The Helpers' Network US

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Fan Club
Name: The Helpers Network US
Dates: 1989-2003?
Founder(s): Mark and Kimberly Hartman
Leadership: Nan Dibble
Country based in:
Focus: Beauty and the Beast
External Links: WayBack Archived links (scroll back to 2005 for the last newsletter)
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The Helper's Network US is a Beauty and the Beast fan club that was active from the late-1980s through the mid-2000s. The Network initially began as a phone hotline where fans could call to get information about efforts to protest the show's cancellation. In 1991, the Hotline was handed over to Nan Dibble who then turned it a mailing list and later a website.

One of the Helpline's more unique features, for the time, was the editor's willingness to have the information broadly disseminated and shared. In her 1998 post to the Usenet newsgroup alt.tv.beauty beast, Nan Dibble write:
"In that same context, I've recently had some requests for permission to fax or otherwise send on the information provided in these updates. For the record, and for always, YOU ALL HAVE MY PERMISSION to relay this anyplace you want. This is news FROM the fandom, FOR the fandom--just as it's always been. NO FURTHER PERMISSION IS OR EVER WILL BE NECESSARY for people to share it in whole or in part, anywhere, by any means."[1]
a flyer for, among other things, The Helpers' Network Hotline
From the 2001 website FAQ:

"The Helpers' Network Hotline, fan-driven information service, was born of fans' efforts to quickly mobilize to stave off a threatened cancellation at the end of first season in 1989. Because of the Hotline, when cancellation at last hit in January, 1990, fans were able to respond to support the show, writing and phoning potential new networks, both broadcast and cable, in overwhelming numbers. This quick mobilization and exchange of information, nationwide, was instrumental in launching a letter-writing campaign and petition drive (reportedly, over 200,000 signatures received)...In the summer of 1991, the Hartmans passed the candle to Nan Dibble, pro novelist and all-round, all-season B&B fanatic. With Mark and Kim's blessing, Nan took over the operations of Helpers' Network and its Hotline ...."

"Updated weekly and carried originally phone and now by e-mail and the Helpers' Network website (over 100,000 hits to date), Helpers' Network reports what's going on in B&B fandom--news, books, magazine articles, merchandise, fan-written fiction, poetry, and art ("fanzines"), rumor control, conventions, videos, recordings, present activities of series castmembers, the hoped-for prospect of a B&B movie or miniseries (often rumored, never delivered...so far): whatever is of interest to the fandom. News comes in from and goes out to Beauty and the Beast fans worldwide, reflecting the show's international loyal fandom. Fans ask questions, relay news tips, and pass on rumors to investigate: it's not only a message line, it's fully interactive--a way for fans to both get and give information."[2]

In 2002, Nan Dibble stepped down to pursue a writing career and Stephanie Wiltse, former publisher of the Pipeline newsletter took over.

The website supporting the newsletter went offline some time in 2004.

Hotline Updates (under the name of Helpers' Network Gazette) from 1993-1996 can be found archived here.

Hotline updates from 1997-1998 can still be found archived here at alt.tv.beauty beast

Hotline Updates from 2000-2001 can also be found archived here.

Hotline Updates from 2001-2003 can be found here.

References

  1. Nan Dibble's Helpers' Network Hotline update 5/17/98 post to alt.tv.beauty beast.
  2. Hotline History WebCite.


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