What if a cancelled series continued on in exclusive DVD season sets ?

Discussion in 'TV on DVD and Blu-ray' started by john mcfadden, Mar 31, 2005.

  1. john mcfadden

    john mcfadden Stunt Coordinator

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    Would'nt it be interesting if studios would continue a cancelled series in new season box sets ?

    Knowing that a series had a real fan base ( Like Firefly or Dead like me ) and if the $ales were there, to continue the series in direct to dvd sets ?

    I thought of this because of all the feedback you hear about feature films once released on DVD making more money in the first week of sales than its entire theatrical run .

    Could'nt this work the same way for Tv shows ?

    Im sure some folks would love to see "Arrested Development " continue - Its rumored to be cut short soon

    Just a thought....... :b
     
  2. Jeff Willis

    Jeff Willis Producer

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    This is a GREAT idea. How did you come up with this one? It's the "Einstein" of TV/DVD's [​IMG]

    I'd go for this idea in a flash. There's several series that I had liked that were cancelled and might have been profitible on the "direct-to-DVD" market.
     
  3. Casey Trowbridg

    Casey Trowbridg Lead Actor

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    This idea has been tossed about before, I think David Lambert might have even hinted about such a scenario in an editorial collumn or something for TSoD.com

    I think for certain shows this idea could probably work.
     
  4. Jon_Gu

    Jon_Gu Stunt Coordinator

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    Haven't there been sequel movies made and released only on DVD? I'm probably thinking of some children's movies. Didn't something similar happen with some of the Olsen twin's DVDs?

    I can see this working when the show doesn't have a huge cast or expensive sets/special fx.

    I'd certainly purchase a DVD set continuing a cancelled TV show that was the same price as the regular aired season sets. Who knows, once the footage had been shot, if the DVD sales were good enough I bet it would get air time somewhere.
     
  5. Gord Lacey

    Gord Lacey Cinematographer

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    It's not going to happen.

    If you figure an hour-long show costs $1 million to make, and has 22 episodes, that's $22 million. Not even the best-selling shows on DVD have made that much money. Plus, you have the added costs of authoring the DVDs.

    I've been approached about this a few times by various parties, and once they do the math they quickly realized it's not a practical business decision.

    Gord
     
  6. Joseph DeMartino

    Joseph DeMartino Lead Actor

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    And that's being conservative. A hit series on a major network in its fifth or sixth season may be paying one or more of its actors that much an episode. A FX-heavy show like Battlestar Galactica is probably north of 2 million a copy, more with a couple of "name" actors. Babylon 5 was a notoriously low-budget show, made under an edict from Warner Bros. that required it break even based on its first-run licensing fees. (Most shows lose money during their initial run, with the networks paying the studio less per episode than the studio spends. The studio makes up the difference when the show goes into syndication - if there are enough episodes to make that possible. Otherwise the studio eats the loss.) B5 (which finished production in 1998) cost a tick under $1 million an episode. The spin-off Crusade, made a year later under the same restrictions, came in at about $1.2 per. The Trek shows that aired during the same period cost between two and three times as much.

    Figure in inflation, star salaries and a willingness to deficit-finance and you realize the average half-hour sitcom probably costs more than a million bucks an episode.

    The reason TV series sets make a profit is that the basic product has already been paid for. Even a failed show that never made it into syndication has long since been written off and the actual loss off-set by the shows that did succeed. So the only costs are restoration, authoring and production for the extras. (Fo which the talent generally isn't paid.) This isn't a trivial amount, but it is managable given that 80 percent of the content of each set is basically free to the studio.

    If the studio also had to produce 22 to 26 episodes of original material to put out these sets they would, as Gord indicated, go broke. Plus which there is a real stigma in Hollywood about "direct-to-video". It is OK for kid's stuff like the Olsen Twins or those cheapo Disney sequels, but no self-respecting American studio/producer/star wants to do something that is going to be sold straight to home video or only in a foreign market with no American TV exposure. They might break even with all that ancillary income, but it doesn't advance your career if you work on a series that nobody who counts in the industry sees. So on top of the economic argument, there's that factor.

    Fox did toy with the idea of taking the 24 concept and doing a series of cheap secondary stories with unknown actors - shot cheap on the streets of Los Angeles - as a direct-to-video release. With a very low budget, the ability to piggy-back on an established franchise and the great success of 24 on both TV and DVD, this would have seemed like the show to succeed with this type of release if any show were going to. It should tell everyone something that so far nothing has come of the idea, and I haven't even heard it being discussed in over a year.

    Regards,

    Joe
     
  7. Robert Ringwald

    Robert Ringwald Cinematographer

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    You're thinking 22 episode seasons.

    I think 4 episodes of firefly (2 million each) sold at maybe 25-30 dollars a set would make a profit... but it just won't happen...
     
  8. Inspector Hammer!

    Inspector Hammer! Executive Producer

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    Interesting idea, I wouldn't mind Tru Calling continuing on DVD exclusively, however as others have said it probably won't happen.

    I would like to see some of these shows that are getting the axe get sold to another network, continue their run and then get released to DVD. Perhaps a new network is in order, one that only airs cancelled shows. [​IMG]
     
  9. john mcfadden

    john mcfadden Stunt Coordinator

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    I was'nt hitting at a full 22 ep season . More like the serials of long ago More like single discs of 8 episodes or even a 2 disc set of 12 new episodes . Dude ! It doesnt even have to be just directed to a sci fi series ! Any recent show that needed to be concluded before they pulled the plug . We all have our favorites that were gone before their time .

    For example (Even though they are both classified as sci fi series) I want to see Quantum Leap as well as Dead Like Me finalized .

    Sam REALLY comes back to the future (QL) , or George is reincarnated as a newborn because her parents got back together and.... oops her mom is pregnant (DLM) ------Whatever !!!!

    Id pay 50 bucks for a new season to see this !!

    Just me .
     
  10. Dane Marvin

    Dane Marvin Screenwriter

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    I generally agree with your hard-bitten realism there, Gord; but you can't make a blanket statement that it will never happen. There are some shows that cost a lot less to make; and in fact, the idea of direct-to-DVD episodes of Mystery Science Theater 3000 had been kicked around at one time (riffing on strictly public domain films or those that Rhino already owns rights to would only further make this more affordable to pull off). It could happen for a low-budget show that had a huge fanbase that just wasn't watching on TV at that certain date & time each week. But I agree that it wouldn't happen with major network fare because they do spend so much to produce an episode of a show.
     
  11. Gord Lacey

    Gord Lacey Cinematographer

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    Okay, what I should have said was...

    I'd be extremely surprised to see any network series carried on in DVD releases.

    It doesn't make fiscal sense for anyone to attempt to do it. They would likely have to operate on a subscription model, since they would need the funding in order to shoot the episodes, and I can't see any Hollywood actor jumping at that opportunity. Their contracts would likely have to be renewed with this new distribution model, and I think they'd rather take their chances with pilot season than chase scraps from a DVD release.

    Gord
     
  12. Jeff Willis

    Jeff Willis Producer

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    Oh well...I guess I used the "Einstein" tag too soon [​IMG] It's an interesting idea anyway...makes this forum interesting to ba a part of it [​IMG]
     
  13. Randy B A

    Randy B A Supporting Actor

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    I would like to see the studios at least release all the episodes that were filmed before being cancelled. For example I would love to see all of Wolf Lake. I must have been one of about ten people watching that show.
     
  14. Alex Wagner

    Alex Wagner Stunt Coordinator

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    I loved Wolf Lake.

    having it on dvd would be awesome
     
  15. Lynda-Marie

    Lynda-Marie Supporting Actor

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    I agree this would be a great idea. Too bad about the expense.

    What would be nice, however, would be a 2 hour movie for a cancelled series that goes directly to DVD. Say for a show that had a lot of loose ends when it was cancelled. Sell the season sets, and then make a direct to DVD movie for the fans, tying up all the loose ends.

    For instance, I would have loved to have seen an end of the war movie for Hogan's Heroes, and the direct aftermath of the liberation of Stalag 13. I think it would have been interesting to see the looks on Colonel Klink, General Burkhalter, and Major Hochstetter's faces when they realized that they had been conned, big time, by a bunch of "prisoners." Especially if they could have seen even part of the tunnel system set up. After all, considering the ratings, the show could have gone on for a while longer. And it might have made a nice apology to the fans for stopping the show so abruptly.
     
  16. Yee-Ming

    Yee-Ming Producer

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    Can you say "John Doe"? [​IMG]

    (Meaning, of course, that I'd love to see this happen for this show... before anyone misinterprets this as a statement that it's been done...)

    Ironically, in a sense Firefly is getting this treatment, not with a direct-to-video movie but a full-blown theatrical release. How ironic.
     
  17. RickER

    RickER Producer

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    The biggest reason we got a final to Farscape was because of its great DVD sales.
     
  18. todd s

    todd s Lead Actor

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    Yee, You took the words right out of my my mouth.

    Fox owes it to the fans after what they did to the producers and fans of John Doe. They told the producers not to wrap up any storylines because they were definitely coming back. They oblige and Fox cancels them. [​IMG]
     
  19. John Carr

    John Carr Stunt Coordinator

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    This is a great idea! Yes, the costs are prohibative -- for now...

    I believe TV shows on DV are in their infancy and that in a few years TV shows on DVD will earn serious bucks, maybe even up there with top movies, i.e. in the hundreds of millions of dollars. And, with their higher price, TV shows can earn much more income than any single movie DVD.

    Twenty years from now, TV shows with a strong fan/watcher base may have more than one life! I hope so. It's sad to see wonderful shows like Dead Like Me and American Dreams get cancelled and know we will never see any them again...

    Still, all in all, it's an interesting ride, this new hobby of ours. :b
     
  20. LarryDavenport

    LarryDavenport Cinematographer

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    At the very least shows that were cancelled before their 22 or 23 episodes for the season were shot could at least finish off the series for the DVDs. For instance, I am wondering if there were already four or five scripts written for Arrested Development that wound up not getting shot because Fox pulled a...well, Fox, and shortened the season.
     

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