world, either.

    I know, I know- it’s a sci fi show, you don’t mean to be political, how do I know that random secondary background character isn’t gay, etc. etc.

    I’m just saying.

  36. Salut joseph=)

    Elle son dr�le ces photo =D!!
    Et Martin doit �tre tr�s content de son nouveau jouer lol!!

    Je suis sur que la saison 4 va avoir des super audiances !=) elle est tellment bien!! snif,france on ne sait m�me pas quand sera diffuser la saison 3.

    Waaou! Merci pour les paroles du pr�sident Iranien!! Pas d’homosexuel en Iran?hum hum! NO comment!
    J’adore la politique =)

    Votre anniversaire est dans 20 jours!!!

    Mes question:

    1)Vous allez faire quoi pour votre anniversaire?
    2)Vous m’invitez?

    lol, heuuu…ne m’incruste pas du tout la !XD

    BISOU,BISOU* JE VOUS AIME FORT!
    A DEMAIN!! PASSER UNE BONNE JOURNEE !!! <3<3<3

  37. See this is why I love your blog, your a well rounded blogger!! No I’m not talking about your waist line! But the issues and topics that you discuss are wide ranging! Well done Joe, Well done!!

  38. I heard the “gay statistic” talk on NPR driving home the other day. I was laughing so hard I almost drove off the road! The audience was laughing it up themselves 😉 My money is on Paraguay. They have way too many bright colors, and the decors are quite coordinated!

  39. I am incredibly annoyed that I have to work Friday night! I’ll have to tape Atlantis on my crummy VCR. However, it will be nice to cap off my last day of training with some blackberry merlot and Atlantis. Here’s to Friday!

  40. About Teyla: In how many episodes will be appearing? Can you tell us which are the ones she is not?

  41. Do you consult any scientists when writing scripts? I just watched the SG-1 episode “A Matter of Time” and was blown away by the complete disregard of basic physics understanding. A planet next to a black hole would never be “sucked into it” and even if it did, would be ripped apart long before any relativity effects would be noticed on the surface. I know this is scifi, but this is a common misunderstanding of black holes among the public, and I’m sad to see it perpetuated in a show (normally) as good as the stargate series.

  42. You know that most of the German population (forgot the percentage) would except a gay chancellor but not a gay musician ? Weird, isn’t it ?

  43. I know Season 4 starts on Sept 28 on SCI FI CHANNEL and in October it airs on TMN in Canada.

    What about the rest of us CANADIAN FANS when will we get to see Season 4?

    And

    Wbo decides to show the rest of us CANADIANS who do not get SCI FI CHANNEL and TMN Stargate Atlantis Season 4?

    My sisters (I have 2) and I are big fans of the show and we feel cheated. We will probably say heck with waiting for the “SPACE CHANNEL” to air it and Download the Episodes if we grow impatient enough.

    Fran

  44. I can’t imagine why UTA would sue JoeFlanigan over what’s a relatively small amount of money by L.A./Hollywood standards. A lot of fans are just going to say that, if that’s the deal UTA got for him, Joe F. should be suing THEM. And then there’s the fact that Mr. Flanigan has been pretty open with his thoughts in public in the past, and since he evidently dumped them, he may well wind up saying a few things about UTA that they won’t be very happy about. (Oh well, if there’s a lot of publicity over this crap, then hopefully some people who aren’t watching Atlantis will tune in out of curiousity.)

  45. I agree that promotion of the show is better than it has ever been. I saw, after my recent rant, that an Atlantis-Korn contest was featured with the Halo launch. Your support of how the show has been promoted is encouraging – you guys would know what you want to see. I only want the show to be safe from cancellation. *Sigh*

  46. Hey Mr. M.,

    Just came back from a weeklong plus vacation in Washington DC area. As I was looking for something to snack on in the gift shop, a guy saw my Stargate Atlantis T-shirt and asked if I was with the show. I told him “sadly no”. I then asked him to tune for the premiere on Friday night. So even on vacation, I was doing my best to promote the show. I just hope it helps.

    Gate Geek

  47. 1)Will any questionable behavior/judgement be made by the crew this year?

    2)Do any of the crew sustain permanent scars this season? (Literal or metaphorical)

  48. When people say there are no gay characters in Stargate, it reminds me of when a friend once told me she’d never met anyone who was gay. I laughed.

    Pardon the soapbox here, but it’s a subject that pushes my buttons. Undeclared doesn’t automatically mean straight. Who’s to say the characters who’ve had heterosexual relationships aren’t bisexual? Who’s to say any of the other characters aren’t gay?

  49. Did the Asurans fix Atlantis using replicator parts? Will this have any affect on the city in the future?

  50. Hi. Will we see any Ancient/Lantean/Alteran in season 4? Btw. how do you call them when you talk about them? Ancients or Alterans or Lanteans? 🙂

  51. I don’t think Joe is entitled to go down the gay route. Why? 1, he’s an executive producer who makes the decisions and is not influenced by one particular group of fans. Also, not to tread over anyones toes , but some fans might strongly oppose homosexuality. That and, within Stargate, if a character is gay, it’s doubtful that it’ll just pass over without any comment from other characters. It really is just better to go the safe route and not offend anyone. besides, who is opposed to heterosexual relationships?

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