HOLLYWOOD, CA - Following on their recent announcement that the position of executive producer of the Star Trek franchise would now be determined by election, Paramount Pictures today announced the first round of candidates for the post.
"We'll be opening the field a little next week," explained company spokesman Josť Niger, "but this first round is by invitation. There are certain people in the television and movie industry who clearly deserved a chance to run. We chose them based purely on their talents. Wait, talents aren't American currency, are they? Their money, anyway.
"First off, obviously Rick Berman and Brannon Braga will be given the chance to defend their title -- this isn't an impeachment. Though if we wanted it to be, there are certainly things we could use. Particularly against Mr. Braga, who didn't even attempt to conceal his (ahem) close relationship with one of his interns when he was working on Voyager. He thinks he's so hot and Irish and we could snap him like a... but I digress.
"As for the challengers, we've invited some of the biggest names in science fiction writing. George Lucas was an obvious choice given his experience with prequels. Joss Whedon has the fanbase and can sort of do sci-fi, sort of. J. Michael Straczynski's fans wouldn't stop throwing things at us until we invited him. Those Matrix guys... the Wayans brothers, right? We invited them. The list goes on.
"Outside sci-fi, well, let me put it this way. Enterprise is about the 150th-ranked show in prime time. We invited 149 people to run for EP. Can you do that math? I thought you could.
"The remaining invitations went to people who simply stand out in their fields. Peter Jackson. Kevin Smith. Hillary Clinton. Emeril. Stephen Hawking. Weston Smythe. Colin Powell. Josť Niger. Yamamura Sadako. Satan. Farmer McDonald. See, he's always out standing in his field... get it? Heh heh. Heh heh heh. MWAHAHAHAHAHAHAH-- yes.
"Of course, our invitees are free to decline. We haven't heard from all of them yet, but we're confident we will in the near future, because we put 'RSVP' on each of their invitation cards. If anyone ignores that, there will be hell to pay. And they're rich, so they can pay it. Thank you."
We at This Just In, having illegally (shhh) obtained a copy of the full list of invitees, have contacted as many of them as possible to find out whether they will run. A total of fifteen expressed interest in the position, and those who did not had a wide variety of reasons for declining (except rock star Ozzy Osbourne, who gave no reasons and spent the entire interview picking lice out of his hair).
Star Wars god George Lucas, the first name on Paramount's list, intends to run, "but not until after I'm done making Episode III: Revenge of the Actually Pretty Decent Title. And then Episodes VII to IX. I know I said I wasn't going to make those after all, but that was before CGI reached the point where I can have the actors from the original trilogy reprise their roles. Our computers can now make Harrison Ford look like a thirty-something Han Solo, Mark Hamill and Carrie Fisher like actors with careers, and Ahmed Best like Jar Jar Binks. Did I mention I'm inserting him into the original trilogy, by the way? He shoots Greedo first."
Babylon 5 producer J. Michael Straczynski, however, will not run. "This invitation is little better than an insult. Trek stole my concept whether they did or not, and until I get a full apology, I'm not even going to consider working with them." Mr. Straczynski then posted a message to rec.arts.sf.tv.babylon5.moderated entitled "Thanks, you can stop throwing things now."
Buffy the Vampire Slayer producer Joss Whedon, who was easy to find because we were already in the Marvel Comics building, appeared intrigued but decided he would have to decline. "There are only two female characters on Enterprise, and once I killed them both, there wouldn't be any. That would get the feminists angry, especially me."
This reporter was unable to get past Lord of the Rings director Peter Jackson's press agent, who insisted that he has been featured in "This Rag Just In" too often. Since this rag will be continuing to cover the election, this presumably means he will not run.
"Larry and I were hoping to run," said filmmaker Andy Wachowski, "but the Wayans got our invite somehow, and they won't give it to us. It's too bad. We had this great idea for an episode where Archer fights an army of Will Smiths."
"I haff already done one off these," garbled California governor Arnold Schwarzenegger.
"Oh my God! They invited Trey!" shouted cartoonist Matt Stone. "Thank you very much, you bastards!" added partner Trey Parker. The pair seemed interested in running for the position: "Oh yeah. We want to get in the position," said Mr. Stone. "We like this position. Give it to us, baby. Yeahhhh."
Physicist Stephen Hawking expressed interest very, very slowly.
According to Mr. Niger, others will be permitted to apply to run for the position in about a week, giving the invited candidates a head start for their campaigning. "They get the first crack at the voters. Of course, we still haven't decided who the voters are yet, but when we do, there will be hell to pay."