Friday, March 23, 2007

Win / Win

The latest battle in the Cagney & Lacey narrative is over. Who won? We all did. Less than 19 hours after the posting of our last blog, MGM and I have reached a happy agreement that the DVD package, put together so diligently by the new FOX/MGM team, will be ready for release in the USA for Mothers’ Day 2007 as originally planned.

The impasse could have been even shorter except for the fact that I was tired this morning and elected to take a leisurely breakfast on my lovely island at a spot where the cell phones don’t work very well. Had that not been the case, MGM and I could have wrapped this up hours sooner. Never mind. The breakfast was delicious and I needed the time to clear my head.

You were all terrific. So many of you came to the fore as soon as it became known that there was a problem. Amazon.com pulled the pre-sale DVD package, stating release was postponed until 2010, but then, despite its name being a tribute to strong women, Amazon.com just does not know our fan base or just how much the press continue to take an interest in our saga. We are grateful to all of you and to those journalists who either ran stories right away or who have vowed to watch this whole process much more closely in the future.

What an amazing tool this Internet thing is. Of course, it helps that I am not looking for work and therefore feel I can just sort of “tell it, as it is” (or at least, how I see it). I am trying to remember…help me out here…was I much different when I did need the job?

Back to the Internet. Your response was instantaneous. Within a half hour of the posting on the East Coast, the intercom lines between MGM and FOX were already buzzing on the West Coast. Columnists on the Internet and at various major papers, including my own Miami Herald, dropped everything to jump onto what was a pretty interesting story of a pissed off producer and some clumsy handling of interior PR by a couple of major corporations.

“Dirty linen” I suppose is news. I like to think it was more than that. I think it was a valuable lesson…or lessons…learned by a whole bunch of people. I, for one, learned that this website is not the flop I thought it might be. I also was reminded that Cagney & Lacey has always been a good thing on which to hang one’s hat and that David & Goliath is, after all, a great yarn.

More important is that I believe MGM has learned some things and that these lessons will serve them well in what I hope will be a long future for them. What I feel they came to understand is that those boxes, on those seemingly endless shelves that they own and/or control, are more than “product” to those of us who created that stuff in the long ago. We may not be a model for Mother Theresa, but like her, many of us feel defined by our work. I know that when my time on the planet comes to an end, the obituary in the New York Times will lead with, Barney Rosenzweig, producer of Cagney & Lacey...

I think MGM and Fox both understand all that a little bit better today and it is important that they do, because, if they think I am a pain in the ass, wait until they start handling product produced by Steven Bochco, David Milch, John Wells, J. J. Abrams and David E. Kelley.

In the not so long ago, producers of vintage stuff didn’t live as long as the aforementioned, let alone yours truly and studios could just pretty much do whatever they might want. But now…even though they may have the legal right to autonomy…they can no longer ignore the moral and ethical rights of the passionate people who create this material and who still care enough to see it through yet another incarnation. MGM has now demonstrated to me they understand this and will act accordingly and it makes me smile for a whole bunch of reasons…not the least of which is that nearly 50 years ago, when I started this road into show business, that road began at the East Gate entrance of the then venerable MGM Studios. And now, all these years later, I am very okay about having that road come to an end with the very same company.

That’s it. For now. We will keep you informed. You have proven to be great allies and we…not just me, but Sharon Gless, Tyne Daly, Barbara Corday, Carole R. Smith, Paul Gendreau, Penny Sansevieri and her team at Author Marketing Experts, we all thank you for being there and for caring.

Barney Rosenzweig
March 23, 2007

19 comments:

deb kelly said...

Way to go Barney!! I was just beginning to realize I would be happy with just your book for now--anything! My cell phone rings the C&L theme and I am 56 years old!!

Thank you for getting the whole mess straightened out! Kudos to all of you on the release. I will still send letters to all the talk shows asking for all of you to guest on the 25th anniv.

Gearoid said...

Mr. Rosenzweig, you are a wonderful man!

Gearoid

LisaD said...

What a relief! I was so disappointed when I read the news that the DVD release was being postponed. I have been planning on giving it as a gift to a friend for over a year, not to mention I want a copy for myself. I was all set to come home tonight and start e-mailing all the entertainment shows about the injustice of it all. It brought me back to the day many years ago when I spontaneously wrote a letter to CBS about the cancellation of C&L, only to later find out I was part of a phenomenal outpouring over this groundbreaking series.

I wish I was able to attend the L.A. Museum event in April but I will for certain go to the NYC museum once the event is archived. And I will be setting my DVR for every TV appearance made by anyone in connection with the book & DVD release.

Thank you Barney, for being so diligent and so relentless in making this happen and keeping the fans involved. We're still here, ready to celebrate with you, Sharon, Tyne and everyone else who made Cagney & Lacey so special.

Kristian said...

I am very happy for this! I loved C&L and I'm a big fan. One part of it is because I'm an actor myself, and I adore the characters of C&L. Their work has inspired myself. Kind regards, Kris, Sweden

Melissa said...

Barney,

Absolutely fantastic news! I can rest my fingers now as they have become weary from preparing letters and searching for every entertainment venue I could think of to send them to........

Melissa

Late Edition said...

Fantastic news!! Congrats to all concerned ... I have a question, Mr R. I'm in Australia and I know from personal experience that there are a bunch of people out here hanging out for the DVD release .... is there any news about when Region 4 will get C&L on DVD? Thanks in advance for any news you can give Aussie fans.

Debbie said...

I am so excited to hear this wonderful news :o) I'm glad that it all got straightened out and I will be preordering this as soon as possible.

I had a feeling with determination from all of us that it would get worked out.

I would do anything for this show to be seen again and I am going to treasure it in my collection.

Thanks for keeping us updated as to this great news!

I am off to watch Queer As Folk :o)

Kristy said...

WAY TO GO, BARNEY!!! I just knew you would conquer Goliath. And how wonderful to see dedicated C&L fans ready to mobilize AGAIN at a moment's notice. How proud you all must feel to know that your loyal fans from 25 years ago are still so inspired by your work and your dedication.

Aside from "Cagney and Lacey" being such compelling viewing, I think the reason you connected so deeply with your audience is because we could feel the dedication and passion that went into the series. You, Sharon, Tyne and the writers/directors made the lives of Chris and Mary-Beth, and their relationship with each other, so true it simply resonated inside us as viewers. I have enjoyed other series' since but none has made me feel the way C&L did.

So now I'm ready for that DVD. And the book. How long until Mother's Day? I've already given my "wish list" to my husband and daughter. :)

WOO-HOO!!!

Kristy

Pip said...

All I can say is this is fantastic news!! A big thankyou to everyone involved for helping to make this happen!

Pip

Zandra LaPoI said...

Well Done!! Everyone!! I pre-ordered my DVDs from Amazon.com (even though I am a Brit and know I'll get stung for a 'Customs' charge when they arrive!) and can't wait.

Barney, thanks for all you have done, if I ever win the UK lottery I will make a 'donation' to your C&L fund!!!!!

Love,

Zandra LaPoI
UK

Meredith said...

That's terriffic! Now, as long as my loved ones know I'd better get it for my birthday. My mom & my wife can argue about who buys it for me as long as one of them does. I'd buy it for myself to ensure it but I'm not allowed to shop that close to my birthday. :)

This worked even better than the letter writing campaign of the '80's.

Peace, Meredith Toenjes

Kristy said...

Hey, "WIN/WIN"? Sort of like painting the Jane at the 14th??? Lt. Samuels was right! :)

Kristy

Kyle B. said...

I hope the sales for the initial DVDs are strong enough to warrant the release of subsequent seasons. When I was younger, I liked the first (pre-cancellation) Gless season better than the others - it was more of a straightforward police drama. I didn't like the episodes focusing on the detectives' personal crises as much.

Now that I'm older, I realize how great those "personal" episodes are. A few years ago, I caught the breast cancer arc, which I had previously dismissed as "very special episodes". They were all very good, but the best episode of that bunch was the one that picked up several months *after* Lacey's surgery, with Lacey deciding to take a year's leave-of-absence, and Cagney trying to figure out why (while Samuels pressures her to pick a new partner). There's a great confrontation scene towards the end where Lacey reveals exactly why she doesn't want to go back to work. One of the best episodes of the series, I think.

As a completist, I'd like to see the pilot and Meg Foster episodes in this set. But the fact of the matter is that Foster didn't have chemistry with Tyne Daly the way Gless did, and those episodes are pretty forgettable.

BTW, I've noticed that most of the comments are from women. I'm a guy who appreciates a good TV series, no matter what gender the leads are.

Ian said...

hooray!!! the first coat of paint has been put on the women's room. mazal tov.

Cathy said...

Dear Barney,

What's that they say about the 'squeaky wheel'? Good to see your trademark tenacity on display! 'Cagney & Lacey' fans are grateful.

Cheers to you and the fab ladies you've championed.

Cathy

geneann said...

Do you Brits know that in the UK ITV3 is currently screening C&L Monday-Friday. I think they started with episode 1 on 19 March, but I did not find out until Friday, so I missed the first 4. Meg Foster was Cagney until yesterday (Monday 26th), and from my quick glance whilst recording today, it looks as if Sharon is now Cagney, which indicates they are showing them from the beginning.
The ITV website does not indicate how many they plan to show, so if you've got satellite or freeview - set your recorders.

geneann said...

A Postscript to my previous message - I still want the full set of DVDs asap please - home recordings are just not as good, and with the ITV3 showing there is 15 minutes of adverts.
According to Amazon UK, the DVD "ReTro TV - Cagney & Lacey - The True Beginning" is released on 25 June 2007.

Dusty Iuga said...

Hi Mr. Barney. I just purchased my favorite memories from Best Buy....Cagney and Lacey. I was not happy at first because DVD #1 would not play. I was really upset but #2-#4 does play correctly.
I am also writing because I want to speak with you about an animation I am working on. May I could speak with you? Maybe I could send you a DVD? Maybe?

jacksonintl2 said...

When do we get the next installment of C & L? I've watched the first set 3 times; I'm hungry for more episodes! Is there a calendar for more release dates? I've been searching for C & L since they first began releasing TV Shows of any genre. With a loud "WOO HOO!!!" and a happy dance I pre-ordered as soon as I got the news. Can't wait for more!