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Shout! Factory Maxing Out

26 Feb, 2010 By: John Latchem

Max Headroom

New acquisitions and online initiatives are paving the way for a busy summer for indie distributor Shout! Factory.

Through Warner Home Video, Shout! Factory has acquired the U.S. and Canadian distribution rights for the 1980s futuristic cyberpunk series “Max Headroom” and the 1999-2001 sitcom “The Norm Show,” starring Norm Macdonald.

In announcing the deal, Shout! Factory founding partners Richard Foos, Bob Emmer and Garson Foos stated that “both these shows are loved by fans of TV and are highly requested. We’ll do them justice with great extras and packaging.”

"It's a privilege to partner with Shout! Factory, and we look forward to combining our efforts to bring these two highly-regarded television programs to the home entertainment audience," said Jeff Brown, EVP and GM of Warner Home Video non-theatrical franchise marketing. "We look forward with anticipation to the opportunity of creating a series of releases that will be innovative, original and stand out in the home entertainment marketplace."

“Max Headroom” starred Matt Frewer as a reporter whose mind is downloaded into a computer to create a virtual clone who exists in the digital world. Amanda Pays, Jeffrey Tambor and W. Morgan Sheppard also star in the series, which ran for 14 episodes on Cinemax and ABC in 1987 and 1988. Set in the near future, “Max Headroom” depicted a world of television run amok.

Shout! Factory has a “Max Headroom” complete-series DVD set slated for August, according to a spokesperson. Episodes are being transferred from their original elements to provide the best quality, and Shout! Factory is planning a robust range of extras for the set. Bonus content may include the original U.K. telefilm 20 Minutes Into the Future, upon which the series is based, though nothing has been confirmed. Max Headroom also appeared in a series of Coca-Cola commercials in the 1980s, raising speculation such content may also be fodder for bonus material, but Shout! Factory said planning the extras is in the early stage.

The DVD of the first season of “The Norm Show” is slated for September. The series stars former “Saturday Night Live” comedian Macdonald as a sardonic former NHL player turned dysfunctional social worker. The shows also stars Laurie Metcalf, Artie Lange and Faith Ford.

On the heels of its agreement with Warner, Shout! Factory acquired the U.S. distribution rights to Marvel Animation’s “The Super Hero Squad Show.” Featuring super-stylized versions of Marvel’s popular comic book characters — including Captain America, Silver Surfer, Thor, Hulk, Wolverine and Iron Man — with a comedic twist, the series debuted on Cartoon Network in October 2009 to good ratings. Voices include Tom Kenny, Grey DeLisle, Alimi Ballard, Charlie Adler, LeVar Burton, Taye Diggs, Robert Englund, Greg Grunberg, Mark Hamill, Tricia Helfer and others. Shout! Factory plans a strategic rollout of the “Super Hero Squad Show” home entertainment line later this year.

June 8 (order date May 11), Shout! Factory presents Fabulous FIlms' Tales of the Gold Monkey: The Complete Series, a 1982-83 adventure show created by Don Bellisario (“Quantum Leap,” “JAG”). Set in 1938, the series stars Stephen Collins, Caitlin O’Heaney, Roddy McDowall and Jeff Mackay, and focuses on a pilot and his friends who fly a cargo plane into and out of trouble. The six-DVD set ($49.97) will include the original double-length pilot episode, a new making-of documentary, commentaries, photo galleries, a collector’s booklet and more.

June 29 (order date May 26), Shout! Factory offers Mad About You: Season Four, a four-DVD set at $29.93. The NBC sitcom starred Paul Reiser and Helen Hunt, with such guest stars as Yoko Ono, Gilbert Gottfried, Kathy Griffin, Dick Clark, Willie Garson, Henry Gibson, Jo Anne Worley, Hank Azaria, Brad Garrett and Edward Asner. Earlier seasons of the show were released by Sony Pictures Home Entertainment.

Shout! Factory also is gearing up for its latest round of Internet-exclusive TV DVD sets, which can be purchased through ShoutFactoryStore.com. Titles available March 16 include My Two Dads: The Complete Second Season (three-DVD set $34.99), C.O.P.S. The Animated Series Vol. Two (three-DVD set $29.99) and The Goldbergs: The Ultimate Goldbergs (six-DVD set $59.99). The Ultimate Goldbergs, which includes all 71 episodes known to exist of the 1949-56 Jewish-themed sitcom, will receive bonus distribution to select markets through Sisu Home Entertainment.

The April 20 ShoutFactoryStore.com slate includes The Bill Cosby Show: Season Two and Bump in the Night: The Complete Series.

Shout! Factory also has a “Larry Sanders Show” complete-series DVD set, starring Garry Shandling, tentatively scheduled for September. The company released a complete-series DVD set of “It’s Garry Shandling’s Show” last year.

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