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Hope for The Fugitive? Paramount is willing to listen


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#1 of 33 OFFLINE   JLKINSER

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Posted May 13 2009 - 07:54 PM

I posted my review (the same one I used on this forum in The Fugitive Season Two thread) on Amazon with the same link to the contact person, Ken Ross, at Paramount/CBS. I was unable to reach him so I wrote a letter. A fellow commented on my review and he did get a hold of an upper level person at Paramount/CBS and spoke to him about the Season Two Volume Two set. I will copy his comment on my review regarding he conversation:

Mark Gaston says:
Thank you, John. I just talked with the Vice President of CBS Home Entertainment. Apparently, CBS Paramount is not REALLY sure how immense the Fuge fanbase is. By passionate Fugitive fans tactfully expressing their disappointment of the show's handling to upper management, then change is likely to occur. I told the gentleman that the people born in the 70's and 80's are keeping the interest for the show fueled. CBS has not heard from enough people regarding their displeasure of Season 2, Volume 2. Therefore, to them, no news is positive news. I let the person know that they are going to lose money with the way the show is being treated. I was told that if people seek a refund then CBS Paramount will do what they can to try and satisfy the customer. CBS Paramount doesn't think many people are lining up to watch The Fugitive. For obvious reasons, I had to refute the statement...

To me, this is VERY positive news but ONLY if we fans follow through as well! I am posting this here in hopes that all of the Fugitive fans who read this will call Paramount and send letters in hopes that they will go back and this time REALLY fix season two of The Fugitive! It is up to us! It sounds like Paramount is willing to listen and give us what we want if we show that The Fugitive has a following!

Please contact them and let them know we want The Fugitive released with all of the music intact.

Here is the info to contact them:

CBS Home Entertainment
ATTN: Ken Ross, Exec. VP & General Manager
1700 Broadway, 33rd Floor
New York, NY 10019

Leave a Voice Message:

(212) 975-3241 When transferred to an operator, ask for Ken Ross.

#2 of 33 OFFLINE   Mark Talmadge

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Posted May 13 2009 - 10:33 PM

You mean they're only willing to listen regarding the Fugitive? What about the other shows such as "The Sentinel?" What about the other shows that they have not yet released?

#3 of 33 OFFLINE   Jeff Willis

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Posted May 13 2009 - 11:06 PM

John,

Many thanks for your outstanding post. I wasn't one of the early letter writers or callers back when the music issue first became known but I am going to try with your contact info. This show's too good, imo, to pass up the attempt to get involved in communicating to CBS/P regarding the music subs in the S2 sets.

One possibility that CBS/P didn't receive many complaints about the "restored" S2V1 or S2V2 sets is that there are some that have been happy with the Rugolo portion (and not most of the library cues) of the backscore having been restored in the S2 sets. That's their right of course, since we know that there seems to be 2 distinct "camps" in these threads regarding the musuc issue. I happen to be in the other camp that requires the entire backscore (or the vast majority like the S1 sets) to be present in these CBS/P sets before I consider them restored. The restored Rugolo score with certain cues removed doesn't restore the mood of the show, imo.

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My 2 all-time favorite TV shows:
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#4 of 33 OFFLINE   Jack P

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Posted May 14 2009 - 06:19 AM

Jeff, while I'm not going to say that the current versions of S2 are perfect, I think it's a trifle misleading to say that "most of the library cues" have not been restored. The ratio is well over 60-70% for library cues, and it's only the fact that the Heyes stuff does at times tend to stick out like a sore thumb that it can perhaps fool us into thinking the percentage of restored music is lower than it actually is. "Moonchild" I felt was the worst example of where Heyes cues was present but when I watched the episode a second time just to time and gauge the amount of replacement music that was present I had to concede that more of the original cues were still in place, and they were library cues.

#5 of 33 OFFLINE   Mary_P

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Posted May 14 2009 - 07:31 AM

Thanks, John, for the contact info at CBS/Paramount.

I haven't gotten into the fray on this one because I never watched "The Fugitive" much back in the day, but this music issue has impacted my decisions about buying the series. I am interested in catching up on some classics that I missed during their original run, but the whole flap over score replacement has me shying away from this one, and I have too many other DVDs stacked up waiting to be watched to waste time and money on a radically altered product.

I may just drop CBS/P a line to let them know that this alteration has meant a "no sale" to this viewer with a casual interest in the show. I think they already know they can expect flak from fans of the show, but they should know that it affects their sales to others of us out there as well.

#6 of 33 OFFLINE   Ethan Riley

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Posted May 14 2009 - 10:55 AM

So they're willing to listen, are they? Well I hope they listen to me when I tell them I wanna light a match under them to get the Aaron Spelling shows out faster...
 

 


#7 of 33 OFFLINE   Jeff Willis

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Posted May 14 2009 - 04:09 PM

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jack P
Jeff, while I'm not going to say that the current versions of S2 are perfect, I think it's a trifle misleading to say that "most of the library cues" have not been restored....

Jack, you're right. When I was checking that post before clicking, I forgot to edit that part out. I think I was attempting to say that the amount of Heyes content was over my "line" for the S2 sets.

That said, Mary: If you try this show out with the S2's, you might well find that you'd be in the "doesn't affect me" camp with this show regarding the backscore changes. It's arguably the all-time best U.S. TV series in its class.

From what I see on the Bd, it's a very individualized issue where there are a lot of Fuge fans here that are happy with the re-issued S2V1 set with the restored "Rugolo" portion of the backscore. I will say that I'm viewing this show for the first time on DVD and the Heyes subs are a big issue with me. I have found that, in the episodes where there's more Heyes content, it's a "deal-breaker" for me as I switch to my alternate set for viewing those episodes.

On the other hand, I give CBS/P Posted Image Posted Image Posted Image Posted Image Posted Image for the S1 sets. I'm just in the camp that can't accept the music changes after the S1 releases.

ml1fyo.jpg  "Checkmate King Two, 'Out'" "Combat! A Selmur Production"

 

TV/DVD Collector, mainly 50's thru 90's with a few 2000+ shows.
My 2 all-time favorite TV shows:
"Combat!" & "The Fugitive"
My 2 all-time best blind-buys: "The Fugitive"   "The Donna Reed Show"


#8 of 33 OFFLINE   MichaelEl

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Posted May 14 2009 - 04:17 PM

I have the first season, but am undecided about buying any more sets. At $60 per season, it would cost $180 to complete the series, and I'm not sure I want to spend that much when this letter writing campaign may well lead to a *definitive* DVD or Blu-Ray collection a few years down the road.

My experience as a DVD collector is that it's generally better to forego well-known titles with audio or video problems, as the studios almost always come out with better quality releases (and usually at a lower price too!). In this case, however, I'm not sure if it's a good idea to wait, given that the economy, Blu-Ray, and time are putting a damper on the demand for classic movies and TV shows.

I sure would hate to miss out on THE FUGITIVE, as it's easily my favorite non-genre series of all time, but I also don't like the idea of being forced into buying a version with only 65-70% of the musical cues intact. IMO, Paramount should stop leading people along. They should either pull Season 2 out of the market now and announce plans for a completely restored version, or else tell fans that this version is it, period.

#9 of 33 OFFLINE   Jeff Willis

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Posted May 14 2009 - 04:22 PM

Michael,

I'm wondering about this as well....a possibility of a completly restored series set being released down the road which would affect all of the buyers of the single-season releases.

At the present time, I'm passing on the S3 sets if they're the same as the S2 sets (music content). I was able to get the S2V2 set free as a gift so that one was a no-risk for me.

ml1fyo.jpg  "Checkmate King Two, 'Out'" "Combat! A Selmur Production"

 

TV/DVD Collector, mainly 50's thru 90's with a few 2000+ shows.
My 2 all-time favorite TV shows:
"Combat!" & "The Fugitive"
My 2 all-time best blind-buys: "The Fugitive"   "The Donna Reed Show"


#10 of 33 OFFLINE   Jack P

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Posted May 14 2009 - 04:43 PM

I think we should in all fairness just see what happens with S3 because this will be the first set CBS/Paramount will have done without any 100% Heyes insertions at first (as I think we can assume was done first with S2V2 initially), and we also don't know if they have contractual langauage that will make replacement impossible as was the case with S1.

#11 of 33 OFFLINE   Sam Favate

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Posted May 15 2009 - 12:15 AM

I'm opposed to music substitutions, and I was among the first to send in for the corrected discs when they were offered. But I'm watching season 2 now, and I'd be lying if I said I wasn't enjoying the hell out of it.

#12 of 33 OFFLINE   TravisR

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Posted May 15 2009 - 01:21 AM

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jeff Willis
...a possibility of a completly restored series set being released down the road which would affect all of the buyers of the single-season releases.
Never say never but I think there's a zero chance of that happening. The most they'll do is a set that combines all the volumes into one box and maybe a bonus disc. Outside of Star Trek, Paramount doesn't seem to be re-releasing TV shows and, as good as The Fugitive is, it doesn't have the large fanbase (that buys everything over and over) like Star Trek does.

#13 of 33 OFFLINE   Jeff Willis

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Posted May 15 2009 - 05:32 AM

Quote:
Originally Posted by TravisR
Never say never but I think there's a zero chance of that happening. The most they'll do is a set that combines all the volumes into one box and maybe a bonus disc. Outside of Star Trek, Paramount doesn't seem to be re-releasing TV shows and, as good as The Fugitive is, it doesn't have the large fanbase (that buys everything over and over) like Star Trek does.

Travis, I think you're right Posted Image But I guess I'll remember that Bond movie title ("Never Say Never Again"). I'd be very surprised if CBS/P re-issued the Fugitive in a complete original music box set. But if it happened, that's one I'd buy on release day.

ml1fyo.jpg  "Checkmate King Two, 'Out'" "Combat! A Selmur Production"

 

TV/DVD Collector, mainly 50's thru 90's with a few 2000+ shows.
My 2 all-time favorite TV shows:
"Combat!" & "The Fugitive"
My 2 all-time best blind-buys: "The Fugitive"   "The Donna Reed Show"


#14 of 33 OFFLINE   michael_ks

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Posted May 15 2009 - 05:51 AM

Quote:
I'd be very surprised if CBS/P re-issued the Fugitive in a complete original music box set. But if it happened, that's one I'd buy on release day.

Agreed, Jeff. Somewhere in an alternate/parallel universe vintage fans are enjoying a complete series set of "The Fugitive" in the manner of "The Definitive 'Twilight Zone'" with 100% intact soundtrack and all the extras the series so richly deserves.

#15 of 33 OFFLINE   Harry-N

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Posted May 27 2009 - 05:00 AM

I was contacted a few weeks ago by a writer for the Wall Street Journal (Joanne Kaufman). She got my name from the Amazon review I'd written and wanted to talk to someone knowledgeable of the situation.

Her article is posted today on the Wall Street Journal:

DVDs' Fugitive Music - WSJ.com

Quote:
  • MAY 27, 2009DVDs' Fugitive Music

    Harry Neyhart watched "The Fugitive" as a kid and "it hooked me in a big way," said Mr. Neyhart of the television series, which ran from 1963 to 1967. In the 1990s, he amassed all the episodes available on VHS tape and waited impatiently for CBS Home Entertainment to bring out the DVDs.
    Season One, Volume 1 was released in 2007; Season One, Volume 2, in early 2008, and all was right with the world. Ah, but not so fast. Season Two, Volume 1 appeared in June 2008, and it quickly became apparent that something besides beleaguered Dr. Richard Kimble was on the lam: The distinctive score by jazz composer Pete Rugolo had gone missing, replaced by similar-sounding generic music. "The show was almost unwatchable," said Mr. Neyhart.
    Devoted fans of particular TV series, those folks who memorize the theme song, who know the most recondite plot particulars and who can recite the dialogue along with the cast, view every episode as sacred text. To see (or hear) any deviation in the DVD is to feel, as Mr. Neyhart put it, "violated."
    But production companies such as CBS Home Entertainment, while obviously not eager to alienate consumers, are often hobbled by music-rights clearances. Such clearances include everything from the theme song to incidental music or mood music, from a tune coming out of a jukebox or radio in the background to a song played by a band during a scene set in a night club.
    The process is sometimes sufficiently complicated to mean long delays in bringing such DVDs to market (Season one of the 22-year-old series "thirtysomething" will finally be available in August). It's sometimes sufficiently expensive -- seven figures or more for a season's worth of episodes -- to mean either that a series won't be issued on DVD at all ("The Wonder Years" is one such example) or will be issued with replacement music. This list includes "Beverly Hills, 90210," "Nash Bridges," "Melrose Place," "WKRP in Cincinnati," "7th Heaven," "Married . . . With Children," "Laverne & Shirley," "Dawson's Creek," "Happy Days," "My Three Sons" and, of course, "The Fugitive."
    Music licensing deals that were signed when those and other series went into production covered a set period of time. Certainly in the case of shows from the '60s and '70s, no one in the legal department was adding clauses about home video. "Because it wasn't contemplated back in the day, music rights weren't cleared for it. And now you get extraordinarily high quotes from publishers," said Ken Ross, executive vice president of CBS Home Entertainment.
    When it comes to music fees, there are a good many hands out, according to Marc Rashba, vice president of world-wide marketing for Sony Pictures Home Entertainment. "You can deal with the record label, the performers or their estates, the composer, the lyricist or their estates," he said. "If you're dealing with four or five parties per song and if you have a series with 75 songs across the 22 episodes of a DVD, that's a lot of negotiating."
    And a lot of money. Clearly, much depends on the piece of music in question, but the fee for each "side" of a song -- the publishing portion (technically known as synchronization) and the recording portion (technically known as master owner) -- "can run as high as $10,000 per side," said Seth Berg, CEO of South Bay Music Group, a marketing and licensing company. And one entity saying "no" can kill the whole deal. "Everyone has to be singing off the same sheet music for this to work," said Mr. Ross.
    What adds to the complications is that a popular series often gets a more generous music budget with each successive season. The result: more songs to clear for the DVD release. "It gets very costly particularly because DVDs of later seasons of a series tend not to sell as well as the earlier ones," said Mr. Rashba.
    The amount of music replacement varies from series to series. "WKRP in Cincinnati," which aired from 1978 to 1982 and chronicled the travails of a struggling radio station, featured the music of artists such as the Who, the Rolling Stones and Foreigner as played by DJ Johnny "Dr. Fever" Caravella (Howard Hesseman). The DVDs replaced all those tracks with generic music similar in tone to the original and performed by studio musicians.
    When the comedy "Married . . . With Children" went to DVD, its theme song, "Love and Marriage," the Sinatra hit by Jimmy Van Heusen and Sammy Cahn, stayed behind after the release of the second season. "Certain parties expected an increase for clearing the rights," said Mr. Rashba, declining to specify which parties. "So we commissioned a piece of music and noted it on the DVD packaging so fans knew about it up front."
    The high cost of doing business with a music publisher also pushed Mr. Rashba to jettison the "Dawson's Creek" theme as performed by Paula Cole and to substitute a tune used in the international version of the series. Further, within the body of the show he replaced "a significant amount of the music that played under the scenes. Some of these bands had their first break on the show, but that made no difference to them. They wanted what they wanted."
    For his part, Mr. Ross used the "Joan of Arcadia" theme only once at the top of the 26 episode DVD "because the music publisher asked to get paid as if it were 26 different uses. I've had situations where I've taken out the theme music entirely with people who weren't willing to come to the table and come up with something more financially palatable," he said.
    There's a fair amount of such finger pointing. Music publishers insist they have clients to protect. Those on the production side suggest that music publishers are playing hardball. "There is the attitude of 'gotcha' from the record label and music publisher," said Alan Ett, CEO of a music production company. "It's opportunistic. But they don't want to devalue their product and set a precedent for next time. And, after all, the production company thought it was important enough to have the music on the show in the beginning, so obviously they thought it had value."
    According to Kristin Durie, a vice president at EMI Music Publishing, the discordant relationship is largely a thing of the past -- at least as far as her company is concerned. Two other major publishers, Warner-Chappell and Universal, failed to respond to numerous requests for comment. "I think times have changed," said Ms. Durie. "We try to have some give and take with the studios. It's not in our best interest to have those shows sit on the shelf. The goal for us is to get as much of the original music on the DVD as possible."
    In any case, there's a happy ending for devotees of "The Fugitive." Responding to their ire, CBS Home Entertainment reinstated the Rugolo score and set up a program earlier this year that let consumers exchange the Season Two DVD with the replacement music for one with the original tracks.
    "'The Fugitive' score turned out to be a very important player in the mix of the series," said Mr. Ross. "It was more essential than in most cases. In terms of the fans, we made the wrong decision and we went to a lot of time and expense to remedy it."
    Ms. Kaufman writes about culture and the arts for the Journal .

  • It's a somewhat simplistic view of the situation, and I don't totally agree with her conclusions on everyone being satisfied with CBS's solution, but at least the problem has gotten another airing out in the press.

    Harry
    My DVD Collection

    A fugitive moves on, through anguished tunnels of time, down dim streets, into dark corners. And each new day offers fear and frustration, tastes of honey and hemlock. But if there is a hazard, there is also hope. - Closing narration to THE FUGITIVE, "Death Is The Door Prize".

    #16 of 33 OFFLINE   Hollywoodaholic

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    Posted May 27 2009 - 05:27 AM

    It sounds like she took Ross' word for it that the music was completely restored and there were no more issues with it.

    Nevertheless, it's good coverage for the topic; published in a newspaper that reaches the ears of people making these financial decisions; and Ross is now on record admitting he had to listen to fans and do something.

    Nice going, Harry.

    #17 of 33 OFFLINE   Gary OS

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    Posted May 27 2009 - 05:40 AM

    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Hollywoodaholic
    It sounds like she took Ross' word for it that the music was completely restored and there were no more issues with it.

    Unfortunately she definitely didn't have the entire story about The Fugitive issue. Or if she did, she chose to condense everything. The bottom line is that while the crux of the article is true, when it comes to The Fugitive she didn't really get the story straight. The studio was never held hostage by music rights people trying to get a piece of the proverbial pie. Ross makes it sound like CBS/P went to bat and did some hard core negotiations or something to get music cleared. And from all indications that was never the issue and not the case. With this show it was CBS/P's boneheaded decisions in the first place that made this a bad situation.

    Again, let's be clear. There were only a scant few cues (Capitol Library cues) that CBS wasn't sure about. Yet they gutted the entire backscore. That was never necessary and they know it. Even the reissued dvds have way too much backscore gutted. That's obvious.

    I can only hope the slight delay we are seeing with Season 3, V.1 means that CBS is once again rethinking the issue and we will see a return to Season 1 standards.

    Gary "and I'm still not sure 'My Three Sons' really had music rights issues either - I think that was another example of CBS/P being overly cautious and gutting backscores when it wasn't necessary" O.
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    #18 of 33 OFFLINE   Jeff Willis

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    Posted May 27 2009 - 10:24 AM

    Harry, thanks for the post on the article. How does it feel to be famous? Posted Image

    As for the article, it's good to see that the issue got press coverage as Wayne said.

    My take on the issue is still the same; I can't give CBS/P a good grade for doing the job they did and leaving some of the library que's out of the DVD releases. I give them a Posted Image for responding the the fanbase and implementing the exchange progam.

    I guess I'm one of those guys that wants to watch this show as it originally aired with the music intact. The que's were a big part of the show, imo.

    ml1fyo.jpg  "Checkmate King Two, 'Out'" "Combat! A Selmur Production"

     

    TV/DVD Collector, mainly 50's thru 90's with a few 2000+ shows.
    My 2 all-time favorite TV shows:
    "Combat!" & "The Fugitive"
    My 2 all-time best blind-buys: "The Fugitive"   "The Donna Reed Show"


    #19 of 33 OFFLINE   Steve...O

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    Posted May 27 2009 - 02:50 PM

    Harry - congrats!

    I agree with the previous posts that the article's conclusion was perhaps not entirely correct but this was still good coverage of an issue that deserves some attention (not just Fugitive per se but the broader music rights issue).

    Speaking of Fuge fans - I haven't seen any Carab posts in quite awhile...hope he's ok and just taking a break from posting. He, along with Harry, Gary, DVP and the other Fuge fans, always made these discussions interesting and informative.
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    #20 of 33 OFFLINE   Neil Brock

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    Posted May 27 2009 - 05:10 PM

    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Gary OS
    Unfortunately she definitely didn't have the entire story about The Fugitive issue. Or if she did, she chose to condense everything. The bottom line is that while the crux of the article is true, when it comes to The Fugitive she didn't really get the story straight. The studio was never held hostage by music rights people trying to get a piece of the proverbial pie. Ross makes it sound like CBS/P went to bat and did some hard core negotiations or something to get music cleared. And from all indications that was never the issue and not the case. With this show it was CBS/P's boneheaded decisions in the first place that made this a bad situation.

    Again, let's be clear. There were only a scant few cues (Capitol Library cues) that CBS wasn't sure about. Yet they gutted the entire backscore. That was never necessary and they know it. Even the reissued dvds have way too much backscore gutted. That's obvious.

    I can only hope the slight delay we are seeing with Season 3, V.1 means that CBS is once again rethinking the issue and we will see a return to Season 1 standards.

    Gary "and I'm still not sure 'My Three Sons' really had music rights issues either - I think that was another example of CBS/P being overly cautious and gutting backscores when it wasn't necessary" O.


    Agree 100%. An overreaction and just a lack of logic. Not to mention hubris in not wanting to involve any outsiders who are experts on the show. For the price of a lunch they could have brought in a couple of experts on the show who could have told them exactly what they needed to know as to which music was which. But that would have meant going out of house, which apparently they wanted to avoid at all costs. So they cost themselves a huge amount of money, got a ton of bad publicity, both for their company and the industry as a whole and badly damaged their company's reputation. And for what, just to show that they wouldn't stoop so low as to involve outsiders?


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