RJ Stewart on 100 episodes of XENA.

from the Hollywood Reporter Special Edition

Author: Rick Sherwood
Source: Hollywood Reporter Special Issue
Date: April 2000

When people point the finger of credit for the success of "Xena: Warrior Princess," they tend to aim squarely on R. J. Stewart. He wrote the pilot and many ensuing episodes, has been an ongoing force in the show`s metamorphosis, and is now one of its executive producers. It is a far cry from past professional experience - which includes "Remington Steele," some feature development and rewriting and unlike anything he has ever thought about attempting.

"That`s what interested Rob," says Stewart, looking back at the time five years ago when he hooked up with Tapert and Renaissance Pictures. "This was my first full-scale plunge into the genre. Xena had appeared as a villain on 'Hercules,' and they had put together a reel and sent it to me. I saw Lucy and thought, `She`s cool. Why not take a shot at the pilot?` It was difficult to take this very dark character and add some light, but that was part of the challenge and it became a part of the richness."

Now, five years later, he still enjoys the experience tremendously. "You know, you go on a show like this and you don`t expect it to be such an astounding success, so it has been a very pleasant surprise," he says. "My favorite part of the show is the relationships, but when I talk to people out there they say they love the mythological aspects of the show. I enjoy using the mythology, too. And, to tell you the truth, after five seasons on the air, we even now sometimes create our own mythos. That`s also very fun."

Stewart thinks the show has reached its 100th episode milestone because of the dedication and perseverance of the cast and crew, who are all willing to go that extra mile to make "Xena" sizzle. "Everyone with the show since the beginning really loved it, and we still do. Lots of competitors love the idea of getting good ratings, but we love the show. We all love it and care about it, and think it`s something special," Stewart insists. "The fact of the matter is that we are all passionate about every detail and that, I think, is one of the reasons we are head and shoulders above the competition. Unlike on so many programs, we truly care about what we do."

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