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Warner Home Video Wins ‘The Civil War'

29 May, 2002 By: Holly J. Wagner

Fans of documentary genius Ken Burns will be whistling Dixie this September when Warner Home Video (WHV) and PBS Home Video re-air the highest rated program in PBS history, concurrent with its Sept. 17 DVD debut.

WHV is bringing Ken Burns' The Civil War to DVD for the first time in a digitally remastered version ($129.98 SRP, $99.95 MAP) that will include collectible packaging, a new 5.1 sound mix of the original mono soundtrack and exclusive special features. Prebook date is Aug. 20.

The DVD edition of Ken Burns' The Civil War broadens the viewing experience with a commentary track from Burns, the documentary Behind the Scenes: The Civil War Reconstruction; interviews with Civil War scholars George Will, Shelby Foote and Stanley Crouch; biography cards and interactive maps.

"Warner Home Video is thrilled to bring Ken Burns' The Civil War to DVD for the first time ever," said Douglas Wadleigh, WHV VP, Special Interest Marketing. "The existing VHS remains our top-selling Ken Burns video to date. The newly remastered DVD version, with improved images, sound and outstanding special features, will enhance the viewing experience and offer compelling value to both existing VHS owners as well as new consumers."

Tracing the course of the U.S. Civil War from the abolitionist movement through the major battles to the death of President Lincoln and the beginnings of the Reconstruction, this highly acclaimed miniseries captured the attention of viewers across the country during its initial broadcast in 1990.

A compact VHS edition (five cassettes rather than the set's original nine) will also be available for $99.98 SRP. The VHS and DVD releases are timed to coincide with PBS' Sept. 22 to 26 rebroadcast, which is expected to boost sales with an anticipated audience of 17 million viewers.

The remastering and rebroadcast of The Civil War is part of a new PBS effort showcasing Burns' documentaries. Starting in September, extensive on-air support and promotions from PBS stations will drive national awareness of The Civil War. In addition, an eight-week, multimillion-dollar advertising campaign consisting of television, print and radio buys and cross promotions with The Civil War companion book - will further raise consumer awareness for the VHS and DVD releases.

Then PBS will premiere and promote “Ken Burns' American Stories,” a weekly Monday night presentation of works from the filmmaker's library that will air Sept. 30 through the end of the year.

"This remarkable documentary has been a consistently successful title since it first premiered on PBS," said Dan Hamby, VP, PBS Home Video. "The updated version takes advantage of new film transfer, color correction and audio mixing techniques – every frame has been digitized and the sound remixed in stereo. The look and sound are incredible."

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