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21 Jump Street - Get ready to Jump in Sept! Others from Cannell to follow, including Hero, Silk & Hunter, thanks to new Anchor Bay deal.

Posted by David Lambert
Video Business, an industry insider trade magazine, released a report today at their website that has very exciting news for the TV-on-DVD genre. One of the most prolific creators/ producers/ writers you'll find in television history, Stephen J. Cannell, has signed a deal giving exclusive rights to the properties he owns to Anchor Bay Entertainment for home video release on DVD.

Some of Cannell's series, such as Baretta, The A-Team, The Rockford Files, and Baa Baa Black Sheep, are owned by others. In the case of these examples, it's Universal Studios, and The A-Team - Season 1 was just released yesterday on DVD. Baretta had a pair of releases (a best-of disc and a Season 1 set) in Oct. 2002. Rockford and Sheep are reportedly in-the-works from Universal, now that merger concerns with NBC are mostly behind them. Another series of Cannell's, Wiseguy, is already being distributed by Ventura on behalf of StudioWorks Entertainment.

Of the series that Cannell's company, Cannell Studios, retains the rights to, some have been rumored from time-to-time: 21 Jump Street and The Greatest American Hero being among the more recent mentions.

But now we have word that we can expect quite a nice list of his titles in the near future, thanks to Cannell's new deal with Anchor Bay:
  • Sep. 2004: 21 Jump Street
  • Oct. 2004: Silk Stalkings
  • Late 2004 or Early 2005: The Greatest American Hero
  • Late 2004 or Early 2005: Hunter
  • Late 2004 or Early 2005: The Commish
  • Late 2004 or Early 2005: Renegade

Here are selected quotes from the Video Business article:
    Stephen J. Cannell has struck an exclusive long-term distribution deal with Anchor Bay Entertainment to release his TV series on DVD, such as 21 Jump Street, The Greatest American Hero and Hunter.

    ...Anchor Bay will be issuing four to six DVD series sets at once, beginning with 21 Jump Street in mid-September and Silk Stalkings in early October. Two additional series sets from among Hunter, The Commish, Renegade and Greatest American Hero are tentatively slated for the fourth quarter and the other two in early 2005.

    As the deal has been on the table and nearly consummated for months, Anchor Bay has already been busy producing bonus features for DVD sets that will include an extensive array of cast and crew interviews, audio commentaries and making-of featurettes. Cannell, who has theatrical film productions in development on many of the series, has been actively involved in the creation of the bonus materials.

    (Anchor Bay CEO Ted) Green said Cannell's production company kept the tapes of the series in such good shape that they were able to prepare them for DVD much more quickly than is often the case for some older series.

You can read the complete story from Video Business Editor-In-Chief Scott Hettrick by clicking here (registration required). It has more details about the doings of all the companies involved, so give it a read!

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