From videobusiness.com, 6/9/04... CANNELL'S TV SERIES TO HIT DVD FORMAT Titles include 21 Jump Street, Silk Stalkings, Hunter By Scott Hettrick 6/9/2004 -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- JUNE 9 | Stephen J. Cannell has struck an exclusive long-term distribution deal with Anchor Bay Entertainment to release his TV series on DVD, such as 21 Jump Street, The Greatest American Hero and Hunter. Cannell, one of the most prolific producers of TV programming, is also one of the few who owns most of his own library (Universal owns Cannell's The A-Team and will release it on DVD soon). Anchor Bay, acquired last year by telco IDT Corp's entertainment division, has become aggressive in acquisitions and distribution deals in recent months. Last month it acquired London-based anime producer/distributor Manga Entertainment. CEO Ted Green says the Cannell library will provide a good jumpstart to the company's expanding release slate since it includes both high-profile and high-volume product. Anchor Bay will be issuing four to six DVD series sets at once, beginning with 21 Jump Street in mid-September and Silk Stalkings in early October. Two additional series sets from among Hunter, The Commish, Renegade and Greatest American Hero are tentatively slated for the fourth quarter and the other two in early 2005. As the deal has been on the table and nearly consummated for months, Anchor Bay has already been busy producing bonus features for DVD sets that will include an extensive array of cast and crew interviews, audio commentaries and making-of featurettes. Cannell, who has theatrical film productions in development on many of the series, has been actively involved in the creation of the bonus materials. Green said Cannell's production company kept the tapes of the series in such good shape that they were able to prepare them for DVD much more quickly than is often the case for some older series. Cannell has created or co-created more than 40 shows, including The Rockford Files, and written more than 450 television episodes. He has also produced or executive produced more than 1,500 TV episodes. Stephen J. Cannell Productions owns the worldwide distribution rights to more than 1,000 hours of that programming. IDT Entertainment has also been aggressively acquiring entertainment assets, mostly in the realm of animation. In addition to Anchor Bay, the company owns computer animation and effects companies DPS Film Roman, Mainframe Entertainment, Digital Production Solutions and DKP Effects. The company is in the early stages of production on two CG animated feature films, Gene Roddenberry's Starpoint Academy and a feature yet to be named, directed by Christopher Reeve. The company also has a minority equity interest in Vanguard Animation, an equity interest in Archie Comics Enterprises, a minority stake in Stan Lee's POW! Entertainment, a joint venture with the Christian Broadcasting Network to develop and distribute family-friendly programming and production and distribution deals with Todd McFarlane Productions to produce animated programming and merchandise based on Spawn and other TMP original intellectual properties.