The Hogan Family (The Valerie Harper sitcom)- why no syndication or DVD release?

Discussion in 'Visual Arts' started by PaulKTF, Jan 27, 2016.

  1. PaulKTF

    PaulKTF Forum Resident Thread Starter

    Location:
    USA
    Is there some reason Valerie (AKA: Valerie's Family and The Hogan Family) isn't on DVD and is rarely seen in syndication?

    It ran for six seasons...

    http://epguides.com/HoganFamily/

    and I remember it being pretty funny both before and after Valerie left the show.

    Here are some links that cover the history of the series.

    http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Series/TheHoganFamily?from=Main.TheHoganFamily

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Hogan_Family

    Is there some legal reason the show isn't syndicated? Do networks just not want to air a mix of the Valerie Harper and Sandy Duncan episodes?

    I'd love to see Antenna TV pick it up even if it's just to air it for two episodes every Saturday after Small Wonder or something.

    How can you not love a show with a great theme song sung by Roberta Flack? :)

     
    Last edited: Jan 27, 2016
  2. Vidiot

    Vidiot Now in 4K HDR!

    Location:
    Hollywood, USA
    I worked on Valerie and Hogan's Family a little bit (with colorist Gary Barron), and I would say there's several factors here:

    1) Warner Bros. doesn't think there's enough of an audience to market it on DVD

    2) it's a very dated show that won't hold up well today

    3) if they were to remaster it in HD -- which is technically possible because it was all shot on 35mm film -- it would cost a bloody fortune (but is feasible)

    I remember we were thrown for a loop when Valerie Harper -- who I was told was a very nice lady with the crew but was tough on the producers, Miller-Boyett -- tried to hold them up for more money, and they responded by firing her and replacing her with Sandy Duncan. Harper was shocked, because she just assumed they'd give her the money, and she took them to court; after years of fighting about it, they had to settle and pay her off. I think both sides acted badly, but the show suffered in her absence.

    BTW, I watched that horrible-quality YouTube clip and was reminded how my old company, Complete Post, used just about the same font for the opening titles on every sitcom they did. It's hilarious, awful, and sad at the same time. Here's a better-quality version:



    I remember with The Hogan Family it was one of the first shows edited with I think Avid or one of the other random-access editing systems (not 3/4", which most of them were), and we went through absolute hell getting that to work around 1990 or so. We take all this stuff for granted now, but 25 years ago, computerized video editing was really a mess. Because the show is so old, it'd be very, very complicated and time-consuming to put all those film pieces together in HD. But... the studios did it for Cheers and they did it for Seinfeld, but the difference is those two shows were huge classics that ran for many years, made billions of dollars, and still have huge audiences in syndication.
     
    Last edited: Jan 27, 2016
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  3. Thwacko

    Thwacko Forum Resident

    Location:
    Fort Mill, SC
    I remember the show was big at the time, and pretty much disappeared after its run.

    Vidiot: I love reading your informative posts. I remember the 80s credit font!

    For anyone interested, Hogan family dad Josh Taylor has been "Roman Brady" on Days of Our Lives since around 1997.
     
  4. PaulKTF

    PaulKTF Forum Resident Thread Starter

    Location:
    USA
    The Hogan Family doesn't look dated to me- or I should say it doesn't look badly dated. :shrug: Besides, even if it was badly dated, that doesn't stop them from re-running a show from the 50's or 60's...

    Six years is a really good run for a sitcom, even if the show was probably only popular for 3 or 4 of those seasons.
     
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  5. Spaghettiows

    Spaghettiows Forum Resident

    Location:
    Silver Creek, NY
    It was popular, but for some reason not remembered as much as Family Ties, Growing Pains, Full House and possibly a few other 80s family sitcoms. I think it just got lost in that ocean of very similar sitcoms of the 80s. There were just so many of those shows back then.
     
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  6. PaulKTF

    PaulKTF Forum Resident Thread Starter

    Location:
    USA
    That Miller-Boyett font is instantly recognizable. The used it on Family Matters and a bunch of others, too.
     
  7. Torontotom

    Torontotom Forum Resident

    Location:
    Canada
    It was a decent show but it didn't really have anything that made it stand out from the pack, though I watched it regularly.

    The show started off well but then Jason Bateman started to garner all the attention and Harper had issues with the producers. For a long time, the backstage drama seemed to upstage the show itself but I will give props to Sandy Duncan for seamlessly blending into the ensemble. She did a good job under difficult circumstances.

    I still can't believe that they called the show "Valerie's Family" after Harper left the show. I can't decide if that was macabre or the producers being vindictive and spiteful or if that was the only name they could use (as a result of the lawsuit).

    I thought the actors who played the kids were great and had good comic timing and of course, Edie McClurg was a joy as Mrs. Poole.
     
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  8. PaulKTF

    PaulKTF Forum Resident Thread Starter

    Location:
    USA
    They called it Valerie's Family because there was still hope that during that third season she might return to the show (how she would return from a deadly car crash is something that would have required some very creative writing!).
     
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  9. Torontotom

    Torontotom Forum Resident

    Location:
    Canada
    I don't think that's true. From what I recall, Harper said that she thought she and the producers had come to a resolution. She came to the set and they shot the second episode of the third season (she missed the first episode because of the dispute). Then, as a means of making Harper an example, they fired her.
     
  10. driverdrummer

    driverdrummer Forum Resident

    Location:
    Irmo, SC
    I'm a fan of the Miller/Boyett sitcoms. The Family Matters DVDs look nice.
     
  11. PaulKTF

    PaulKTF Forum Resident Thread Starter

    Location:
    USA
    Yeah, I like them too. T.G.I.F! :)
     
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  12. balzac

    balzac Forum Resident

    This is just another sitcom of that era that was presumably popular enough when it aired (it did get SIX seasons), and popular enough to enter syndication for awhile, and has since dropped off the face of the planet for the most part.

    Is the show dated? Sure, but not any more so than other shows of that era that have been released. Not surprisingly given the producers, the show was very similar to "Full House" and "Family Matters" and "Step by Step" and that ilk. Difference is of course it didn't have a break-out cultural phenomenon like "Full House" and Urkel. It's sort of more like "Mr. Belevedere" or something like that, although even "Mr. Belvedere" seems to have a small fanbase of hardcore, dedicated fans that helped get most (but not all) of the seasons out on DVD.

    It wouldn't be far fetched to see Warner Archive (or some other equivalent) put sets out for Valerie's/Hogan Family. Can't see them rescanning and recomping everything in HD, but they don't have to do that. Warner Bros. has put numerous seasons out of Urkel, and those are all taken from video masters even though it was also shot on film. The Urkel DVDs look fine. Obviously HD scans will always look even better, but the current DVDs look better than TV airings, and really look as good as a 90s sitcom shot on film and mastered in SD can look.

    As for why they kept the "Valerie's Family" title after Harper left, I'm sure it was mainly to do with trying to keep an audience for a show where they had fired the titular character of the show, of keeping a connection to the previous title so people would know this was the same show. In most cases, they wouldn' t have had a legal problem doing it, but I guess the waters were muddied since they had named the show after the real-life Valerie.

    If the producers of "House MD" or "Monk" had for some reason fired Hugh Laurie or Tony Shalhoub, I could envision them altering the titles of those shows but keeping "House" or "Monk" in the titles somehow.

    The most interesting and confusing issue would be how they would title the show if they put it out on DVD, assuming they would sell well enough to issue continual individual seasons. Seasons 1 and 2 and the beginning of 3 were "Valerie", the rest of Season 3 was "Valerie's Family" (along with, according to Wiki, "Valerie's Family: The Hogans", which I don't remember, though I didn't religiously watch the show), and Seasons 4, 5, and 6 were "The Hogan Family."

    Again, according to Wiki, apart from one seemingly random episode, the syndication package for the entire run of the series used the "Hogan Family" title.
     
    Last edited: Jan 27, 2016
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  13. PaulKTF

    PaulKTF Forum Resident Thread Starter

    Location:
    USA
    I think that more people know it as The Hogan Family than as Valerie since it ran for more seasons with that title.
     
  14. balzac

    balzac Forum Resident

    To the degree the show is remembered, that could well be true. Especially because it did air in syndication for awhile back in the 90s. I'm pretty sure I watched it in syndication more than its original airings, so I do indeed pretty much remember 'The Hogan Family" title card, even for shows with Valerie.

    But it's probably also true that a lot of people of that era might remember the show because of its high-profile (for the time anyway) acrimonious lawsuits between Harper and the producers.

    I recall reading some time back a detailed magazine article from back during that era, and the whole case was pretty interesting; from the on-set acrimony down to the implications of the industry in terms of the producers/network being willing to fire the lead on a sitcom, the show's titular character no less, and still be willing to continue without them (even "Two and Half Men" wasn't named after Charlie Sheen's character).
     
  15. PaulKTF

    PaulKTF Forum Resident Thread Starter

    Location:
    USA
    To the producers' credit, they were right- the show didn't lose nay steam without Harper and was as popular as ever for four (!) more seasons. I bet some people don't even know that Harper was ever on the show and only know the Sandy Duncan version.
     
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  16. Thwacko

    Thwacko Forum Resident

    Location:
    Fort Mill, SC
    Does anyone know what the Complete Post/Miller-Boyett font is?
     
  17. Cerebus

    Cerebus Forum Resident

    Location:
    Seattle
    I'm pretty sure I watched all but the last season as they were broadcast. I enjoyed the ensemble and was a big fan of Jason Bateman, though I'm not sure it would still hold up now.
     
  18. PaulKTF

    PaulKTF Forum Resident Thread Starter

    Location:
    USA
  19. sparkydog

    sparkydog Forum Resident

    Location:
    Kentucky
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  20. guy incognito

    guy incognito Forum Resident

    Location:
    Mee-chigan
    It could have been the Topper of a new generation. :D
     
  21. Cerebus

    Cerebus Forum Resident

    Location:
    Seattle
    Or My Mother the Car.
     
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  22. Torontotom

    Torontotom Forum Resident

    Location:
    Canada
    I definitely think it was a case of using her as an example to deter other stars from attempting the same. She won in the end but it was quite the battle.

    I never knew until years later that she actually did film material for the third season. I had always assumed she had been fired before any filming of the third season. I also assumed she was being selfish and a diva but she did (so she thought) resolve the matter. But I was also not even a teenager at the time so I didn't know the full story.
     
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  23. Thwacko

    Thwacko Forum Resident

    Location:
    Fort Mill, SC
    For anyone still interested, the credits font appears to be in the Garamond family.
     
  24. feinstei9415

    feinstei9415 Forum Resident

    Location:
    South Bend, IN
    In the screenshot that Vidiot posted, it shows the co-producer as Richard Correll. Glad to see that he had a long a productive career after playing "Richard Rickover" on the last couple of seasons of "Leave It To Beaver".
     
  25. Torontotom

    Torontotom Forum Resident

    Location:
    Canada
    There is another thread about Mr. Belvedere and I recall that both shows had special episodes that dealt with AIDS in a very sensitive manner.

    I always respected and remembered both shows for that alone, even if they were not huge hits.
     
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