North Jersey Online Newspaper

23 February 2001

Fans battle on, as Xena strides into the sunset

Friday, February 23, 2001

XENA: WARRIOR PRINCESS CONVENTION: 1 to 7 p.m. Saturday and Sunday. The New York Hotel, 481 Eighth Ave., Manhattan. $20 per day, children 7 to 12 $10, children 6 and under free with parent or guardian. (818) 409-0960.

Staff Writer

For members of a television fan club, there is no greater tragedy than the cancellation of their favorite show. But area fans of the syndicated "Xena: Warrior Princess," which is being canceled at the end of a six-year run, have the opportunity to say goodbye beforehand -- at a convention in Manhattan this weekend.

"There's much weeping and wailing and gnashing of teeth," says Sharon Delaney, president of the official Xena: Warrior Princess Fan Club. "We're going to miss her dearly, but all great things must come to an end."

Studios USA has canceled the show, in part due to expanded programming on the WB and UPN -- the primary networks which air "Xena" -- thus eliminating prime-time slots for the show.

"It's hard, but it's much better that we know in advance," says Delaney. "This way there can be a final episode and some closure for fans."

Delaney has not always been a "Xena" fan. When Creation Entertainment, the merchandising company she works for, received the licensing rights to "Xena" during the second season, they needed someone to run the fan club. After watching two episodes, "The Giant Killer" and "The Greater Good," Delaney was hooked.

"Xena," played to femme-fatale perfection by Lucy Lawless, has come a long way, baby. Since first airing Sept. 4, 1995, "Xena" has conquered 115 countries and spawned more than 100 Web sites. In addition to being credited with helping redefine the TV female action hero, the show's Sapphic overtones -- particularly in its portrayal of Xena's relationship with sidekick Gabrielle -- also bent sexual-preference barriers a la "Ellen." ("The lesbians were our first fans, especially the lesbian community in New York City," Lawless told TV Guide.)

The convention Saturday and Sunday at the New Yorker Hotel in Manhattan -- which features celebrity appearances, behind-the-scenes footage, trivia and costume contests, and licensed merchandise -- offers fans a chance to glory in the show's past.

"These conventions are a daylong picnic in a world you want to inhabit," say Delaney. "It's like stepping inside a television set."

And Xenites can rest assured that, as in the case of "Star Trek," the fan club will go on.

"We will continue to give the fans and the public what they want for as long as they want it," says Delaney, " 'Xena' will always be No. 1 in our hearts."

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Celebrity speakers on Saturday are Hudson Leick, who plays Callisto, and Karl Urban, who plays Caesar and Cupid; on Sunday, William Gregory Lee, who plays Virgil, and Willa O'Neill, who plays Lila.

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Fast facts

The first episode, titled "Sins of the Past," aired Sept. 4, 1995.

"Xena: Princess Warrior" has aired in 115 countries.

Xena's "round killing-thing" is called a chakram.

TV Guide named Xena one of the 50 greatest characters ever on television.

The character was introduced in a three-episode arc of the series "Hercules: The Legendary Journeys." Her first appearance was March 12, 1995, in an episode titled "The Warrior Princess."

Prior to Xena's appearance on "Hercules," Lawless had guest-starred as Lyla, a centaur's wife.

In 1999, the series accommodated Lawless's pregnancy by having Xena become the first pregnant superhero.

The series is filmed in Lawless's hometown of Auckland, New Zealand.

"Xena" airs locally on WPIX-TV/Channel 11 (8 p.m. Saturday, 1 p.m. Sunday).

There are more than 100 Web sites dedicated to Xena. The official Web site is

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