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Unfinished Business

15 Jun, 2006 By: Jessica Wolf

Four-season 'Everwood' has only one on DVD, and 'Boy Meets World' was put on hold after slow sales.

Completists, take note: Not every TV series that begins rolling out on DVD will finish its run. Maybe a first-season set doesn't sell enough copies, or maybe the sales dropoff for the second season is so great that the release door is promptly slammed shut.

There's plenty of unfinished business in the TV DVD arena, with roughly two dozen long-running series limited to three season sets, tops.

Among them is Sony Pictures Home Entertainment's “Who's the Boss?” Season one came out in June 2004 and sold just 1.5% of the units of the studio's No. 1 TV DVD seller of all time — Seinfeld: Seasons 1 & 2, according to Nielsen VideoScan data.

No wonder there have been no subsequent DVD installments of the 1980s sitcom that starred Tony Danza and Alyssa Milano and lasted eight seasons.

Warner Home Video's season-one sets of “The Jamie Foxx Show,” “Murphy Brown” and “Night Court,” all released in 2005, sold 6% or less units compared to Warner's top seller for 2005 — Friends: The Complete Ninth Season.

Others fared a little better, but were still left by the wayside. Universal Studios Home Entertainment last year released Airwolf: Season One, and it sold nearly 20% of the units of Universal's top TV DVD release for the year, Miami Vice: Season One.

The Apprentice: The Complete First Season performed even better the previous year, selling nearly a third as well as the studio's No. 1 TV DVD seller of 2004 — Northern Exposure: Season One.

Buena Vista Home Entertainment released three seasons of “Boy Meets World,” which was on the air from 1993 through 2000. Season Two sales were off from the first set by just 12%. But Season Three sales were down 39% from Season Two, and plans for a season-four release were scrapped.

Research shows first-season sets are typically the top seller in TV DVD, chiefly because they benefit from the additional exposure of subsequent season sets.

This slide tends to mirror viewership declines as a series runs out its years on television, said Judith McCourt, director of Home Media Research.

Gord Lacey, editor of the TVShowsOnDVD.com Web site, said “Everwood” is one of the most-lamented languishing series, based on fan comments.

Warner Home Video released the first season of the family drama, which just went off the air after four seasons, in September 2004.

No subsequent seasons are in the DVD pipeline, a Warner spokesperson said.

Most of the languishing shows are banished from DVD after a season-to-season dropoff of more than 30%.

Sony's “Seinfeld” sets have experienced dropoffs in the 30% to 40% range, but that doesn't seem to matter if the unit volume is high enough. The “Seinfeld” sets are consistent top sellers for the studio and in the genre overall.

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