It’s surprising how often a TV series can be derailed when its original music has been replaced. All you need for your proof is watching The Wonder Years on Netflix, where the series’ classic 1960s track were all replaced by similar sounding instrumentals. Thankfully, StarVista Entertainment and TimeLife are righting that particular wrong with a full-series DVD set, and Shout Factory is gloriously doing the same for the classic sitcom WKRP in Cincinnati. Maybe you and me were never meant to be, but a series that takes place inside of a radio station is meant to be experienced with its original music intact.
The WKRP in Cincinnati DVDs were first announced by the cast during a reunion at the Paley Center back in June, but Shout Factory has now released the set’s full list of specs and features, the most important of which is obviously the musical restoration. In their press release, Shout Factory concedes that certain songs were seemingly impossible to clear the rights to, but they assure fans that their intentions were to create the best possible release of the show on DVD. WKRP in Cincinnati already saw its first season make it to DVD, but sales were poor so nothing else followed it.
And part of those low sales can be blamed on the awful substitution music created for the show’s syndicated run; in some places, scenes were chopped up and the character voices were redubbed so that no music conflicts arose. Well over 100 artists’ tracks will be heard on WKRP in Cincinnati episodes for the first time since the music rights expired at some point after its cancellation in 1982. Musicians from all genres will be heard, including Credence Clearwater Revival, Otis Redding, The Police, Nick Lowe, Stevie Wonder, Kool and the Gang, Elton John, and just about every other popular act from the 1960s and 1970s. Let’s not forget the show’s theme, which was released in 1979 by Steve Carlisle and did marginally well on the charts.
All 90 episodes of WKRP in Cincinnati’s four-season run will appear on 13 discs, with new special features added. The biggest is perhaps the Paley Center reunion mentioned earlier, which brought together co-stars Howard “Dr. Fever” Hesseman, Tim “Venus Flytrap” Reid, Loni “Jennifer Marlowe” Anderson, Jan “Bailey Quarters” Smithers and show creator Hugh Wilson. “A Conversation with Gary Sandy” will presumably be centered on program director Andy Travis and his troubles trying to keep the radio station above water. Additionally, there are two featurettes: “Do My Eyes Say Yes?” and “A ‘Fish Story’ Story.”
The DVD set is planned for release on October 28, but you can preorder it at Shout Factory to get it shipped free to your house on October 9.
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Nick is a Cajun Country native and an Assistant Managing Editor with a focus on TV and features. His humble origin story with CinemaBlend began all the way back in the pre-streaming era, circa 2009, as a freelancing DVD reviewer and TV recapper. Nick leapfrogged over to the small screen to cover more and more television news and interviews, eventually taking over the section for the current era and covering topics like Yellowstone, The Walking Dead and horror. Born in Louisiana and currently living in Texas — Who Dat Nation over America’s Team all day, all night — Nick spent several years in the hospitality industry, and also worked as a 911 operator. If you ever happened to hear his music or read his comics/short stories, you have his sympathy.