A Primer on Who Owns What Shows

Discussion in 'TV on DVD and Blu-ray' started by Mark To, Mar 25, 2004.

  1. Mark To

    Mark To Supporting Actor

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    I constantly see posts asking about who owns shows so I will post this for the edification of our readers:

    Universal is the easiest as they have not really bought out any other studios. If a show has a Universal tag or Revue tag, its theirs.

    Fox owns their own library plus the MTM library, Four Star library, Metromedia Producers Corp. library.

    Columbia owns all of their own shows including the many great comedies from the 50s thru the 70s they produced under the Screen Gems banner.

    Now here's where it gets tricky. MGM and UA had merged in the early 80s. Turner then bought the MGM portion of the company. UA spun off on its own, calling itself MGM. All of the UA shows went to MGM, all of the MGM shows went to Turner. The only exception was a trade made. MGM traded Gilligan's Island to Turner in exchange for Fame. Turner was then gobbled up by Warner Brothers. So if you see or remember seeing a show with the MGM lion on it, its owned by WB. This of course doesn't apply to shows from the last 10-15 years but to older shows like UNCLE, Tarzan, Daktari, Dr. Kildare, etc.

    MGM owns UA shows, including the Ziv library of syndicated shows from the 50s-early 60s. MGM also owns Orion which had been Filmways, hence their release of Green Acres and Mr. Ed. But even here there are some exceptions. Petticoat Junction, which was a Filmways produced show went to Viacom.

    Warner Brothers owns all of the WB shows as well as the old MGM shows from the 50s-early 80s.


    Paramount is the biggest. Republic (formerly NTA) was spun of from NBC films. The owned NBC shows such as Bonanza, Get Smart, etc. Republic was bought by Worldvision which owned all of the ABC shows. Worldvision was bought by Spelling Entertainment. Viacom (all of the CBS shows) bought Spelling and Paramount and folded all of their holdings under the Paramount banner. This is good for them but not good for us. They just own too much.

    The only major independent left is SFM. They own things like the Danny Thomas library, some variety shows like Flip Wilson and Laugh-In and have rights to a lot of other shows that have fallen through the cracks. Oh, also I.C.E. owns the Official Films catalogue of many 50s shows.

    Any questions?
     
  2. Dane Marvin

    Dane Marvin Screenwriter

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    Great and informative post, Mark, and yes, I do have a question. What does SFM stand for and, if they own all the Danny Thomas stuff, does this mean that Paul Brownstein went to them to get permission to produce the Dick Van Dyke Show season sets? And does this also mean that they've got The Andy Griffith Show in their holdings?
     
  3. Mark To

    Mark To Supporting Actor

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    Danny Thomas Productions did not retain ownership of all of their properties. I'm not sure what happened with DVD exactly as I know Sam Denoff was also involved with trying to get the DVD rights. The official company is called Calvada Productions. I don't think that Thomas' company retained rights on Andy Griffith either. My best guess would be that it is owned by Paramount via Viacom via CBS. It could be that Griffith still retains some rights and that Paramount only owns broadcast rights. It gets tricky with these shows from 30 or more years ago as there was no such thing as home video rights since home video didn't exist.
    SFM, my guess, would stand for Stanley Frank Moger, the head of the company. They pretty much took over the properties which had been handled by Weiss Global Entertainment in the 80s.
     
  4. Mark Lx

    Mark Lx Second Unit

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    It all confuses me. Either Warner isn't making good money on all there TV releases (usually very affordable)or Paramount is missing the boat. Which is it? Someone's out to lunch (tea, dinner, breakfast, not in for a single meal).
     
  5. Malcolm R

    Malcolm R Executive Producer

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    So who owns "The Beverly Hillbillies"? Viacom or MGM?
     
  6. TimSmith

    TimSmith Auditioning

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    Thanks for the info. Sometimes it is confusing who owns what.
     
  7. Mark To

    Mark To Supporting Actor

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    Beverly Hillbillies is owned by Paramount (Viacom).
     
  8. Mark Edward Heuck

    Mark Edward Heuck Screenwriter

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    As mentioned in another thread, Paramount/Viacom own THE BEVERLY HILLBILLIES. While it was a Filmways production, ownership was held by CBS.

    To clarify, Turner bought the combined MGM/UA, but kept the pre-86 MGM library and sold the rest back, so it's not so much that UA "rechristened" themselves MGM; they just got to keep the logo while Turner kept the movies. But you are right on that odd TV swap: MGM sold GILLIGAN'S ISLAND to Turner in exchange for keeping the right to exploit POLTERGEIST and FAME for future TV series.

    Yes, a good thing to remember is that some studios may only hold broadcast rights and not DVD rights. For example, THE DICK VAN DYKE SHOW was syndicated by Viacom, but obviously they don't own it for video. This may also apply to some of the Metromedia shows that Fox inherited, such as the ANDY GRIFFITH spinoff MAYBERRY R.F.D.

    Thanks for clearing up what SFM stood for, I had always wondered about that myself. So they actually own the Weiss library too? I think Weiss owns Samuel Fuller's THE STEEL HELMET...now I know who to pester in the movie section to get that a DVD release.
     
  9. James Landau

    James Landau Stunt Coordinator

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    Thanks. I had been wondering who currently controls the Four Star library. I'd really like to see some of those great Four Star series released on DVD, starting with Richard Diamond, Private Detective and that private eyeful, Honey West.

    A third detective series that makes a great companion to these two is the 1958 series, Mike Hammer, which is a Revue produced show currently controlled by Universal. But I doubt it will ever see the light of day on DVD as Universal has so far shown absolutely no inclination to release two much more widely known and popular Revue shows: Alfred Hitchcock Presents and Thriller. (sigh) A guy can dream, can't he?
     
  10. Mark To

    Mark To Supporting Actor

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    I'm not sure of the actual breakdown but I believe that the first 51 Richard Diamonds are owned by Paramount/Viacom and the last 26 by Fox thru Four Star. Not sure how that worked exactly but maybe someone can clarify that one for us.
     
  11. Mikel_Cooperman

    Mikel_Cooperman Producer

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    Anyone know who owns the right to China Beach and Bosum Buddies?
     
  12. Matt Butler

    Matt Butler Screenwriter

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    Mikel:
    Paramount has Bosom Buddies. Dont know about China Beach though.

    Who has Cannel shows? Like Greatest American Hero?
     
  13. Malcolm R

    Malcolm R Executive Producer

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    You can go to TVShowsOnDVD.com and search to find out who owns the rights (or at least who is thought to own them) for most shows.

    According to them, "China Beach" is owned by Warner and "Greatest American Hero" is held by Stephen Cannell Productions.
     
  14. Dane Marvin

    Dane Marvin Screenwriter

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    Stephen J. Cannell Productions would still be producing their own DVD sets, like they've done with "Wiseguy", but they would find someone else to distribute them. In the case of "Wiseguy", it's a smaller distributor called Ventura Distribution.
     
  15. todd s

    todd s Lead Actor

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    Stephen Cannell has his own website

    http://www.cannell.com/home.html

    He lists all of his shows. And their is contact info. So if anyone wants to ask about his shows they can.
     
  16. Mikel_Cooperman

    Mikel_Cooperman Producer

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    I called Paramount and gave my suggestion for Bosom Buddies.
    They said eventually all their TV product will make it to DVD.
    Sent WB a letter too about China Beach.
     
  17. Mark To

    Mark To Supporting Actor

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    "I called Paramount and gave my suggestion for Bosom Buddies.
    They said eventually all their TV product will make it to DVD"

    ALL of their product? Somehow I doubt that. Maybe all of their popular product. I don't think we will be seeing Run Buddy Run, The Good Guys, Governor and JJ, To Rome with Love, The Smith Family and so on any time in my lifetime. I would settle for things like Family Affair, Love American Style, Room 222 and The Invaders.
     
  18. Erik.Ha

    Erik.Ha Supporting Actor

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    You missed one major step...

    Prior to the Viacom deal, Republic became the Home Video division of Spelling which in turn was putting out both the Spelling Library, The Republic/NTA Libarary(High Noon, Its A Wonderful Life, etc...) and some of the Worldvision titles.

    In 1998, Spelling licensed all of its home video rights (which I presume is what we're talking about)in the Spelling/Republic/WVE Catalog (about 3000 titles total) to Artisan Entertainment for a period of years which has not expired.

    However, I must compliment you on your timeline... It's the most accurate and succint Ive ever encountered outside the companies involved. It took me the first 6 months of my career to learn all that...
     
  19. Dane Marvin

    Dane Marvin Screenwriter

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    Agreed that there's no way Paramount could get all their TV product on DVD by the end of this format's time. But I think they will get a lot of the popular stuff. And, if memory serves me correctly, Bosom Buddies was shown in the trailer that Paramount played for everyone at the TV on DVD Conference. The trailer consisted of shows that Paramount says are coming soon to DVD, several of which we have heard further news about since (Happy Days, Mork & Mindy, Laverne & Shirley, etc.)
     
  20. Mark To

    Mark To Supporting Actor

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    This whole merger mania just makes it that much more difficult for shows to be released. Just look at the major titles and how it would have worked out differently if all of these companies were still seperated entities:

    WB: All of the 50s-60s detective shows and westerns

    Turner: UNCLE, Gilligan, Courtship of Eddie's Father, Kildare, Please Don't Eat the Daisies, Several very good b/w hour dramas, Tarzan, Daktari

    Republic: Get Smart, Bonanza, How to Marry a Millionaire, Car 54

    Worldvision: Fugitive, Invaders, Doris Day, Streets of San Francisco, Ben Casey, Mod Squad

    Viacom: Andy Griffith, Lucy Show, Beverly Hillbillies, Petticoat Junction, My Three Sons, Gunsmoke, Have Gun Will Travel, Rawhide, Wild Wild West, Gomer Pyle, Hogan's Heroes, Twilight Zone, Honeymooners

    Paramount: Odd Couple, Happy Days, Laverne and Shirley, Star Trek, Mission Impossible, Mannix, Brady Bunch, Love American Style, Untouchables

    Anyway, those are just a few shows off the top of my head. The point is that if they were still spread out, we could expect each company to be rolling the shows out. The way it stands now, a show like Get Smart, that would have been near the top of Republic's list, is probably not even in the Top 50 of Paramount's. Its too bad this had to happen before DVD and not 10 years after.
     

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