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.
March 23, 2007