It’s Happening: Cop Rock Is Coming to DVD

When the news broke yesterday that Cop Rock is coming to DVD, I freely admit to being well and truly shocked. The musical drama about police officers is one of television’s most notorious flops. Just 11 episodes aired on ABC during the 1990-1991 season but despite its brief run the series has never been forgotten. It has aired several times on cable since its original network run, most recently on Trio in June 2004. Yet I doubt anybody ever expected it to be released on DVD.

Cover to Shout! Factory's DVD set Cop Rock: The Complete Series (Courtesy of Shout! Factory)

Cop Rock (Courtesy of Shout! Factory)

Shout! Factory will release Cop Rock: The Complete Series on DVD on May 17th. The 3-disc set will include the 11 episodes plus new interviews with creator Steven Bochco, co-star Anne Bobby, and others. Shout! calls the release a “cause for both celebration and a long-overdue reappraisal of a series that has been called one of the most unusual programs of all time.”

Will you be buying and enjoying Cop Rock on DVD? More importantly, if Cop Rock is on its way can NBC’s musical drama Hull High, which also ran during the 1990-1991 season, be far behind?

January 2016: The Month in Home Media

The Month in Home Media is a monthly column highlighting short-lived or rare television series, specials, miniseries or made-for-TV movies released on DVD or Blu-ray during the previous month, as well as recent additions to streaming services like Warner Archive Instant. The releases discussed in this column are encoded for Region 1 use in the United States and Canada. The Month in Home Media is published on the first Thursday of each month.

The first month of the new year was a relatively quiet one. Recent obscurity Forever (ABC, 2014-2015) was released on DVD in January, as was the slightly older Legend (UPN, 1995). Also, Warner Archive Instant added the 1972 pilot telefilm to The Delphia Bureau to its streaming collection.

DVD/Blu-ray Releases

Forever (TV Series, Warner Archive, DVD)
Forever ran for 22 episodes on ABC during the 2014-2015 season but wasn’t renewed due to low ratings. Ioan Gruffudd, Judd Hirsch, and Alana de la Garza starred. The 5-disc set contains all 22 episodes as well as deleted scenes. Manufacture-on-demand.

Legend (TV Series, Mill Creek, DVD)
This short-lived western adventure series ran on UPN for just 12 episodes between April and August 1995. Richard Dean Anderson and John de Lancie starred. The 2-disc set includes just the episodes, no bonus features.

DVD/Blu-ray News

Mill Creek has shifted the release date for Dinotopia, which the network is reissuing on DVD. The 3-disc set will be out on March 1st rather than March 15th. The short-lived ABC series was originally released on DVD back in 2002 but that set is long out-of-print (TVShowsOnDVD.com).

Streaming/Downloads

Warner Archive Instant added The Merchant of Death to its streaming collection. The telefilm aired on ABC in March 1972 and served as the pilot for The Delphi Bureau, a segment of the network’s wheel series The Men. The telefilm was released on DVD in March 2014 but to date the other eight episodes remain unavailable.

Saved By The Bell: The College Years, the prime time sequel to NBC’s popular Saturday morning sitcom Saved By The Bell has been added to Hulu’s subscription service where you can stream all 19 episodes.

Hulu also added 38 episodes of The Merv Griffin Show. They’re available for free.

Finally, Hulu added all 78 episodes of MyNetworkTV telenovela Fashion House in December 2015. It was one of the first two shows aired by MyNetWork back in 2006 when the network launched. The other was a telenovela called Desire. Fashion House aired Monday through Friday with Saturday highlight specials. A total of 62 regular episodes were aired and 12 Saturday highlight specials, plus four recap specials. All 78 episodes are available for free. I believe this is the first time any of the MyNetworkTV telenovelas have been available since they originally aired.

Hit the comments with any news about upcoming DVD/Blu-ray releases or additions to streaming services.

Cimarron City Coming to getTV

Another western TV series is coming to diginet getTV. NBC’s Cimarron City, which ran for 26 episodes on NBC during the 1958-1959 season, will join getTV’s “Saturday Showdown” western block beginning February 20th. George Montgomery, John Smith, and Audrey Totter starred. The cast also included a pre-Bonanza Dan Blocker. Cimarron City was released on DVD in March 2012 by Timeless Media Group.

getTV is also adding a new Wednesday western block starting tonight. Each Wednesday, the network will air a block of episodes from a single western. The Tall Men will kick things off tonight at 8PM ET with ten episodes. Nichols will be featured on February 10th; A Man Called Shenandoah on February 17th; and Hondo on February 24th.

You can check the getTV website to see if you have the network in your area. It is currently available in more than 70% of the country.

New Details About Super Bowl I Tapes Revealed

The frustrating and bizarre saga of the Super Bowl I tapes continues. The man who owns a pair of 2-inch quadruplex videotapes containing the only known recording of the famous game has finally come forward. The New York Times today published an article by Richard Sandomir that reveals more details about the tapes including the identity of the owner. His name is Troy Haupt and his father Martin recorded most of the CBS broadcast of Super Bowl I back in January 1967. It wasn’t until 2005 that a friend of Haupt’s suggested the tapes might be very rare and potentially valuable.

I wrote about the recovery of these tapes several years ago. At that time, the identity of the owner of the tapes was unknown but we did know that he and the NFL had seemingly come to an impasse. The owner wanted more money than the NFL was willing to pay for the tapes. Confusingly, Haupt “owns” the physical tapes but the NFL holds the copyright to the content. The NFL has threatened to pursue legal action if Haupt attempts to sell the tapes to anyone else.

Although The Paley Center for Media has a digitized, restored copy of the broadcast, it can’t do anything with it. According to a February 2015 CNN Money article, the Paley Center believes it needs both Haupt’s permission and the NFL’s permission just to allow anybody to watch the footage.

WCBW Schedule, Week of July 27th, 1941

Here’s the schedule for WCBW, the CBS station in New York City, for the week starting Sunday, July 27th, 1941, straight from daily television listings printed in The New York Times. The station was off the air on Sunday

It was another typical week for WCBW, with the regular test patterns, news, songs, sports, and children’s stories. The variety show on Monday featured a puppeteer, a comic, dancers, and a mimic. There were two more Metropolitan Museum of Art programs on Tuesday and Thursday. Also on Tuesday was another episode of Boys in the Back Room, which offered viewers a behind-the-scenes look at the station and its employees.

Table Talk with Helen Sioussat aired on Wednesday as usual but listings did not indicate who she was interviewing. The were two changes on Friday: the introduction of a film in the afternoon and a National Defense Show at 8:15PM. The latter show replaced a test pattern.

Sunday, July 27th, 1941
No Programs Scheduled

Monday, July 28th, 1941 [1]
2:00PM – Test Pattern
2:30PM – News Reports
2:45PM – Dancing Lesson
3:15-3:30PM – Children’s Story
7:30PM – Test Pattern
8:00PM – News
8:15PM – Joan Edwards, Songs
8:30-9:30PM – Variety Show: Sue Reed, Jack Homer, Puppeteer; Hal Sherman, Comic; Toy and Wing, Dancers; Hildegarde Halliday, Mimic.

Tuesday, July 29th, 1941 [2]
2:00PM – Test Pattern
2:30PM – News
2:45PM – Boys in the Back Room
3:15-3:30PM – Children’s Story
7:30PM – Test Pattern
8:00PM – News
8:15PM – Joan Edwards, Songs
8:30PM – Metropolitan Museum of Art
9-9:30PM – Bob Edge Interviews Caswell Adams, Writer

Wednesday, July 30th, 1941 [3]
2:00PM – Test Pattern
2:30PM – News
2:45PM – Helen Sioussat Interviews
3:15-3:30PM – Children’s Story
7:30PM – Test Pattern
8:00PM – News
8:15PM – Joan Edwards, Songs
8:30-9:30PM – Quiz Program

Thursday, July 31st, 1941 [4]
2:00PM – Test Pattern
2:30PM – News Reports
2:45PM – Metropolitan Museum of Art
3:15-3:30PM – Children’s Story
7:30PM – Test Pattern
8:00PM – News
8:15PM – Sports-Bob Edge
8:30PM – Country Dance and Polish Folk Dance Societies, Adrian Hull, Caller

Friday, August 1st, 1941 [5]
2:00PM – Test Pattern
2:30PM – News Reports
2:45PM – Film
3:15-3:30PM – Children’s Story
7:30PM – Test Pattern
8:00PM – News
8:15PM – National Defense Show
9-10PM – Sports, Bob Edge

Saturday, August 2nd, 1941 [6]
2:00PM – Test Pattern
2:30-4:30PM – Film

Note: Television listings published in newspapers were based on information provided by stations and were subject to change at the last minute. They may not be an accurate representation of what actually aired.

Works Cited:

1 “Radio Today.” New York Times. 28 Jul. 1941: 28.
2 “Radio Today.” New York Times. 29 Jul. 1941: 32.
3 “Radio Today.” New York Times. 30 Jul. 1941: 34.
4 “Radio Today.” New York Times. 31st Jul. 1941: 34.
5 “Radio Today.” New York Times. 1 Aug. 1941: 32.
6 “Radio Today.” New York Times. 2 Aug. 1941: C28.

Nielsen Top Ten, December 11th – 24th, 1955

Here are the top ten programs for the two-week period running Sunday, December 11th through Saturday, December 24th, 1955. The first table lists the top ten by households and the second by rating.

It was another relatively normal week, with the same familiar shows filling both lists. Private Secretary aired on Sunday, December 11th while The Jack Benny Program aired on Sunday, December 18th with special guest Frances Bergen. Disneyland featured “Davy Crockett and The River Priates” on Wednesday, December 14th and “Dumbo” on Wednesday, December 21st.

Number of TV Homes Reached
## Program Network Homes
1. $64,000 Question CBS 14,796,000
2. I Love Lucy CBS 14,695,000
3. Ed Sullivan Show CBS 14,628,000
4. Disneyland ABC 12,380,000
5. Jack Benny Show CBS 11,977,000
6. Private Secretary CBS 11,508,000
7. General Electric Theatre CBS 11,474,000
8. December Bride CBS 11,206,000
9. I’ve Got a Secret CBS 11,105,000
10. You Bet Your Life NBC 10,904,000

Percent of TV Homes Reached
## Program Network Rating (%)
1. $64,000 Question CBS 46.1
2. Ed Sullivan Show CBS 45.9
3. I Love Lucy CBS 45.3
4. Disneyland ABC 38.2
5. Jack Benny Show CBS 38.0
6. Private Secretary CBS 36.3
7. General Electric Theatre CBS 36.1
8. December Bride CBS 35.1
9. I’ve Got a Secret CBS 34.9
10. The Millionaire CBS 34.3

Copyright 1956 by A. C. Nielsen Co.

Note: Prior to July 1960, Nielsen ratings were not based on the total number of television households in the United States. From 1950 to 1953, ratings were a percentage of households in cities/markets in which the program was broadcast. From 1953 to 1960, ratings were a percentage of households capable of viewing a program.

Source:
“Latest Ratings: Nielsen.” Broadcasting*Telecasting. 23 Jan. 1956: 35.

New Spotlight: Half Nelson

The theme song is what intrigued me about Half Nelson, a short-lived NBC comedy/drama that ran for seven episodes from April to May 1985. It was enough to convince me to write a spotlight for the show. Joe Pesci starred as a former New York City cop who gets a job at a private security agency in Los Angeles while trying to break into acting. His costars included former football players Fred Williamson, Bubba Smith, and Dick Butkus. Victoria Jackson was also in the cast.

Dean Martin had a recurring role as himself, although I’m not sure how many episodes he actually appeared in. I know he was in the pilot telefilm and at least one of the hour-long episodes. There’s actually a bit of a mystery involving how many episodes exist. Both TV.com and the Internet Movie Database list eight episodes overall (the pilot plus seven regular episodes) while most other sources indicate there seven (the pilot plus six regular episodes). Based on copyright records there were only seven episodes.

You can read the entire spotlight here. I’m hoping to publish a new spotlight every month in 2016. We’ll see if I can pull it off.

The State of Classic TV on TV: January 2016

There was a time a few years ago when I foolishly thought I could keep track of all the digital specialty networks like Antenna TV, MeTV and Cozi TV that air classic television programming. This was around mid-2013. I was very wrong. It’s hard to even remember how many classic TV diginets there are, let alone what shows they’re airing and when schedules are being overhauled or altered. I only get a few of them via cable or over-the-air. At some point, I had to stop trying to report all the schedule changes. It just didn’t make sense to spend so much time and energy when so few short-lived or halfway forgotten TV shows are actually airing on any of these networks.

However, I know there is a lot of interest in these classic TV networks. So, I’ve decided to occasionally publish general updates with the latest information on schedules and programming additions. Perhaps every six months or so. I’m kicking things off this month with “The State of Classic TV on TV: January 2016 Edition” examining the latest changes affecting diginets Retro TV, The Family Channel, Me-TV, Antenna TV, Cozi TV, getTV, Heroes & Icons, and Decades.

Not included in this overview are diginets This TV, Laff, Escape, The Works, Buzzr, Grit, or Comet. These networks feature mostly movies, game shows, or primarily TV shows from the 1980s and 1990s. However, some of them do air limited classic TV programming. For example, This TV airs The Addams Family and Sea Hunt; Grit airs Laramie and Zane Grey Theater; and Comet airs Men into Space.

Retro TV (Launched July 2005)

Retro TV introduced its Winter 2016 schedule on December 28th, 2015. It mostly airs popular classic TV shows like Bonanza, Dragnet, The Beverly Hillbillies, and Route 66 but also airs several more recent shows in prime time (Cold Squad and Da Vinci’s Inquest). It also airs Movin’ On (NBC, 1974-1976).

In 2015, Retro TV added Mister Peepers, The Barbara Stanwyck Show, Police Surgeon, and The Jerry Lewis Show to its schedule. Only The Jerry Lewis Show and Police Surgeon appear to still be airing on the network. Retro TV also continues to air episodes of the NBC soap opera The Doctors as well as Doctor Who and Mystery Science Theater 3000.

The Family Channel (Launched December 2008)

Formerly known as My Family TV, The Family Channel is co-owned by Luken Communications, the same company that operates Retro TV. It debuted a new schedule on December 28th, 2015 that focuses primarily on general entertainment, health, outdoors, and wellness programming. It does air some classic TV shows, including Route 66, The Beverly Hillbillies, I Married Joan, Naked City, and Movin’ On.

Me-TV (Launched December 2010)

Of all the classic TV networks in existence, I have the hardest time keeping up with Me-TV. It seems to change its schedule more often than any of the others. It introduced a new schedule on January 4th that saw Mama’s Family and The Patty Duke Show join the network. On February 8th, Me-TV will overhaul hits schedule with the addition of The Incredible Hulk and Diagnosis Murder, plus the return of The Twilight Zone and Kojak. Several shows will be leaving, including Quincy, M.E., Route 66, and Naked City. A half-dozen other shows will move to new times. A full rundown of the February changes can be found here.

Otherwise, it looks like Me-TV continues to air the same mix of big name classics: M*A*S*H, Bonanza, Happy Days, Batman, Hogan’s Heroes, Star Trek, and The Andy Griffith Show. The network continues to offer affiliates the choice to air The Rebel on Saturday mornings or educational/instructional programming.

Antenna TV (Launched January 2011)

Antenna TV’s January 2016 schedule went into effect on on January 1st. The big news for the diginet is the addition of “full” episodes of The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson. According to a Variety.com article from August 2015, the episodes will be “as intact as possible” with new licensing/residual agreements for musical performances being negotiated for each episode. 90-minute episodes from the 1970s air on Saturdays and Sundays from 10-11:30PM ET while hour-long episodes from the 1980s and 1990s air weeknights from 11PM-12AM ET.

Also joining Antenna TV in January are Dear John and Mork & Mindy. Returning shows include McHale’s Navy, Leave It to Beaver, Gidget, and The Monkees. Shows leaving the network either temporarily or for good include Married with Children, The Flying Nun, and Diff’rent Strokes. One season wonders It’s About Time and My Mother The Car, which joined Antenna TV in September of this year, remain on the schedule.

Cozi TV (Launched January 2013)

A complete list of changes to Cozi’s schedule for Winter 2016 can be found here. The diginet is only adding one new show: The A-Team. Among the shows being removed are The Name of the Game, Dragnet, and Run for Your Life. Returning shows include It Takes a Thief, The Virginian, Charlie’s Angels, and The Six Million Dollar Man.

getTV (Launched February 2014)

getTV has made big strides in the past five months. It used to feature an all-movie format. In September 2015, it added three western TV series: Nichols, Hondo, and A Man Called Shenandoah. Three more were added the following month: The Tall Man, Whispering Smith, and Laredo. Also in October, getTV debuted a Monday-night block of variety and talk shows featuring The Judy Garland Show and The Merv Griffin Show, plus a rotating mix of musical variety specials and episodes from variety shows like The Perry Como Show, The Andy Williams Show, The Jim Nabors Hour, and more. The current weekly getTV schedule can be found here.

Heroes & Icons (Launched September 2014)

Heroes & Icons is owned by Weigel Broadcasting, the same company that operates Me-TV. Its Winter 2016 schedule went into effect on January 18th. It airs a mix of classic TV shows and more recent fare like The Pretender, The Commish, The White Shadow, and Hill Street Blues. Among the classic TV shows it airs are The Guns of Will Sonnett, Have Gun Will Travel, Combat!, The Saint, 12 O’Clock High, and one season wonders The Rebel and Stagecoach West. At some point this year all five live-action Star Trek TV shows will join Heroes & Icons.

Decades (Launched October 2014)

Decades is co-owned by CBS Corporation and Weigel Broadcasting (which operates Me-TV and Heroes & Icons). It takes a very different approach to its schedule by airing a daily six-hour block of programming related to a single theme. The block features a mix of movies, documentaries, and classic TV shows and is repeated four times each day. Interstitial material examines that day’s theme, as does an original series called Through the Decades (hosted by Bill Kurtis) that features archival CBS News footage.

On weekends, Decades airs “binge” marathons of classic TV shows. Among the shows it has aired are Kojak, The Brady Bunch, The Millionaire, I Love Lucy, The Big Valley, The Mothers-in-Law, and The Doris Day Show. The current schedule for Decades can be found here.

Be sure to hit the comments with any corrections or comments.