In March of 2004, the Filmation library of programming was purchased by "ER"
(London's "Entertainment Rights PLC"), and by January 2005 a deal was struck between ER and BCI Eclipse for the first rights to a show in that library, He-Man
. Subsequently, most other Filmation properties were licensed to BCI, but certain titles - where the rights were co-owned by another entity - did not get attached to that deal. One such example is Star Trek: The Animated Series
, which was largely owned by Paramount and released to DVD through them. Another example is Archie
(and the original animated Sabrina
, too), which originated at Archie Comics of course and so Filmation only handled the animation of the cartoon series. ER (and subsidiary Classic Media, who ER acquired early in 2006) worked out the rights with Archie Comics to release those themselves, distributing them to retail via Genius Entertainment.
Fat Albert and the Cosby Kids
was another Filmation property which originally went elsewhere than to BCI. In this case it went to UrbanWorks, although neither company seemed to make a big event of the deal being struck: UrbanWorks simply began scheduling and releasing Fat Albert
DVDs (via Ventura Distribution) in December 2004, and continued to do so until mid-2006. The reasons for the property going to UrbanWorks could only be guessed at, but since UrbanWorks (now a part of First Look Home Entertainment) was also putting out The Cosby Show
, it seemed safe to assume that Bill Cosby (or people who negotiated on his behalf) could have had a preference there.
For Fat Albert and the Cosby Kids
, though, UrbanWorks is now out of the picture. We have learned from reliable sources that ER/Classic Media has regained control of the property, and will begin producing DVDs themselves later in 2008, and distribute them via Genius Products. Plans aren't completely finalized, and no exact date has been set to our knowledge. However, the tentative first release will be called Fat Albert and The Cosby Kids - The Original Animated Series: Season 1, Volume 1
. The indication is that this will get released, from beginning to end, in a series of packages that should appeal to both the serious collector and the more casual fan.
That's all we know so far, but stay tuned and we'll keep you informed as soon as we get word of further developments!