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Resurrecting "Christy" - Page 1
How the Fans of Christy went Online in Their Quest and Why PAX listened
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By Catherine Marshall

Permission by PAX

By:  Cindy Klauss, co-owner of CYber SYtes, Inc., a web site design firm from Panama City Beach, Florida

Five long years, dozens of web sites, hundreds of telephone calls and thousands of letters and emails later the hard work has finally paid off for the online community of "Christy" fans who has kept the dream alive of returning this wholesome family show to the nation's living rooms.  PAX TV has listened and in November, 2000 aired the first of three Big Event movies continuing the beloved story of "Christy." In addition, PAX will be showing  two other movies May 13 & 14th (8 PM CST/MST 9 PM EST/PST) as a miniseries which will end with the highly anticipated wedding of Christy.  This amazing phoenix-like course of events proves what loyalty, determination, organization and a great Internet connection can do in these days and times for those on a mission.

PAX TV's President and CEO Jeff Sagansky recognized a good thing when he saw it--a wonderful family show for his fledgling network that came with a ready-made fan base along with the opportunity to continue the legacy of Catherine Marshall's story that held a special place in his family's heart.  After all it had been during his tenure as President of CBS that Sagansky had procured the original "Christy" series back in late 1993. Then about two years ago, the brand new PAX network was approached by John Schneider who had obtained the rights to "Christy" from the family of Catherine Marshall after the rights had reverted to the family following the expiration of a prior attachment. Schneider was very much aware at that time of the fan base and their vocal support of quality family programming, an issue that is near and dear to his own heart. Schneider says, "These fans are willing to stand up and be counted," and he has the belief that "Christy" has every possibility of competing with Network Programming based on the quality and personality of its fan base. I, for one, also believe that the fans are a valuable asset that we have over other shows."

Sagansky agrees and says the fans had stayed in close contact with himself and the network over the past few years. In response to the making of these new movies, Sagansky says PAX received an incredible amount of phone calls, letters and email. In particular there was an enormous online response concerning specific original cast members, one in particular was Stewart Finlay-McLennan, who the fans insisted be returned to the role of Dr. Neil MacNeill in the movies.

Australian born Finlay-McLennan is a favorite among the "Christy" fans. He has maintained a passion about playing MacNeill, and among the fans MacNeill is one of the most popular characters in the story.  Finlay-McLennan has experienced this fandom firsthand,  "People constantly tell me how much they love the character," and he has wanted to return to the role for the past five years. When he was brought in to meet with the PAX executives recently to discuss the new movies, Sagansky remarked to Finlay-McLennan that his fans were among the most "rabid" he had encountered during his tenure in the business.

The actor has mastered the art of staying in touch with his fans online, a detail that his fans notice and appreciate in a big way: he has a web site organized and run by the President of his fan club (Ms. Sonja Schaefer, an avid "Christy fan who just happens to be a housewife from a small town in northern Mississippi), a message board where he posts online messages to his fans to keep them abreast of his projects, and regular email posts to the members of his fan club. Concerning the fans recent outpouring of affection and efforts on his behalf, Finlay-McLennan says,  "I'm extremely grateful that people actually cared enough to support me in that way."

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