Thanks to velasca for the heads up on the message board about this article!
**Note: Mr. Manager has confirmed to crashdown that the letter went out to the entire Roswell cast.
“Roswell” Gets Legal Nudging
by Mark Armstrong
Jul 17, 2001, 10:30 AM PT
Just how much do some Roswell cast members relish their new life at UPN? So much, apparently, that show producer 20th Century Fox needed to threaten legal action against at least one actor who didn’t show up to promote the nearly canceled sci-fi series.
After getting canned by the WB last year and then picked in the 11th hour by hand-me-down happy UPN, most of Roswell’s cast members smiled graciously for reporters Monday at the Television Critics Association Press Tour in Pasadena, California. In attendance was the show’s female contingent–Shiri Appleby, Katherine Heigl and Majandra Delfino.
But notably absent were costars Brendan Fehr and Jason Behr–and when reporters asked where they were, an awkward silence fell over the room.
That’s because it apparently takes more than free drinks at the Ritz-Carlton to get them to show up. In a letter sent anonymously to E! Online, lawyers for 20th Century Fox threatened legal action against at least one of the show’s stars if he didn’t make the media rounds in Pasadena.
“Make no mistake, such a cavalier disregard of your documented commitments to the series will not be tolerated,” the letter reads. “We are hopeful, however, that [20th Century Fox] has either been misinformed as to your intentions or, if you actually did not intend to appear at the TCAPT, that you will reconsider your ill-advised decision and agree to honor your contractual obligations.”
Although the name addressed on the letter was blacked out, sources at the studio confirm it was sent to Fehr, the 23-year-old messy-haired Canadian who plays Michael Guerin on the quirky extraterrestrial series. Another source, meanwhile, claims the letter was sent out to the entire cast.
Either way, the letter seems to make painfully clear that not everyone is thrilled that Roswell was resurrected for a third season. Of course, it’s been a running joke that most stars dread the TCA Press Tour and all its mandatory flesh-pressing. But for a series that scraped through last season on the WB (averaging 4.1 million viewers), you’d assume its stars would do anything short of dousing themselves with Tabasco sauce to get the free publicity.
“It’s very important for the network to have its stars there for a show as important as Roswell,” a studio source said. “When we were told Brendan wasn’t going to be able to attend, there was some concern.” So out came the lawyers.
Fehr apparently had a reasonable excuse for not showing up Monday: The actor is currently in his native Canada, where he’s filming public service announcements for the Ontario government warning kids about the threat of sexual abuse. The other absentee costar, Jason Behr, was also working on another project and later excused by the studio from attending the press day.
Fehr’s manager, Jim Sheasgreen, says he doesn’t know who sent the letter out to the media, but he adds carefully, “I think it’s already been expressed that not everyone was particularly excited about going back for a third season.”
As for the rest of the Roswell crew, most of the show’s stars remained mum about the subject while schmoozing at a UPN party Monday night. When asked about the letter, Shiri Appleby responded, “I don’t really want to talk about the letter. I’m here, I’m being supportive, and I don’t want to talk about any of the negativity.”
A source close to the show said the studio’s biggest concern was with Fehr, but the matter has since been dropped. “He’s a good kid,” the insider noted, “but Brendan has always been just a big pill.”
Fehr’s manager, meanwhile, insists the actor will be back in Los Angeles and ready to work when Roswell’s production begins July 23.