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Valerie/The Hogan Family: Any DVDs out there? (1 Viewer)

Caproni

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This comedy started out as VALERIE and was a star vehicle for television star Valerie Harper. Once Harper and her husband pushed the network for more money, she ended up walking out on the show hoping the producers would relinquish the money request and bring her back. A highly publicized court battle ensued, and eventually Valerie Harper was fired. The show was then re-titled VALERIE'S FAMILY and later THE HOGAN FAMILY to not involve Valerie Harper's name any longer. It lasted six seasons and enjoyed decent ratings.

This poor show seemed troubled from the start. Valerie Harper evidently had high hopes for the show ─ she was glad to be back at the head of a series, but she and her husband apparently also saw this an opportunity to make some big bucks. She never thought they'd fire her, but when she called their bluff, they axed her and brought in Sandy Duncan as her replacement. Sandy Duncan was actually a part of the series longer than Valerie Harper.

I vaguely remember some reruns of THE HOGAN FAMILY airing in some late-night time slot on one of those no-name channels that seemed to show all those forgotten shows other channels wouldn't show because no one really cared to watch them. Apparently, the show is typically called THE HOGAN FAMILY in reruns because I remember Valerie Harper being in some of the episodes.

I've hunted for some DVDs of THE HOGAN FAMILY for quite some time, but there are no official releases out. I'd assume that considering the series didn't do too well in syndication that TPTB think seasonal sets won't sell good. I can certainly buy into that logic, but I was just wondering if anyone here knew of any concrete plans to have THE HOGAN FAMILY out on DVD. There a few different bootleg sets online in different areas, but I'm sketchy of those.

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jcroy

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With this show's troubling history, I have to wonder if the Harper specific seasons/episodes are still tied up in legal disputes with her estate.
 

Caproni

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With this show's troubling history, I have to wonder if the Harper specific seasons/episodes are still tied up in legal disputes with her estate.
I believe Valerie Harper, her husband, and the network all settled outside of court, and that's when VALERIE'S FAMILY, which was originally VALERIE, officially became THE HOGAN FAMILY.

I would assume that all her rights or royalties surrounding the episodes were resolved then because I've seen the original VALERIE episodes in sporadic reruns, albeit under THE HOGAN FAMILY branding.
 

sjbradford

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Yeah, there are no legal issues around ownership of this series (Harper does have profit points in the first three seasons, including the first Duncan season). It’s just not particularly popular given its change in format.
 

Caproni

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I can understand that theory. Shows that often have troubled backgrounds and drastic cast changes don't typically do well in syndication or in home media sales. When Valerie Harper walked out on VALERIE, the network re-titled it VALERIE'S FAMILY, which I think was really a ploy of the network taking a stab at Harper by still using her name, which I'm sure the producers tried to say the had the rights to because it was the name of the show and lead character, which just happened to be the name of the star. I'm sure they had some legal jargon that specified such mess.

When it was all settled outside of the courts, it was finally decided to rebrand the show as THE HOGAN FAMILY to hopefully not entangle any further lawsuits from Harper for still using the name Valerie, and to distance the show in the mind of the audience from all the behind-the-scenes troubles. Naturally, the controversy was still sweeping the tabloids, though.

I've often wondered why the network didn't just cancel VALERIE when Valerie Harper decided to pull rank. It's not like VALERIE was really hot in the ratings, it was just doing moderately well in terms of viewership. I tend to believe the producers had two things rolling around in their minds: 1) If Harper wasn't coming back, they wanted a popular TV personality they could promote as her replacement (i.e. Sandy Duncan), or 2) They wanted to show her who was boss by still using her name in the title of the re-branded show (i.e. VALERIE'S FAMILY). Both could be plausible.

I think the reason the show lasted another four seasons was because the network wanted to "show" Valerie Harper that the show could go on and enjoy success with her part recast.

Of course, that's all theory. And it's just my theory.
 

Malcolm R

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It wasn't a Top 10 show, but it did rank #24 in the first season, which put it in the same range as Moonlighting and Falcon Crest at the time (it would improve to #20 and #22 in Seasons 3 and 4). It remained in the Top 40 for the first five seasons, and didn't really tank until Season 6 when the show moved from NBC to CBS and they programmed it on Saturday nights.
 

Caproni

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It wasn't a Top 10 show, but it did rank #24 in the first season, which put it in the same range as Moonlighting and Falcon Crest at the time (it would improve to #20 and #22 in Seasons 3 and 4). It remained in the Top 40 for the first five seasons, and didn't really tank until Season 6 when the show moved from NBC to CBS and they programmed it on Saturday nights.
And it may have even climbed higher up the charts had Valerie Harper not decided to bail on the show. While it generated interest, it probably hurt the show's reputation overall.
 

sjbradford

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During the summer prior to Harper’s departure, reruns had started climbing into the top 10. I also think it would have gone higher had she not left.

It’s definitely odd they kept going. As you mentioned, it wasn’t a particularly highly-rated show. And it was off-brand for NBC at that point. But at least part of the reason was to show that they could go on without her, and to send a message to other actors on the network.
 

MatthewA

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The name Valerie's Family also sounded too similar to Mama's Family which was back in syndication (coincidentally by Lorimar, though they didn't actually produce it) after NBC no longer wanted it.

I don't know what else to tell you about the contract Valerie and her husband had and whether home video even entered into it. WB seems to have pulled the "music rights" card to explain its absence when pressed for an answer (see also: Knots Landing and countless others), but how many episodes would that apply to unless they're talking about Roberta Flack wanting some kind of compensation for her voice being used for the theme song?

It wasn't a Top 10 show, but it did rank #24 in the first season, which put it in the same range as Moonlighting and Falcon Crest at the time (it would improve to #20 and #22 in Seasons 3 and 4). It remained in the Top 40 for the first five seasons, and didn't really tank until Season 6 when the show moved from NBC to CBS and they programmed it on Saturday nights.

It was on Sundays at first where it came in second to Murder She Wrote, a fate Family Ties would soon face when A Different World took its coveted post-Cosby timeslot. Then ALF, which Lorimar got the rights to distribute overseas but was absorbed into WB before they could syndicate it in the US, became a hit and they put Valerie on after it, and that's when its ratings shot up. But then after the Valerie/Sandy recasting brouhaha subsided, their lead-in saw writer Jerry Stahl go to rehab (as semi-depicted by Ben Stiller, whose late mother Anne Meara was on that show, in Permanent Midnight*) while other writers defected to The Simpsons, and when the ALF craze subsided, this show's ratings declined with it.

ABC, who had all the other Miller-Boyett shows, decided they would rather take a chance on a new flop of theirs than a dying former hit.** Ironically, the year Hogan moved to CBS, it was another Alf … Alfonzo Ribiero, who took over NBC Monday with The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air. I think you can guess why that's more than just a coincidence.

*Seriously, Fusco, you couldn't reach a deal with the makers of that? Mr. Chompers? That's the best replacement they could come up with?
**Case in point: the last season of Diff'rent Strokes.
 
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Neil Brock

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To the original poster: So in the 35 or so years since the show aired, you haven't had any opportunity to record the series yourself in any video format? No offense, but there are other ways of obtaining a show you like for yourself, other than praying for TPTB, as you call them, or bootleggers and their multi-generational copies. Not a show I ever cared about but I'm sure that even if you couldn't record them off-network, that they've re-aired since.
 

jcroy

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To the original poster: So in the 35 or so years since the show aired, you haven't had any opportunity to record the series yourself in any video format? No offense, but there are other ways of obtaining a show you like for yourself, other than praying for TPTB, as you call them, or bootleggers and their multi-generational copies. Not a show I ever cared about but I'm sure that even if you couldn't record them off-network, that they've re-aired since.

Not everyone is a hardcore fan/collector like yourself NeilBrock.

:)
 

MatthewA

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The last channel to rerun it was Antenna TV, a channel I do not get. From what I gather, they also squeeze the credits. PAX TV had it in the late 1990s along with Here's Lucy; they removed the credits altogether and retyped them without the theme music in a tiny, fast-moving, and barely readable box, just like the broadcast networks have been doing since around that time. Both were the edited-for-syndication versions and used the Sandy Duncan-era title for all episodes. Between them, I have no recollection of who showed it, only that Nick @ Nite and TV Land never bothered.

One should not have to break the law in order to see it.
 
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DVBRD

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The last channel to rerun it was Antenna TV, a channel I do not get. They also squeeze the credits. PAX TV had it in the late 1990s along with Here's Lucy; they removed the credits altogether and retype them without the theme music in a tiny, fast-moving, and barely readable box, just like the broadcast networks have been doing since around that time. Both were the edited-for-syndication versions and used the Sandy Duncan-era title for all episodes. Between them, I have no recollection of who showed it, only that Nick @ Nite and TV Land never bothered.

One should not have to break the law in order to see it.


ABC Family aired reruns very briefly; around 2006 or so. They used to air it around 7:00 or 8:00 in the morning. Remember watching a few Valerie Harper episodes and they used the "Hogan Family" title.

Quite frankly, I don't know how long the show would have lasted if Harper remained. It's kinda telling that the only thing people remember about this show is the behind the scenes drama between Harper and NBC. People might recall Jason Bateman being Harper's co-star. Some might recall the house fire episode, if only because it was one of the first post-Valerie episodes. Maybe others recall the condom episode. I agree that "Alf" may have played a part in grabbing viewers, other than Jason Bateman's squeeing fan girls.
 

MatthewA

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I was not allowed to stay up past 8:30 until the show was off the air. I couldn't even tell you which of the local stations I grew up with had it in the first wave of off-network reruns or if they had it at all.
 

Caproni

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The last channel to rerun it was Antenna TV, a channel I do not get. From what I gather, they also squeeze the credits. PAX TV had it in the late 1990s along with Here's Lucy; they removed the credits altogether and retyped them without the theme music in a tiny, fast-moving, and barely readable box, just like the broadcast networks have been doing since around that time. Both were the edited-for-syndication versions and used the Sandy Duncan-era title for all episodes. Between them, I have no recollection of who showed it, only that Nick @ Nite and TV Land never bothered.

One should not have to break the law in order to see it.
What little bit I've seen of the show in syndication, it's always been under THE HOGAN FAMILY title. I think they tried to blur the two eras of the show into a smoother transition, but I'm sure if one were actually to see it all in order, they'd see just how fractured and drastic the changes were from Valerie Harper to Sandy Duncan as the lead.

I browsed the internet to see if I could find anything concerning THE HOGAN FAMILY. There are only a few clips of the show on YouTube, but very, very full-length episodes. I don't necessarily feel comfortable buying illegal copies, so I'm going to bypass it. If any episodes were online anywhere, I'd watch them that way.

It's interesting you mention HERE'S LUCY, another sitcom that's gotten relatively little exposure in syndication. It was very popular during its original 1968─74 run, but was barely in reruns past the mid-1980s. Lucille Ball's I LOVE LUCY was raking in major syndication dollars, as was THE LUCY SHOW (although most networks preferred showing those star-studded later episodes), and there was little room for HERE'S LUCY to thrive. It's funny, too, because I personally prefer HERE'S LUCY over THE LUCY SHOW when I want to watch Lucy in something other than I LOVE LUCY.
 

MatthewA

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That fire episode showed how badly they wanted Valerie off the show. They didn't just kill off her character, they tried to destroy as much of the evidence as they could that she ever lived.
 

Caproni

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That fire episode showed how badly they wanted Valerie off the show. They didn't just kill off her character, they tried to destroy as much of the evidence as they could that she ever lived.
They had Sandy Duncan, and maybe they wanted to erase Valerie Harper and morph the show into "The Sandy Duncan Show".
 

Caproni

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I've often wondered about how the Sandy Duncan situation was ironed out. Apparently she was already under contract to NBC to star in a comedy, and the network decided to usher her into the troubled VALERIE (which would naturally undergo two subsequent title changes) as an "easier" way at bypassing all the pilot and green-lighting process of a new show. Personally I don't know if I would have liked that had I been Sandy Duncan back in 1987. If I was contracted to star in my own show, I'd want my own show. But maybe that's why the writers and producers did everything they possibly could to erase Valerie Harper's existence on the show once Duncan was at the helm. That's all theory with some personal side notes tossed in there, too.

There's also a part of me that thinks NBC brought in Sandy Duncan two quite simply show Valerie Harper that her show could go on without her ─ which technically made it no longer her show. She walked out, and they replaced her with a thinner, blonde-haired comedienne. They probably intended it as a slap in the face, or I can at least see how they might would have presented it that way.
 

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