It took producer Barney Rosenzweig years to convince MGM to release a single season of Cagney & Lacey. They said they would release additional seasons if this one did well, so they released it without any marketing (way to avoid additional work!). That was nearly two years ago.
A few months ago, Yonmei at Feminist SF – The Blog! asked me who to write to get more seasons of Cagney & Lacey on DVD. I called MGM and asked who I should talk to about this. The receptionist had no idea and forwarded me to the Public Relations department. They told me to call a woman at Fox. I did; she never returned my call. I called MGM back and, on a hunch, asked for “Distribution.” I was given the email address of someone I could write to to find out who to write to. She never responded.
Looks like they thought we’d go away. Yonmei had a better idea. Enter the “Yes, we want Cagney & Lacey DVDs” online petition. Go sign it, and tell all your friends! (And for the record, Yonmei did all the work on the petition, so a big thanks to her for that hard work!)
And after you’re done, ponder this: if there’s no demand for this series, why can you buy a crap quality bootleg copy of the entire series, including the Loretta Swit and Meg Foster episodes that MGM ignored, for just under $100?
When Rosenzweig asked MGM what the big holdup was, why did they give him a completely unbelievable excuse about being unable to secure music rights (I think they borrowed this one straight from Fox on WKRP, for whom music rights actually were a problem):
It seems that in the two plus years that I have been working to get this series out in DVD for our anniversary, the part-time business affairs execs at MGM had neglected to clear all music rights for such a release. Everything, they said, would have to go on hold until they could get their act together.
I offered help. After all, I supervised every music cue in our series. I know that there are only a few pieces that were not “music for hire” that were offered up as “source” material (Cagney listening to Wagner on her stereo for instance). We were not like Miami Vice with a lot of licensing of famous then-current music offerings. Surely this was something that could easily be fixed. A stonewall from MGM was the response. I might scream about “detrimental reliance,” and all the other problems they were causing me, I might point out that I am a “partner” on the project and have a right to be consulted on such matters, but the bottom line has been no cooperation and noncompliance with my contractual rights. You think I am pissed?
Those of you who remember how Rosenzweig fought when Cagney & Lacey was canceled the first two times may note the irony that 30 years later, the same players are fighting the same battle.
Naturally, MGM doesn’t have direct email contact information for us peons [they added this later], but if you want to go beyond the petition you could try emailing their online store in hopes they make a note of what customers are asking for. You can also write them a real letter or call them:
10250 Constellation Boulevard
Los Angeles, CA. 90067
If you’re outside the US and don’t want to pay postage, scan a letter and email it to me at firstname.lastname@example.org and I’ll mail it for you.
It may also be worth your time to leave comments on Rosenzweig’s blog. This entry already contains requests for more seasons to be released soon.