Ugh. Sunday is so boring. I tried to watch that Kim Possible movie, but I gotta watch the ending again later.. since I fell asleep. But it was a great movie up until that point.. Now I’m trapped in my room until my dad’s life-or-death-must-see football game is over. Anyway, some news:
Here’s some new Power Rangers Dino Thunder info according to the toys that are beginning to be released. The main megazord will be called the Thundersaurus Megazord, while the evil version is called the Triasaurus Rex Megazord. The 5th (White) Ranger will be called Dino Hunter (according to TVTome anyway), and his zord will be the Dino Stegazord. Also, those cool dinos that the Rangers are seen riding on in the ABC Family promo as well as the promo sheet are called Raptor Chargers… 🙂
Here‘s an article about music rights on TV DVDs (with a portion about Roswell‘s music problems):
Facing The Music: Legal Hurdles Can Keep TV Shows From Coming Out On DVD
Randy A. Salas, Star Tribune
Published November 30, 2003
More people are tuning in to TV shows on DVD than ever before. This year alone will see a projected $1.5 billion in sales in the genre, up 66 percent, with more than 450 TV titles added to the 750 or so already out.
But fans expecting the imminent release of oft-requested series such as “Beverly Hills 90210” or “WKRP in Cincinnati” might as well get comfy on their couches, because it’ll be a long wait. The reason? The amount of popular music featured in those series.
The expense of securing legal rights to these songs is “the single biggest obstacle” to releasing TV shows on DVD, said Peter Staddon, senior marketing vice president at Fox Home Entertainment, the leading seller of DVD TV series.
If you want to release a show on DVD, “count up the songs and open your checkbook,” producer Paul Brownstein advised industry insiders at the recent TV DVD Conference in West Hollywood, Calif.
The problem of “clearing” music rights predates the advent of DVD and even of home video in many cases. Back then, shows that used popular music paid for broadcast rights, and that was it. TV producers never dreamed the shows would have an afterlife on home video, where shows can be watched unedited, commercial-free and often with inviting supplemental material on DVD.
“When they were creating these shows, they didn’t pay for stuff they weren’t going to use,” said Gord Lacey, who runs a Web site devoted to TV on DVD (http://www.tvshowsondvd.com). “Now it’s coming back to bite them.”
It can affect shows from the ’60s to the ’90s, from sitcoms to dramas. “Even shows as recent as five years ago wouldn’t have necessarily cleared any of the music for anything other than the initial broadcast,” Staddon said.
Fox, which acquired “WKRP” as part of a bigger deal six years ago, gets many requests to release that 1978-82 sitcom hit on DVD, Staddon said. Trouble is, the series was set in a radio station, to a soundtrack filled with pop music.
Rights to those songs could cost “a couple of million dollars,” Staddon said. “When you amortize a couple of million dollars over, say, a couple of hundred thousand units you’d sell, [it would add] $10 per set. It makes things prohibitively expensive.”
An obvious answer is to charge an extra $10 for each set. But that can create a vicious circle, he said: The higher price might reduce sales to only 150,000 units, which means the price would have to be raised more, which means fewer units sold, and so on.
Another option is to replace the music. That has happened with DVDs of “Felicity,” “Dawson’s Creek” and MTV’s “The Real World,” Lacey said.
But while that lowers production costs, it can diminish the show’s appeal and alienate fans, Staddon said.
In the ’80s show “Wiseguy,” starring Ken Wahl, a multi-episode storyline famously concludes with an emotional scene set to “Nights in White Satin,” by the Moody Blues. But when the four-disc set was released on DVD in August, the classic rock song was replaced by a generic tune and orchestral music.
“It is such a painful omission that it hurts,” one fan of the series wrote in a Web review.
“No one was more disappointed than I,” Wahl told fans on his Web site, blaming “prohibitively excessive prices” to clear the music rights.
It was that, he added, or not release the DVD at all.
Lacey, who was involved in an upcoming DVD release of “The Kids in the Hall,” suggested a compromise.
“I think the happy medium with the music is that you try to determine what the key songs are, license them and then use replacement music for the rest,” he said.
That’s exactly what Fox is doing with the fan favorite “Roswell,” a 1999-2002 teen drama coming to DVD in February.
Instead of replacing music arbitrarily, Staddon said Fox “went back to the original show’s producer, and said, ‘Look, we’re having a problem with some of the music clearance. Can you help us with this?’
“He actually rescored some of the show with new music. Then he’s going to go on the DVD and say, ‘We did this. I think it’s a better product as a result of it. The alternative was not having it out on DVD.’ “
‘Malcolm’ in a muddle
Even current shows can be problematic. Last year, Fox released a three-disc set of the first season of “Malcolm in the Middle,” a show that debuted in 2000. The set sold well enough to merit a second-season release, but higher costs to clear the music have so far scuttled the project, Staddon said.
Brownstein, who is producing the DVD release of “The Dick Van Dyke Show,” said he didn’t have any music-rights problems with the ’60s series, which generally used a few old standards at most. But some of his TV properties are worse off, especially variety shows. One episode of the ’70s variety show “Cher” had 30 songs in it, and a Van Dyke special used 60, some just in medleys and snippets, he said.
“You add that all up, and it becomes impossible to release,” Brownstein said.
So what are the fates of these shows?
It’s uncertain, Staddon said, noting that TV producers do a much better job today of clearing music not just for broadcast but also for home video. Every show has to be treated on a case-by-case basis.
“There isn’t a blanket deal that we can put in place,” he said. “Going back to something like ‘WKRP’ — which is at a radio station, so it features lots of songs and lots of artists — each one of those songs is a separate negotiation. You could get 95 percent of the music cleared, and if one person is still holding out for something outrageous, then you’re back to square one.”
Randy A. Salas is at firstname.lastname@example.org.
© Copyright 2003 Star Tribune. All rights reserved.
I posted the whole thing here because I had a problem registering (for free) on their site to view it myself. Anyway, I hope they chose the right “key songs” to license for the DVDs, like the article claims. I’ll most likely buy all the seasons anyway, but I just wouldn’t be as happy with it if they chose the wrong songs to replace…
David Duchovny has recently done a few game reviews for Razor magazine, including the ones he’s worked on, The X-Files: Resist or Serve (due in February) and XIII (out now). In the X-Files review he mentions that filming for the next X-Files movie could start filming as soon as within the next year. Yay. Maybe I’ll pick up this issue (Dec/Jan 2004) when I visit Borders in a few weeks…
The Christina Aguilera WB special that I’m taping tonight has been pre-empted by my WB affiliate until midnight because of some crappy basketball game. Her official site has confirmed the special will be part of her Stripped…Live In The UK DVD that set for release on January 13th. 🙂 [All I’ve found so far is this small back cover art for the french version of the DVD.]
Well, my dad left for some reason (I wasn’t listening when he explained). He’s probably with that ex.. watching that basketball game or whatever. Now if you’ll excuse me, I think I’ll go into the living room and try to enjoy the big screen TV tonight.. while he’s gone.. See ya.