Last night the Home Theater Forum
hosted a chat with members of Warner Bros Animation and TV divisions. People were invited to drop by and ask the Warner people questions about their favorite shows, and hundreds of people turned up. There were many things discussed in the chat, and we have the entire transcript from the 3 hour event courtesy of Ron Epstein and Parker Clark at the Home Theater Forum
We've color-coded the chat so it's easy to follow; green
for the moderators, blue
for Warner Bros, purple
for people asking questions, and bold
for titles of shows. Here's the part 1 of the transcript:
Back in February we had the opportunity to talk with the theatrical division of Warner Bros Home Video. We were promised at that time that the TV and ANIMATION fans would get their opportunity for a chat....So, without further delay, I would like to say Good Evening to Warner Bros.
<WARNER> Good Evening!
<ParkerClack> Hello everyone at Warners!
<RonEpstein> Who do we have on your end?
<WARNER> We have Melissa (me) publicity/typer, Dorinda Marticorena, Amit Desai, Rosemary Markson and others will be joining us in a bit.
<WARNER> Before we start everyone we have a few things to say...
<WARNER> Well, first, we have a VERY exciting announcement that we made today. After decades of your waiting patiently, POPEYE is finally and officially coming to home video and DVD in 2007. This includes the entire originally theatrical group of POPEYE cartoons from 1933 to 1957 as well as all made-for-tv POPEYE cartoons from the 60s, 70s and 80s.
<WARNER> another announcement on our end is we have a replacement disk program in place for Looney Tunes Golden Collection Vol 2, Disc 4. The discs were incorrectly manufactured with some cartoons in the interlaced rather than the progressive format. We will provide you with info on how consumers can send in for replacement discs at no charge.
<WARNER> we will advise consumers who purchased Tom and jerry Spotlight Collection: Vol 2 on a disc replacement program how to exchange and replace their discs at no charge to them.
<RonEpstein> Excellent News! You just made everyone's night! Thanks for taking care of the consumers on this issue - it has been a huge issue of discussion as of late
<WARNER> We hope to have a similar announcement shortly regarding Tom and Jerry Vol 1.
<RonEpstein> We are now going to open the floor to questions...
<JeremyHaines> Ladies and gentlemen, thank you for taking the time to be with us tonight. My question concerns Everwood. Many other shows have seen most if not all of their seasons released on DVD, while Everwood has only had Season 1 released. Are there plans to release Seasons 2-4, and if not, why?
<WARNER> we don' thave plans to release future seasons at this time
<georgekaplan> I love your Looney Tunes Collections, and I was particularly happy to see words on the last Looney Tunes collection about being geared to the "adult collector" along with an introduction by Whoopi Goldberg. However, I was surprised to find none of the cartoons that would actually require such warnings to be part of the set. Will the next set contain any of the cartoons that actually need such a warning, like Bugs Bunny Nips the Nips?
<WARNER> there are certain cartoons that have been out of circulation for several years and we will revisit their appropriateness for our future golden collection with senior management. Our goal is to always provide the fans with the best collection of Looney Tunes cartoons every fall. We know how much demand there is for these very special cartoons.
<ChuckL> Thank you Warner for your time. You all continue to ASTOUND with your product...in fact, Whatever Happened to Baby Jane is in right now...but as far as television...thanks for the forthcoming Animanics and Pinky and The Brain! Also..thanks for KNOTS LANDING (my second favorite television show of all time)...you have got me for the entire series! As for my question...BIRDS OF PREY still DOA?
<WARNER> sorry to say, yes at this point. Music costs are quite high.
<PatrickMcCart> First of all, I'm overjoyed by the news of Animaniacs and Pinky & The Brain coming to DVD... as well as the replacement discs for the Tom & Jerry/Looney Tunes mistakes....
<WARNER> we live to make you happy Patrick!
<PatrickMcCart> Any scoop on the rest of the MGM cartoons (Tex Avery, etc)
<WARNER> the tex avery cartoons all require a full restoration which will be VERY VERY expensive. For us to release them, in any substandard form would obviously not make you folks happy. We are trying to find the financing within the various divisions of the company to justify this undertaking.
<ChrisS> Thanks for doing this chat! Do you plan to release Friends as a series set, and if so will that set have special features not on the individual season sets?
<WARNER> We did release a limited complete series collection last November and we have something special in the works that we can't talk about quite yet but it will be worth the wait!
<Pavan_P> Hello, I'm from SitcomsOnline.com and we helped out with picking the episodes of Alice, Perfect Strangers, and Full House for your TV Favorites campaign. So what happened to Perfect Strangers and can we expect season sets for this sitcom soon? Also, what about other Miller-Boyett/Bickley-Warren sitcoms (Family Matters, Step by Step, Hangin' with Mr. Cooper, Valerie/The Hogan Family) are coming for season sets?
<WARNER> We are evaluating a number of the 80s sitcomes you mentioned however, we dont' have any specific plans to speak of at this time
<DZ> Do you plan to give a North American and/or theatrical release to the anime film Brave Story?
<WARNER> not our title, sorry.
<WARNER> Don't forget everyone...today is street date for the great Warner Classics CHEYENNE and F-TROOP - both complete First Seasons
<Christina_Gioberti> Thanks Warner & Ron. Can I ask why a second season of Knots Landing is not planned for release ? Are there plans for Dallas season 7 or Falcon Crest ? Thanks
<WARNER> You're skipping Dallas Season 6? We just released 5! We're not ruling out a second season of KNOTS, there are just no plans at this time. No plans for Falcon Crest yet.
<JonHale> Warner Bros., Mortal Kombat is a very popular and successful franchise spanning several mediums. I am down on my knees right now begging you to release the one and only season of the live action TV series, Mortal Kombat Conquest on dvd. Again, MK is hugely popular. What reason could you have not to do so?
<WARNER> Mortal Kombat is not ours.
<MichaelSliger> Thanks for coming tonight. I was wondering if you could give a clarification about the upcoming Justice League Season 2 set. Many reports have claimed that these episodes will be presented in a letterboxed widescreen format, not in anamorpic widescreen. Since the separate "Starcrossed" release (containing episodes from this season) was encoded anamorphically, why was the entire season release not prepared this way?
<WARNER> The director requested the 4x3 letterbox for Justice League season 2. We have revisted this issue and will be releasing Justice League Unlimited Season 1 in 16x9
<KenRanke> Any news on Man From UNCLE series and features ?
<WARNER> We can confirm that Warner does own the rights to MAN FROM U.N.C.L.E and we hope to release it in the future however it won't be in 2006.
<RonEpstein> Warner, just want to clarify something. You state MAN FROM UNCLE will not be available in 2006. I am hearing it is up for preorder on various etail sites. You may wish to look into that.
<WARNER> Thanks Ron, we'll look into it, that is incorrect info.
<CoreyScapito> First off I would like to say thank you so much for releasing your top notch DC Animated boxsets. I was wondering when/if Static Shock & The Zeta Project would be released to DVD in Season boxsets form?
<WARNER> No plans at this time
<WARNER> and for your kids, WHAT'S NEW SCOOBY DOO VOL 9 Route Scary Six came out today!
<SamRizzo> Hi Warner I'am a big fan of the live action Superboy series, thank you Warner for Season One that is coming out June 20th will there be Seasons 2,3,& 4 released either this year or some time soon?
<WARNER> we'd love to release the rest, we'll have to evaluate after the first season is released.
<MeghanB> I was a bit late to the chat but I, too, am very interested in the remaining seasons of Everwood on DVD (I currently own Season One and view it regularly). Is this something that could be discussed or developed in the near future (especially in light of the large jump in sales recently according to Amazon.Com) or is it a bit of a lost cause at this point? Simply curious. Thank you very much for your time.
<WARNER> Never a lost cause! We'll always revisit if it makes sense. It is still on our radar.
<ZachDemeter> Is there any chance we'll see widescreen releases of the TEEN TITANS and THE BATMAN series on DVD? The show is animated in widescreen, but is released on fullscreen DVDs (probably due to the KIDS label). Also, any plans to release a new MASK OF THE PHANTASM DVD with new special features/commentary and audio/video transfer? And one last question--FREAKAZOID? Any plans? Thank you!
<WARNER> Teen Titans and The Batman - we are considering widescreen on both as well as evaluating a Freakazoid release. As mentioned earlier we are reviewing a Mask of the Phantasm Special Edition. Thanks for your support!
<MarcoBiscotti> What about the Hanna Barbera TV Specials and made-for-TV movies - Flintstones / Yogis Christmas, Top Cat, etc..
<WARNER> They are in the works but require remastering so they may not be release for awhile.
<SteveO> Hi. Thank you for coming. Your attendence and great work are most appreciated. I love your Reeves Superman sets. Any more vintage (50s/60s) TV series in the pipeline you can tell us about that haven't already been announced (Maverick season sets would be great)?
<WARNER> We are considering alot of great series including Maverick and The FBI but we don't have any specific plans to report at this time.
<WARNER> All you sports fans...go buy Super Bowl 31-40...in stores today!
<ZacharyTait> Great job on Veronica Mars Season 1! Are there any plans for any episodes of Veronica Mars Season 2 to have commentaries? and English subtitles?
<WARNER> 1 moment on Veronica Mars...but in the meantime For the Hanna Barbara fans...Magilla Gorilla is coming in August...includes Ricochet Rabbit, Punkin Puss and more!
<WARNER> No commentaries or English subtitles on Veronica Mars Season 2. However, we'll have 2 great featurettes including one BTS with Kristen Bell as well as deleted scenes and a gag reel. We think you'll be pleased.
<Arild> Some TV season sets (like "Full House" season 3, and some "Fresh Prince" sets) have mono sound even though the shows aired in stereo. Why is this and will it affect any future releases as well?
<WARNER> We would have to check on the specifics for the specific series. We would never choose to release a series in mono if we had stereo.
<TonyPotoeski> Thank you I am a huge fan of Hanna Barbera and At the end of last year you said that Wally gator and Quick Draw McGraw were coming to dvd then it was pulled and replaced with Magilla Gorilla and Hong Kong Phooey. Why was it pulled from the schedule? Will we see it on dvd anytime soon? Can we expect to see the Jetsons 1980s episodes on dvd as well as Jetsons Meet the Flintstones,Rockin with Judy Jetson,Top Cat and the Beverly Hills Cats, etc.
<WARNER> They were pulled because significant remastering work needed to be researched. We are exploring adding them back to the schedule next year.
<WARNER> We will evaluating the rest of the content that Tony mentioned. Thanks for the input.
<WolframM> Hi, are there any plans to release Eyes-Complete Series, Scarecrow and Mrs. King Season sets and Without A Trace Season 2/3. Thanks
<WARNER> Unfortunately no plans at this time on these.
<PaulMiller> As a fan of 80s cartoons, is there any chance of The Smurfs, Pac Man, or the Plastic Man Comedy Adventure Hour coming to DVD anytime soon?
<WARNER> We are working on the Smurfs and hope to release it in 2007. We'll look into Pac Man and Plastic Man. Thanks for the suggestions
<MissyL> Thank you very much for coming to talk to us today, Warner. I'm glad to hear Everwood is not a lost cause. After the recent cancellation of our beloved, high-quality show, we Everwood fans are devastated and would really appreciate it if the DVDs of the show were at least released. Season One is currently ranked #8 on Amazon.com and the show is very popular, so can you please tell us why are there no plans to release seasons 2, 3, and 4?
<RonEpstein> Hey folks, let Warner make one final statement on this and then let's steer away from EVERWOOD for the rest of the chat, please!
<WARNER> Once again, we'll continue to evaluate. If the demand is there in clear numbers we will definitely consider it. Keep in mind music costs for the show may be prohibitive.
<ToddF> Hi, I'm from SitcomsOnline.com. It is nice to see TV Favorites sets like F-Troop lead to season releases. Can we expect any season sets for Welcome Back Kotter, Chico and the Man, and The Drew Carey Show or additional seasons of Night Court?
<WARNER> we are considering all of these for potential release but we don't have specific plans to share at this time.
<WARNER> For the Hanna Barbara fans...Magilla Gorilla is coming in August... includes Ricochet Rabbit, Punkin Puss and more!
<AntonioLopez> Warner, thank you for your continued participation in these chats. You're devotion to the consumer is outstanding. Can we expect season/complete series sets of Duck Dodgers, The Fugitive with Tim daly, and Two and a Half Men?
<WARNER> We can confirm that we will be releasing Two and a half men in 2007. No plans on the Fugitive or Duck Dodgers at this time
<ChadZ> With the newer DC Comics cartoons almost all released, are there any plans to release the old DC Filmation cartoons, the Ruby Spears Superman version from the 80s, or the All New Superfriends Hour?
<WARNER> We're evaluating all of these for 2007.
<KhalilS> Hi big John Ritter fan from the JRittercareer Group--any chance for the animated short-lived TV series Fish Police to DVD? And what about the popular TV movie The Dreamer of Oz?
<WARNER> No plans at this time
<JasonSliva> First off, thanks for the great releases so far in terms of your animated product. In regards to future animation, are any releases currently planned for Tiny Toon Adventures or Road Rovers? Also, will What's New Scooby Doo ever be released in season sets vs the single disc releases we now receive? In regards to live action, are any releases planned for Two of a Kind or Time Trax?
<WARNER> We're in the process of evaluating Tiny Toons and and Road Rovers. We have plans to release Whats New Scooby Doo in complete season sets in 2007. Nothing planned yet for Two of a kind or Time Trax.
<BrettP> Thanks. I see on tvshowsondvd.com that SCARECROW & MRS KING is one of the top 25 anticipated shows of all time awaiting a DVD release. Any idea when our wait will be over? It was a great 80s show.
<WARNER> Its on our radar, we are evaluating
<WARNER> And if you want Warner Home Video to pay for your Superman Returns theatre ticket... Don't forget all of our great Superman titles on June 20 including Adventures of Superman Seasons 3 and 4, Lois and Clark Season 3, Superboy Season 1, Justice League Season 2, Superman Animated Series Vol 3, Superman Braniac Attacks and KRYPTO the superdog. Movie money on all titles!
<RonEpstein> It seems that we will never see the original '60s Batman TV show on DVD. I hear Fox and Warner are forever in dispute over rights. Can you guys PLEASE try to agree to SOMETHING and get this show out on DVD? It is the highest requested TV show to date.
<WARNER> Warner home Video does not own the rights to this series. This is an issue between DC and Fox. Fox owns the series.
<WARNER> time to complete your series...final season of Flintstones...complete Sixth Season...coming in Sept!
<BrianM> One animation, One TV: For animation, Tiny Toons: if nothing else, how about the "How I Spent My Vacation" movie? For TV, I understand WB has the rights to another of my one-season favorites, Fastlane. Any chances on either?
<WARNER> Thanks for the suggestion on Tiny Toons, we will take it under advisement. On Fastline, music costs are exhorbitant. Release is unlikely at this time.
<WARNER> West Wing...there are beautiful things planned...coming later this year. Warner may have a holiday present for you...or 2...
<WARNER> More Hanna Barbera...HONG KONG PHOOEY...coming in August!
<JeffSchiller> Thank you for the fantastic news on Popeye, though I joined late I did read the press release. Will the Popeye DVDs receive the same royal treatment that the Looney Tunes receive (including full restoration, uncut, with special features, commentaries)? Also, please tell me you'll be releasing them staggered from the Looney Tunes release (i.e. Spring 2007?), a year between classic animation releases is too long. Thanks!
<WARNER> They'll will receive the same royal treatment and will be released chronologically and we will stagger them with Looney Tunes releases
<TravisHedger> Any plans for TV on HD DVD? Not just more space, but for better quality encodes too? Also any plans for the two Dukes of Hazzard Reunion and Hazzard goes to Hollywood made for TV movies from the 90s on DVD after you are done releasing the TV series? Thanks
<WARNER> Good question on both fronts. We'll evaluate the Dukes movies for potential release in the future. TV on HD DVD - you can expect some exciting news on this front but we can't announce specifics at this time. More to come on this in the relatively near future.
<SaraStewart> Thank you for taking my question. Could you please explain what you mean by music costs and how it can prevent a show from being released? Thank you for your time.
<WARNER> All of that great music you hear in television series needs to be licensed and cleared for DVD use in addition to use within the show for broadcast. This music can be very expensive.
<AngieHill> First, a question for TV. Any chance on ever seeing "China Beach" released on DVD? It's one of the best series I've ever seen and I'd love to be able to watch it on DVD. And a comment... I'm very glad there's still hope to see Scarecrow and Mrs King on DVD.
<WARNER> We agree China Beach is a terrific show. We'd love to release but all those old Motown songs are very expensive, making this release unlikely at this time.
<John_Stewart> What about the Show "Sisters" 1991-1996???????
<WARNER> no releas plans for "sisters" at this time
<MichaelColvin> What about a series set of The West Wing? And any chance that ER could be sped up? Keep up great work!
<WARNER> I think I answered the West Wing question...well, sort of...you won't be disappointed. More ER is coming. Look for the next release later this year.
<PaulWalcher> My interest is primarily in animation titles (thanks, by the way, for the recent X-men: Evolution and Batman Beyond releases). I was wondering about the chances for further releases for X-men Evolution and Batman Beyond as well as a release for The Zeta Project?
<WARNER> we are considering future season set releases of X-Men Evolution. you can look for Batman Beyond Season 2 later this year. no plan for the Zeta project at this time.
<Jeffrey_Gray> A big hello to all those at Warner. 2006 is proving to be the "year of Superman." Will we be seeing a release of the 17 Superman cartoons produced by Max Fleischer and Famous Studios during the 40s? I know they're in the public domain, but plenty of people would like to see an official, restored release.
<WARNER> all 17 Fleischer cartoons have been remastered and will be released later this year in the Ultimate Superman Collection.
<Brandon_D> Any chance of the 1985 Irwin Allen TV Movie of Alice in Wonderland and Through the Looking Glass to be released? It was a childhood favorite! Also, what about Falcon Crest and Alice season sets?
<WARNER> there are outstanding issues on the Alice In Wonderland titles which preclude us from releasing it at this time. no plans on Falcon Crest or Alice at this time.
<Tory> Will you release The Kid Super Power Hour with Shazam (animated), the live action Shazam! as well as the animated Gilligan's Island & Planet and the live action Gilligan reunion films? Are there plans to release the animated spinoff of the Dukes of Hazzard, The Dukes & live action spinoff Enos? Will we see more Growing Pains seasons & their reunion films and spinoff Just the 10 of Us?
<WARNER> no plans on Shazam animated or live action at this time. Both have mastering issues. No plans on Gilligans or Dukes animated but we will consider it.
<JohnSimon> There have been rumors in the last few days that new series sets of "Friends" and "West Wing" with new bonus features will be released in the near future. Will these new extras be available seperately for those who already own the individual seasons? It seems that choosing to re-release an entire series with new features will only lead fans to resist buying the initial release if such a re-release pattern becomes the norm.
<WARNER> I can't comment on the specifics but I wouldn't believe everything you hear. It is not possible to please everyone all of the time but we do carefully weigh all of the possibilities and ramifications and hope to do what is in the best interest of the series and the fans.
<AndyRoss> First of all thank you for season one of "F Troop." I picked up my copy today and I hope to see season two follow. I also want to further support for a DVD of "Freakazoid" & "Tiny Toon Adventures." I would like to ask if there are any plans for "Cartoon Planet?" Thanks for all the great work you do with your DVD releases, my friends and I are thrilled with the restoration work done to Looney Tunes!
<WARNER> if you mean Captain Planet there are not plans at this time.
<ParkerClack> I just wanted to say that I noticed that Man from U.N.C.L.E season one is set for release on 7/25/06? Do you know if this is still the scheduled release date?
<WARNER> As discussed earlier, this title is not planned for release in July 2006.
<KeithPaynter> Welcome back, Warner! Thanks for coming and continuing to provide such outstanding product for true movie enthusiasts. With the considerable success of Disney's wartime cartoons in their 'Treasures' series (which included anti-Japanese content), is it at all possible that Warner has considered following suit so that, properly presented, we can be witness to several wartime classics made at the pinnacle of the creative efforts as well as many of the more racially caricatured wartime cartoons in upcoming volume(s) of the Looney Tunes DVDs, or as a specific collector's product? The Whoopi Goldberg prologue on the most recent DVD set was an excellent way to put such cartoons in their proper context for the uninformed. These were some of the fastest, brashest, and funniest cartoons ever to come out of Termite Terrace.
<WARNER> we are well aware of the excellence of the war cartoons created by our studio as such we plan to handle them in a very special way in the not too distant future. we are hopefull you will pleased with the effort.
<KrisLane> Thanks for taking the questions... Any plans for Murphy Brown Season 2? (I know music could be an issue with this one). Also, care to let us know why Perfect Strangers was delayed? I know lots of fans were looking forward to the TV Favorites edition. Thanks again!
<WARNER> Unfortunately, no plan for a second season of Murphy Brown at this time. We never committed to the TV Favorites release of Perfect Strangers. It was only under consideration. We continue to evaluate the release and the format - compilation vs. full season set - but no decision has been made at this time.
<Nick_Feduccia> Thank you SO much for at least making some of your greatest shows available for streaming video on AOL. Awesome idea! Since you seem to be fast tracking Thundercats, could we see a Silverhawks release soon, if it is even your property? If it isn't, then how about a Freddy's Nightmares? That would make an awesome Halloween release!
<WARNER> no plans at this time on Silverhawks. we are evaluating Freddy's nightmare.
Continue to part 2