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Can a TV DVD's Success Have a Negative Impact on the Show Itself?

19 May, 2005 By: Jessica Wolf

The theme of this column is “a tale of two successes” or “beware of your DVD's popularity.”

Poor Dave Chappelle. He's apparently a little out of his element as a big-time success. News coverage surrounding the fact that the launch of season three of his offbeat Comedy Central sketch show has been postponed indefinitely talks about the success of Paramount Home Entertainment's Chappelle's Show Season 1 DVD. Some articles even cite the DVD's sales as part of the reason the irreverent star was able to broker a $50 million deal for two more seasons of “Chappelle's Show.”

Now, it seems, the crushing schedule and demands of celebrity have rather broken the surprised star.

Granted, the immense popularity of the Chappelle's Show Season 1 DVD came as a surprise to pretty much everyone — including the star himself. Hopefully, the guy can get it together and continue to reap the benefits of that popularity.

As we all know, “Chappelle's Show” wasn't the first TV DVD surprise.

The “Family Guy”;'s DVD sales success kicked off early into the market for the product. “Family Guy” creator Seth McFarlane has seemed to handle the newfound popularity DVD yielded for his show a bit better than Dave Chappelle. His decidedly irreverent animated show is back on network television, so at least he managed to get through production.

But the pressure's on McFarlane, too. OK, “Family Guy” is back, but is it any good? Yes, the show we loved deserved its revival, but so far, I've heard grumbling from more than one “Family Guy” fan that the new episodes just aren't that funny. Sure, we're only a few weeks into the relaunch, but really, if you get a second chance at a show, wouldn't you want to kick it off with a bang? These first episodes should be among the best the new season has to offer. If that's the case, I know a few people who aren't holding out a lot of hope for the rest of the season.

Maybe McFarlane's just too busy now with “Family Guy” and “American Dad” (I must admit, I'm having trouble warming up to this one, though I get a few chuckles from it). Maybe both these guys' DVD sales were just a tad too successful.

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