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Warner Launches TV Retrospective, ‘Friends’ Blu-ray Set

2 Aug, 2012 By: Chris Tribbey

'Family Matters' star Darius McCrary (Eddie Winslow) with co-creator and executive producer William Bickley (right).

BEVERLY HILLS, Calif. — Peter Roth, president of Warner Bros. Television Group, could be seen July 31 at the Paley Center for Media, openly admiring props, costumes and art from more than 60 years of TV history from the studio.

“I’m like a kid in a proverbial candy store in this place,” he said, smiling.

Who could blame him? Major installations for “ER, “Friends” and “Smallville”; the presidential podium from “The West Wing”; a tribute to producer Chuck Lorre (“The Big Bang Theory,” “Mike & Molly,” “Two and a Half Men”),;a mini-theater where visitors can watch clips of “The Dukes of Hazzard,” “Welcome Back, Kotter” and “Gilligan’s Island” while singing the theme songs; the diner booth from “Seinfeld”; and a few hundred Bugs Bunnies scattered throughout the building.

Dubbed “Television: Out of the Box,” the interactive multimedia exhibit has begun its three-year run, with plans to refresh it regularly with new items. It’s the first time a major TV studio has partnered with Paley for such an exhibit.

“’Television: Out of the Box ‘presents a major step for the Paley Center as it will bring a unique and unprecedented multimedia experience to the global community of media consumers,” said Pat Mitchell, president and CEO of the Paley Center for Media. “The exhibit demonstrates our mission to celebrate and preserve television’s best while also illustrating the importance of media in all of our lives. Warner Bros., as one of television’s most successful and prolific studios, is an ideal partner for us to collaborate with in this exciting new venture.”

The alien head from “V,” Daisy Dukes’ actual shorts and suggestions for the original “Roots” script are among the highlights. Get your picture taken with Bugs Bunny and Daffy Duck, or enjoy a cup of coffee at Central Perk.

Visitors will also find exhibits on Looney Tunes, Hanna-Barbera, DC Entertainment, “The Closer,” “Cold Case,” “The Mentalist,” “Southland,” “Babylon 5,” “Fringe,” “Supernatural,” “V,” “The Vampire Diaries,” “George Lopez,” “The Drew Carey Show,” “Gilmore Girls,” “Gossip Girl,” “The O.C.,” “Maverick,” “Kung Fu,” “Cheyenne,” “Wonder Woman,” “77 Sunset Strip,” “Dallas,” “Full House,” “Knots Landing,” “The Waltons,” “Roots,” “The Thorn Birds,” “Family Matters” and more.

“Television has played an important role in American popular culture over the last six decades and Warner Bros. is an important part of TV’s history,” said Barry Meyer, chairman & CEO of Warner Bros. “With all the memorable series represented here, everyone who loves television will be delighted, whether they’re already fans of these shows or discovering them for the first time.”

Warner Home Video used the exhibit launch to tout the Nov. 13 release of the entire 236-episode series of “Friends” on Blu-ray Disc, bringing out show executive producer Kevin Bright to discuss the set.

“Warner came to us and said [high-def] was the future, but we didn’t put much weight into that,” he said. “Boy we’re we wrong, Believe me, it all looks amazing. It’s definitely something you have to see to believe.”

The set, with a list price of $279.98, also includes more than three hours of new bonus features, including commentaries, a retrospective documentary, new interviews, new cast appearances, unaired footage and more.

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