from tvshowsondvd.com...looks like we WILL in fact see season by season releases...but that's the good news.
The New York Times, in an article "Three Stars of 'Seinfeld' Boycott a DVD Deal" by Sharon Waxman, is reporting today that Julia "Elaine" Louis-Dreyfus, Michael "Kramer" Richards, and Jason "George" Alexander have decided not to participate in the planned DVD release of Seinfeld, due to a disagreement over money. Here are some highlights of the article, which we encourage you to read in its entirety here to better understand the situation:
Three of the four leading cast members of the hit television comedy "Seinfeld" are declining to participate in the making of a DVD series of the show because they are unhappy with the related financial deals they have had over the years, people close to the actors and the show said on Monday.
...A spokeswoman for Jerry Seinfeld said he was disappointed that his three co-stars had decided to sit out the making of the DVD, which will feature extensive interviews with other cast members, writers and producers of the show...(she) said Mr. Seinfeld hoped to talk to them after the New Year and persuade them to change their minds.
...A complicating factor is that "Seinfeld" is now owned by a handful of corporate entities. After the original "Seinfeld" deal was negotiated, Castle Rock Television was bought by Turner Broadcasting, which was bought by Time Warner. This means that Time Warner, Columbia TriStar Television, Castle Rock, Mr. Seinfeld and Mr. David will all take profits from the DVD.
Without the participation of three of the main cast members, the DVD will be significantly less interesting, executives close to the project acknowledged.
"It's never been just about the episodes; it's really about the value added," said Fritz Friedman, a senior vice president at Columbia TriStar Home Entertainment. "That's what takes so much time. That's why so much is up in the air - the concept, the taping, the schedules of people involved. Fans complain if we release bare-bones product. On something like `Seinfeld,' people won't be happy if we just put the episodes on there."
Castle Rock is working on the DVD of the first "Seinfeld" season, aiming to release it in December 2004. Plans call for the eventual release of all nine seasons...
TVShowsOnDVD agrees that this is one of the most (perhaps THE most) highly-anticipated television series being looked for on DVD. Fans want the episodes most of all, but there will definately be complaints from many of them if extras are left off the release. We will be keeping an eye on this story, so stay tuned.
imdb.com basically said the same thing: Jason Alexander, Julia Louis-Dreyfus, and Michael Richards have refused to be interviewed for the DVD home-video release of Seinfeld after being offered only a small recording fee and being denied a percentage of the DVD's sales, the New York Times reported today (Tuesday). A representative for one of the performers, who refused to be identified, told the newspaper: "They all said, 'Why should we make other people richer?'" A spokesman for Jerry Seinfeld said that he hoped to talk to the three after the New Year "and persuade them to change their minds." Castle Rock is planning to release the first season of Seinfeld on DVD next December.
Originally posted by rikidozanb>"They all said, 'Why should we make other people richer?'" A spokesman for Jerry Seinfeld said that he hoped to talk to the three after the New Year "and persuade them to change their minds." Castle Rock is planning to release the first season of Seinfeld on DVD next December.
Oooooooh, I think SOMEONE was a bit unhappy about the syndie payout Seinfeld/David got.
Following up on yesterday's report - that 3 Seinfeld co-stars wouldn't participate in the show's planned DVD release(s) due to money concerns - there is a new article by Sharon Waxman of The New York Times. The new report is entitled "A 'Seinfeld' Star Will Do the DVD but Asks for Pay."
The issue at stake is identical to the one started in 2001 by a pre-Gubernatorial Arnold Schwarzenegger, which was reported on in Variety (registration required) and its sister publication, Video Premieres (now retitled DVD Exclusive). Then, Schwarzenegger received $75,000 for his commentary track "and other input" on the DVD release of his film Total Recall. A year later, it was reported that compensation for DVD supplements was continuing to be an issue, and one gaining momentum, but still limited to relatively isolated incidents.
Now, two years after Arnold's payday, the issue is hitting TV-on-DVD in a big way, as Michael "Kramer" Richards goes on record in The New York Times with his opinion that "he ought to be paid for taking part in the DVD project, in part because the show has been such a windfall for its creators, producers and distributors."
Here are some highlights from Waxman's article in the Times, which we encourage you to read in it's entirety at their website (free registration required):
Michael Richards, a star of the hit television comedy "Seinfeld," says he will take part in the making of a DVD of the series, but he says he ought to be paid for it.
..."I'm not boycotting," Mr. Richards, who played Kramer in the series, said in a telephone interview late Monday night. "I'm involved. I was never called to do an interview. I am so for the DVD coming out that I'll go on the `Tonight' show."
But Mr. Richards said he thought he ought to be paid for taking part in the DVD project, in part because the show has been such a windfall for its creators, producers and distributors: Jerry Seinfeld, Larry David, Castle Rock Television and Columbia TriStar Home Entertainment. They will all share profits from the DVD.
Actors do not typically receive residual payments for DVD's, but this is quickly becoming a major issue in Hollywood, as DVD sales now bring in millions of dollars to those who control the rights to hit television shows and movies, far more than revenue from videocassettes.
...Mr. Seinfeld and Mr. Richards spoke together yesterday to mend fences...Ms. Louis-Dreyfus and Mr. Alexander could not be reached for comment, their representatives said.
Mr. Richards said that he had spoken to Ms. Louis-Dreyfus on Monday and that she was noncommittal about taking part in the DVD.
To some degree the dispute may be about a lack of communication. Mr. Richards said he asked Mr. Seinfeld why he did not call when Mr. Seinfeld first heard that his co-stars had declined to take part in the DVD.
"I said, `Why didn't you call me?' " Mr. Richards said. "He said, `I should have.' "
TVShowsOnDVD has seen a lot of feedback on this issue, with a surprising polarization on the topic: most people either strongly feel that the actors are right and shouldn't be expected to "work for free", or else strongly feel that they are in the wrong and should participate "for the fans and/or love of the project." A minority opinion speaks up to point out that supplements would be viewed once, if at all, and so this isn't an issue either way for them. But the vast majority of fans do want to hear from three of the pricipals in what is primarily viewed as an ensemble cast.
Overall, though, the common theme expressed as an aside is that this is somewhat akin to a baseball players' strike: that it's hard for the public to feel sympathy for either the players (cast & crew) or the owners (studios) when both sides as a group amounts to what the public views as "a bunch of rich people who can't decide how to split up the millions of dollars we pay them for our entertainment," and that in the end the debate is seen as delaying the delivery of what the paying customers want. We'll join the fans in hoping that an equitable solution can swiftly be worked out industry-wide concerning this issue.
In the meantime, stay tuned to this channel for further updates as they arrive. We'd like to acknowledge D. Gordon for his contribution to this story.
Hard to blame them for holding out...Seinfeld DVDs will bring in a good chunk of change for whoever has a stake in them. Alexander, Richards, and Dreyfus have something to contribute to the process, why shouldn't they be compensated for it?