Warning: Does contain some Season 6 spoilers

PR Newswire

October 16, 2000

WEST HOLLYWOOD, Calif., Oct. 16 /PRNewswire/ -- The hit "Xena: Warrior Princess," syndicated television's highest rated first-run action hour, will conclude its enormously successful six-year run at the end of the 2000-01 season. Studios USA Domestic Television President Steve Rosenberg and Rob Tapert, the series creator and executive producer, made the announcement today. The series will wrap production on its full 22-episode sixth season order this spring and will air through summer 2001.

"'Xena' has been an outstanding performer for us since its September 1995 debut, finishing No. 1 among all first-run syndicated dramas for the past four consecutive seasons, and we want to see it to go out on top," Rosenberg said. "The series has been nothing short of groundbreaking in redefining the female action hero on television and has inspired a host of imitators across the television landscape. Its worldwide success is a testament to the vision and execution of Rob Tapert, his producing partner, Sam Raimi, executive producer R.J. Stewart, all the people at Renaissance and the work of the extraordinary cast led by Lucy Lawless. I can't say enough about Rob, who is one of the most incredibly talented and gifted producers I have had the pleasure to work with, or about Lucy, who is more than just the star of another TV show. She has taken her character to the level of a national cult hero."

Said Tapert, "'Xena' has been a labor of love for everyone associated with it and we've been unusually lucky in having had the freedom to explore anything we've ever wanted to try -- from high-action dramas to slapstick comedies to musicals. We're excited about the shows we're currently producing and we hope to deliver some of the best episodes we've ever done. Having said that, all of us on the show feel it will be time to move on to new creative challenges at end of this season. We have been blessed with tremendously loyal fans all over the world and we look forward to bringing them new and exciting programs in the future." Now seen in more than 115 countries, "Xena" debuted in national syndication in September 1995, with the protagonist based on a popular character introduced on Tapert and Raimi's hit companion series, "Hercules: The Legendary Journeys." "Xena" chronicles the life-and-death-and-afterlife adventures of the fierce and fearless warrior princess, played by Lucy Lawless, and her warrior bard sidekick Gabrielle, played by Renee O'Connor. In their travels through ancient imaginary lands, the two fight to protect the powerless even as they struggle with their own inner demons. The stories of their adventures blend drama with humor and feature spectacular action, cutting-edge special effects and a knowing modern-day sensibility.

The new season, which was launched in national syndication the week of Oct. 2, includes episodes in which Xena and Gabrielle return to their respective childhood homes. But instead of happy reunions, they find Xena's village of Amphipolis haunted by evil and they are sucked into a ferocious battle against Mephistopheles. This deadly confrontation leads to a fight for survival against the warrior archangels Michael, Raphael and Lucifer. When they arrive in Poteideia to find that Gabrielle's niece Sarah has been captured by the vicious raider Gurkhan, they set sail for North Africa on a dangerous rescue mission. While there, they also intervene to help unite two tribes of warring nomads in a campaign to defeat their Roman enemies.

This season will also include a highly dramatic three-episode arc that takes Xena and Gabrielle north when a Norse warrior named Beowulf approaches Xena for help. Filled with elaborate special effects, these stories involving Norse mythology will feature such entities as Odin, Grindl, Valkyries and flying horses. A Renaissance Pictures production ("Evil Dead," "Evil Dead 2," "Timecop," "Hard Target," "Army of Darkness," "Hercules: The Legendary Journeys," "Back 2 Back Action" and the upcoming feature film, "The Gift"), "Xena: Warrior Princess" is executive produced by Rob Tapert, Sam Raimi and R.J. Stewart and is exclusively distributed domestically by Studios USA Domestic Television. The series airs on more than 200 stations reaching 99% of the U.S. Studios USA (www.studiosusa.com), a division of USA Networks, Inc.'s (Nasdaq: USAI) Entertainment unit, responsible for some of the biggest drama, action, dramatic reality and talk hits on television, consists of first-run production and distribution and network development and production.

SOURCE Studios USA CO: USA Networks, Inc.; Studios USA ST: California IN: ENT

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