By Jeffrey Epstein
Had the WB known it would end up losing the show to UPN, �they would have probably said, �We�re taking it out!� � jokes Whedon, referring to the show�s move to the rival network in the fall, after the WB (where Buffy was one of the network�s top-rated shows) failed to cough up the show�s requested renewal fees.
�We think that the money spent on Buffy is not only reasonable but a very good investment,� says Dean Valentine, president and CEO of UPN. �Buffy is one of the best, if not the best, shows on television.�
As for Willow and Tara, Valentine says, �the lesbian story line has not been discussed with us yet. However, it is a non-issue in terms of UPN�s purchase of the show.�
Adds Whedon: �They haven�t said anything except �Make the show like you make it.��
And he�s planning to make it better than ever, even though the title character, uh, died in the latest season�s finale. But have no fear: Gellar is returning. �Buffy is going to come back,� reveals Whedon, who also brought Buffy�s true love, Angel, back to life a few seasons ago -- and even gave him his own series. �Yes, it�s going to be as difficult and strange as it can be. And Willow�s going to have something to do with that.� Whedon also says we can expect to see Willow�s magical powers grow even stronger next season.
�Next year...shit�s gonna go down,� he says. �We�re going to see more strength in Willow than we have before. Her relationship with Tara will continue -- but the course of true love is never easy.�
�I just hope the spells are in English, because, man, those foreign languages kill me!� exclaims Hannigan. Also look for a musical (yes, you read that right) episode of the show that will include a love song from Tara to Willow.
The show is also being turned into a cartoon for Fox, but because that series will take place back in high school, expect to see a young Willow still doting on her first crush, Xander. �Every now and then we�re like, �Willow says, �I�ll have the tuna platter,� � and we laugh,� cracks Whedon. �There may be some hidden subtextual joke that keeps us amused, but it�s a show for younger kids, and we�re keeping it simple.�
That�s how Hannigan likes to keep her life too. As we leave the restaurant and make our way to the Santa Monica Pier, Hannigan puts on sunglasses (not out of pretension; it�s bright). Walking toward the renowned tourist-trap amusement area, I realize that I may be bringing the poor girl into the pits of hell. �No,� she says with a laugh. �If you don�t want to get noticed, you don�t get noticed.�
Hannigan did turn the head of her boyfriend of a year and a half, Alexis Denisof, whom she met when he guest-starred on Buffy before his landing on the show�s sister series, Angel. �He wouldn�t date me at first,� she notes. �Professionalism or whatever. So we became really good friends. But it was sort of inevitable; we�d had such a flirtatious friendship.�
The pair just got back from Fiji, where Hannigan had a chance to relax after filming Buffy and American Pie 2 simultaneously. �When I was in Fiji,� the actress says, �I started to miss everybody and wonder what was going to happen this year.�
One thing she won�t have to wonder about is the strong effect her character is having on people�s lives. �I was at the grocery store, and this woman came up to me,� Hannigan recalls. �She was with her two kids, and she said, �I just want to tell you, I�m a lesbian, and your show has done so much.� You can�t ask for anything nicer than that.�