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'TV Favorites' Test Waters

7 Apr, 2006 By: Brendan Howard

Other major studios have best-of TV DVDs, but only Warner Home Video has its clearly branded line of “TV Favorites.”

The line debuted as an exclusive at Best Buy June 28, 2005, with “Welcome Back, Kotter.” It hit retailers nationwide in a five-title wave Sept. 27, with “Cheyenne,” “Chico and the Man,” “The Dukes of Hazzard,” “F Troop” and “Maverick.” Each DVD included a handful of episodes from the multi-year runs of the show.

“TV Favorites” was made to work in different ways, according to Warner's VP of TV marketing, Rosemary Markson.

“We thought there would be demand on series we hadn't released yet, series [to which] we hadn't made the commitment for complete-season sets,” Markson said.

At the time, only “Dukes” was out in a season set.

Thanks in part to the success of that first wave, first-season sets of the Western “Cheyenne” and the war comedy “F Troop” are coming June 6.

Another plus, according to Markson, is the low $9.97 suggested retail price on “TV Favorites” DVDs.

“It gave retailers who supported our season sets an opportunity to place them in value-priced areas,” she said. “And certain retail channels, like grocery and drug channels, could carry TV DVD at a lower price point.”

As for the content, Warner has looked to include pivotal and award-winning episodes, and episodes with guest stars. Studio execs also talked to producers, on occasion, and worked with fan Web sites.

That's how Pavan Patel, news and reviews director at SitcomsOnline.com, got involved.

“They came to me to see if I'd co-run the episode-selection process with them,” Patel said. “The fans selected their top 10, and we picked the top 10 from their lists. Then, Warner picked six of those for ‘Alice,' ‘Perfect Strangers' and ‘Full House.’

“Alice” is slated, along with “Step by Step,” for June 27, but “Full House” and “Perfect Strangers” are being held.

Asked how fans feel about the “TV Favorites” line, Patel said the response is mixed.“Fans want to see the full-season sets and don't want the best-of episodes and later have doubles of episodes on DVD if season sets do come,” he said.

Gord Lacey of TVShowsonDVD. com concurs.

“I think either way they frustrate fans,” Lacey said. “They're either buying a best-of to support the release of a season set, or they're buying a best-of because season sets weren't selling and they're trying to buy at least a few of the episodes on DVD.”

Warner's Markson, however, hopes fans see both scenarios as a positive.

“We definitely view these as testing the water for series,” she said. “It should be viewed by fans as a way to show the opportunity for full-season sets.”

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