Why your favorite TV show isn't a DVD yet -- We explain the delay due to music rights in getting shows like ''Beverly Hills, 90210'' released


Why your favorite TV show isn’t a DVD yet

Ever wonder why your favorite shows (Beverly Hills, 90210, WKRP in Cincinnati) haven’t made it to DVD? Could be the music. Licensing the rights from labels, writers, and even band members for just one song has become a costly struggle for distributors. On some DVDs (like Felicity), they replace songs from the original broadcast; on others (the Beavis and Butthead series), they excise the music altogether. ”In terms of cost and labor, you can see why companies just strip the music out,” says David McIntosh, a VP at Shout! Factory. ”Licensing is a long, tedious process and a tremendous risk.” Most productions today simultaneously obtain song rights for TV broadcast and home-video use, but the releases of pre-DVD era shows are repeatedly impeded by licensing negotiations. After DreamWorks initially declined to license the 130 pieces of music from Freaks and Geeks‘ single season, Shout! Factory stepped in as codistributor,spending some $1 million over six months to keep the ’80s soundtrack. Similarly, Lions Gate acquired the rights to the first two seasons of Moonlighting — which it’s releasing May 31 — after Anchor Bay’s plans for a music-free collection fell through. If Bruce Willis isn’t singing ”Doo Wah Diddy,” what’s the point?