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Classic Releases For Second Half Of 2015 - What Should We Expect? (1 Viewer)

Frank Soyke

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With most of the releases through June presumably announced already, I thought it might be a good time to look at what we might expect for the second half of the year.


CBS/Paramount - Outside of the huge VEI licensing announcement, CBS did very little with regard to releasing classic shows on their own during the first half of the year, and I believe that will continue through the remainder of 2015. They have the next season of Bonanza announced for early June but outside of issuing box sets of already released material, they have announced nothing for the remainder of the summer on the classic front. I'm hoping they come through with the rumoured Beverly Hillbillies Season 5 release, but outside of maybe one more season of Gunsmoke or Happy Days, I don't see much more happening on the classic front from now on. Let's just hope they continue being open to licensing out some of their remaining properties (particularly the b/w ones) and VEI or some other distributor picks them up. Personally at this point I consider CBS all but out of the classic TV business.


Warner - Their vintage releases for the first half of the year were suprisingly slim and their answers to questions on their page on future releases lately have been very non committal as a whole. Most every question now is answered with the party line clearance problems answer or "we are working on it." There appears to be no movement at all on the detective shows, Mr Novak, or continuations on Alice or Falcon Crest. They promised some short lived sitcoms but thus far nothing has materialized. They are due for releases on Medical Center and Daktari but nothing has yet been announced. My prediction for them for the rest of the year is that they definitely finish Spenser and maybe the final season of Daktari, next season of Medical Center and a maybe one more season of Lawman but I'm not really expecting a bunch of suprises. I'm kind of feeling they are going the CBS route only 2 years behind. By 2017, I'm thinking they are out of the vintage TV business. It looks like they are heading that direction.


Shout/Timeless - They had a busy fall and winter but they stated they were going to be slowing down and they have. The final season of Hart to Hart is scheduled for June as is The Bold Ones but outside of The Rebel release for August, nothing else on the classic front has been announced for the remainder of the summer. Like CBS, they announce future releases at least 2 months in advance so if it hasn't been announced by now, the summer slate for them is probably pretty firm. As far as the fall, it's anyone's guess. Hoping for a few more complete series (One Day At A Time, Bunker, Diffferent Strokes, Benson, Fantasy Island?) but they could have blown their probverbial wad with this stuff and things are on the downswing on the classic front. Maybe there won't be any more complete series vintage sets.


Fox - Not wasting my time even anyalzing their so called MOD vintage TV program. It's a joke and probably won't happen Suffice it say, I hope they actually do license some of this stuff out to someone interested. so we can get things like 12 O Clock High, Julia, Judd, Green Hornet, and Peyton Place.


VEI - They look like the big players for us this fall/winter. Much coming out although we still don't know when and in what form. I just hope they continue the pattern and pick up some other stuff in the future as they have promised.


Sony and Universal - Probably nothing. Let's hope they continue to be open to licensing their classic properties to companies like Shout and VEI.


Thoughts?
 

benbess

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Thanks, FS, for this impressive but somewhat depressing summary!++
 

Frank Soyke

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Thanks Ben, Unfortunately although it's depressing, it is reality that the heyday of classic releases are behind us and vintage releases are winding down. It's been dying for a while now. There's a well done thread by Gary on the demise of b/w releases on this forum detailing just that.

It's hard to face but many of us need to come to terms that this is still a business first and not our own personal want list. Sadly, many of thew shows we still desire do not appeal to the demographic these companies are looking to tap. Many of the unreleased classic titles are 50 years old+ and we are not the target audience for these distributors anymore. As an example, while a show like 77 Sunset Strip appears in high demand on this forum, it's comparably in very low demand with the general DVD buying public most of whom have zero recollection of the show or simply don't care about a 50 year old black and white show which was never highly syndicated and stars a cast they have no name recognition with. The question then becomes, does Warner Bros plunk down the exhobritant amounts of money to license the music they will probably never recoup due to the fact that the only ones actually interested in the show are our own niche crowd? Is is worth their time and money? And that is just an example of one of the more requested titles on here. When you move down the line to the second echelon titles (One season shows, early 50's shows, etc) the potential profit for them declines more markedly.

The bottom line is whether we like it or not (and I don't), many of the shows we still clamor for are aging and being forgotten quickly everyday and the segment of society that would buy this stuff is rapidly disappearing. It's just no longer financially feasible for these distributors to keep putting this stuff out.

Sad, but true!
 

davidHartzog

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Well, there's a 77 Sunset Strip movie in development, and if it happens that might lead to a release. But I'm not holding my breath. The Travis McGee reboot went nowhere after years of development.
 

jcroy

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I too agree with the OP's assessment. Sad but probably true.


For the big movie companies (ie. Paramount, Universal, etc ...), I can only see them re-packaging old previously released stuff into complete series sets.


For example, later this year (or next year) I wouldn't be surprised if Universal releases an Emergency! complete series set, with the first two seasons redone as single-sided discs. (Over the past year or so, Universal has released complete series sets for Rockford Files, Quantum Leap, and Sliders).


In the case of Warner, it would be great if they continue releasing season sets of CHiPs. (Season 3 was released earlier this year). But I'm not counting on it.
 

LeoA

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If Emergency! is rereleased and they actually utilize the remastered transfers, it wouldn't be a bad deal for the right price.


Any prayer if it happens, of a Blu-Ray release? Not really aware of Universal doing much, if anything, with older tv shows on the format. So I'm assuming probably not.


But I suspect this one would look pretty nice in HD.

Frank Soyke said:
I'm hoping they come through with the rumoured Beverly Hillbillies Season 5 release, but outside of maybe one more season of Gunsmoke or Happy Days, I don't see much more happening on the classic front from now on.

Every time I've seen that mentioned, season 4 of Petticoat Junction is also part of the same rumor.


Frank Soyke said:
Shout/Timeless


I have no evidence to support it, but I wouldn't be surprised to see them restart negotiations for Green Acres and be the ones that bring this one to completion.


Frank Soyke said:
Personally at this point I consider CBS all but out of the classic TV business.


At least with licensing opportunities, some of the prime choices still sitting on the shelves have a fighting chance.


I would suspect to see the two Henning shows, Bonanza, and Gunsmoke be picked up by independents if/when CBS decides not to pursue further in-house releases.


It also gives My Three Sons fans room to hope, although some now obscure hits from the past like The Defenders seem pretty unlikely to ever escape.


Frank Soyke said:
With most of the releases through June presumably announced already, I thought it might be a good time to look at what we might expect for the second half of the year.


Still hoping for Make Room for Daddy to appear, for one possibility that has been rumored, that doesn't fall into the categories above.


Maybe season 1 of Ozzie & Harriet? I doubt it for 2015, but I'm hopeful that something starts to reach our hands relatively soon for this one.


The most popular era of Lassie, the late 1950's and early 1960's seasons, would surely do decently on DVD. I'm hopeful that after years of basically nothing, that this one will burst on the scene one of these days and join the likes of shows like Dennis the Menace and The Phil Silvers Show that appeared set to remain absent or stalled but were quickly finished in the latter days of this format.


Surely someone like Shout is keeping an eye on this one.
 

Dave Lawrence

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Good breakdown, Frank. I wish I could disagree with some of the gloomier assessments, but I think you're on target.


I'm glad Paramount is finally wrapping up Rockford Files this month; I hope it doesn't take a similar number of years for them to finally wrap up Perry Mason, with just 6 TV movies left. I would have thought there would be an announcement by now. Wish Gunsmoke releases would pick up speed again, but at this point I suppose we should be glad for even 1 season this year. While I hope the rumors are true for Petticoat Junction Season 4, I'll admit I'm nearing the "believe it when I see it" realm.


I feel like Warner Archives has been underwhelming so far this year with regard to TV. Very few releases and, if you're like me and not interested in their westerns or in Wanda Sykes, you've been out of luck. This month's Spenser Season 2 will be the 1st new Archive TV release I've purchased this year (although I've been gradually going back and getting the Night Court seasons). At least it seems likely that the final Spenser season will come out later this year. Hopefully the next Medical Center, too. At the start of the year I figured both of the last 2 seasons would come out this year, but now I'm guessing it will just be Season 6 for 2015. Was the merging of the Archive site with the main site a signal that the Archive program would become a lower priority to Warner, no longer warranting it's own site? Maybe not, but the output is seemingly sparse so far this year. (As far as the main Warner, I got CHiPs Season 3 earlier this year, but I don't expect to see Season 4 until at least next year.)


I mentioned in another recent thread that I'm not surprised Shout/Timeless is going to take a break from big releases, considering how much they've released in the last 6+ months. At least The Bold Ones-The Senator, The Rebel and another MST3K volume are coming this summer. Hopefully Shout's break time will be over in a few months and they'll be ready with some good end-of-year announcements.


Fox really is a joke at this point. Considering they're no longer even motivated to continue with DVDs of The Simpsons, I don't hold out much hope for anything from the 90s or earlier outside of maybe some X-Files re-releases in time for the revival. (Note: I don't care about The Simpsons, but I can't imagine the DVDs have stopped making them money.) And I wonder if Fox's relationship with Shout has hit a snag, since several shows coming out regularly through Shout have now stalled.


(One bright spot for those of us with all-region players - the Fox-owned series Picket Fences started being released in Australia last year. In the US, it stalled over 5 years ago after just 1 season, but Season 2 was released in Australia in December. So hopefully the remaining 2 seasons will come out there this year. It's not Region 1, but as with Chicago Hope, I'll take what I can get at this point.)


VEI's big plans really are what's keeping the second half of the year from looking like a dud, and there are still other shows they haven't announced yet.


There is also the possibility of a surprise or two from other sources. CPO Sharkey's release this month was certainly not something I would have expected. Hopefully Time Life also intends to put out the remaining season later on this year.


I'm hardly in danger of running out of shows to watch (and re-watch) but it would still be nice to have more promising possibilities for the future from some of these companies. VEI and Shout (even Shout on a break) appear to be the best bets for good stuff in the 2nd half of this year.
 

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I am still hoping that 'The Name of The Game' (which had a season one box set cover prepared - not that it means anything I know), and the other segments of 'The Bold Ones' will get a DVD release from Shout sometime this year...


Hopefully someone will pick up the original b/w 'The Defenders' and color TV western 'Lancer' (both CBS) if CBS are not interested themselves, while I read on one forum that CBS may release 'Gunsmoke' season 12 towards the end of the year (December possibly)


While unlikely at present I hope Jack Webb's 'Project UFO' gets a release (it was supposed to be out in 2013 but that never happened)
 

bmasters9

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Dave Lawrence said:
And I wonder if Fox's relationship with Shout has hit a snag, since several shows coming out regularly through Shout have now stalled.
Especially L.A. Law, whose first three seasons came out pretty quickly, IINM, but no more beyond that.
 

Silverking

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Interesting comments, a sort of sequel to Gary's 'Is the B/W era Coming to an End' thread.


Frank's analysis is very sound regarding demographics & profits & the slowdown/end for the black & white has now spread to later classic TV.


As for releases , its good that VEI have picked up the stalled CBS material & I imagine their future acquistions will depend on the success of those series they have already announced. Of the shows retained by CBS my understanding is that 'Beverley Hillbillies' 'Petticoat Junction' will see further releases around October & 'Gunsmoke', 'Happy Days' in December.


Warners will plod along as discussed in other posts, We may get another' Lawman' season this year & I have heard 'Colt 45.' may be coming in January & 'The Alaskans' after that. The detective shows - always had my doubts these would happen & may just end up as streaming.


The Timeless division of Shout - I have heard that they are negotiating for another B/W series (not a western) never mentioned in threads but quite popular in its day.It would be unfair to name it as it may never happen.


One other company SFM , may put out 'Wichita Town' if they can clear all the rights which are complicated. I actually emailed them about it & received a polite reply from their president confirming this so it isn't just a guess.


As for Fox & their archive program - well it isn't going to happen is it ?
 

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I think Frank's take on this is right on target. While it is depressing to be witnessing the slow down or end of classic TV on DVD, I'm taking the opportunity to pickup a few titles that I missed along the way. Stuff that at the time I couldn't work into the budget. Now that there isn't a lot on the horizon, I can finally pick these up. A couple that I'm most interested in are Mannix and Twilight Zone.


I do see Shout and VEI as the only source for any continuing classic stuff. I hope they can finish Cannon and Barnaby Jones. I'd really like to have both of those. Maybe they will pick up some more. I'd love to see Lou Grant and for those who want it, Trapper John. Not sure why these two are still sitting in the vault.
 

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Silverking said:
As for Fox & their archive program - well it isn't going to happen is it ?

Someone around here is always saying that the floodgates will be opened any second now, but I'd say that's a pretty sound take on the situation. There's no evidence that Fox is suddenly going to embrace ignored classics like 12 O'Clock High and release them through their "archives" release program.


If anything like that happens (I wouldn't necessarily rule out Fox revisiting another classic, particularly M*A*S*H, that they've already released like we're seeing with Lost in Space), it's almost certainly going to only be a licensing deal.


And it's going to only be something that has readily available transfers to work with, since that's pretty much how all these deals work out with independent publishers. None of them ever seem to be able to justify the investment the show owner wants for remastering.


So more Room 222 style deals.
 

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bmasters9 said:
Especially L.A. Law, whose first three seasons came out pretty quickly, IINM, but no more beyond that.

Wonder if the same reasons pertain to NYPD Blue.


(ie. Something along the lines of Shout and Fox not coming to an agreement on the rights).
 

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For the Western fan we've already had Dakotas, the last season of Bronco, and the first season of Lawman. Bonanza season 8 and The Rebel complete series have been announced for the Summer. The Rifleman season 3 and Gunsmoke season 12 have been reported as coming later in the year (November and December respectively). Another season of Lawman by year end would be a bonus. That's still pretty good considering a slowed down year. And we've already heard of the possibility for Colt .45 and Alaskan's for next year to go along with a most likely continuation of Lawman, Bonanza, Gunsmoke, and the Rifleman. The last season of HTWWW is still to come out at some point.


While I will probably skip Colt .45, I'm in for the rest.
 

Ron1973

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If CBS will finish out The Beverly Hillbillies and Petticoat Junction I'll be content. I'd like to see the rest of Bonanza but at least the "lost episodes" have aired untampered on Encore Western and probably will again at some point. It looks like VEI will likely finish out Barnaby Jones, so that's one off my grail list.
 

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Ron1973 said:
If CBS will finish out The Beverly Hillbillies and Petticoat Junction I'll be content. I'd like to see the rest of Bonanza but at least the "lost episodes" have aired untampered on Encore Western and probably will again at some point. It looks like VEI will likely finish out Barnaby Jones, so that's one off my grail list.

Bonanza's Lost Episodes ran from season 7 through season 14 and is missing about 50+ episodes. That is what Encore ran. Now you can get the complete seasons for those later years from Germany. Same can be said for Gunsmoke where Germany is ahead of the game in trying to complete that series as well. However, in both cases, while serviceable they are not at the same level of video quality as the region 1 remastered releases.


I think Bonanza and Gunsmoke have a good chance of being completed with respect to the HD remastering for future syndication. Whether CBS continues releasing disks throughout that time is another question entirely.
 

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LeoA said:
If Emergency! is rereleased and they actually utilize the remastered transfers, it wouldn't be a bad deal for the right price.

Interesting. I was not aware of this. (Emergency! is not a show that I followed that closely).


If Universal indeed has new HD transfers, then hopefully they'll make new updated season sets for the eventual complete series set.


I think redoing the first two seasons as single-sided dvd discs + new transfers, could make a compelling selling point for double-dipping on a complete series dvd set. (The first two seasons were originally done as double-sided flipper dvd discs).
 

Ron1973

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smithbrad said:
Bonanza's Lost Episodes ran from season 7 through season 14 and is missing about 50+ episodes. That is what Encore ran. Now you can get the complete seasons for those later years from Germany. Same can be said for Gunsmoke where Germany is ahead of the game in trying to complete that series as well. However, in both cases, while serviceable they are not at the same level of video quality as the region 1 remastered releases.

I think Bonanza and Gunsmoke have a good chance of being completed with respect to the HD remastering for future syndication. Whether CBS continues releasing disks throughout that time is another question entirely.
Ahh, I was unaware there were that many episodes missing out of the syndication package. I suppose if it comes to a worst case scenario I could do the German DVD's as it surely wouldn't look any worse than homemade SD copies.
 

phenri

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I agree with much of what Frank is forecasting. I think that most of the major studios are either winding down or have stopped releasing classic TV on DVD.


I think WB is the only major studio that will continue their releases due to their MOD program. They will only stop when they run out of shows they can release without music licensing issues. I would like for them to release their detective shows, but I'm not holding my breath.


The only other studios we can count on at this point are Shout/Timeless, Time Life, and VEI. Without them, we would have very little hope for the future.
 

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Ron1973 said:
Ahh, I was unaware there were that many episodes missing out of the syndication package. I suppose if it comes to a worst case scenario I could do the German DVD's as it surely wouldn't look any worse than homemade SD copies.

I picked up Bonanza seasons 8 through 13 from Amazon.de a while back when it looked like CBS might not continue. I wanted the David Canary "Candy" era. They are plenty acceptable if CBS completely stops with the remastered releases. However, I will continue getting the CBS releases for the quality upgrade as long as they continue and use the German releases as my backup plan.


I watched season 14 once during airing on the "Family Channel" in the mid 90's but have no interest in seeing them again. I can't watch without Hoss, and the season opener was such a downer with little recovery.
 

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