Hart Sharp inks deal for TV DVD titles

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Hart Sharp Video has inked a licensing deal with TV Guide Magazine Group, publisher of the venerable TV Guide, to distribute classic TV DVD titles.

Under terms of the deal, New York-based Hart Sharp will release up to six television programs on DVD under the "TV Guide Presents" brand.

The first release, "Banacek: The First Season," features the late George Peppard as wealthy Boston private eye Thomas Banacek. Special features in the double-DVD set, due May 15, include a photo gallery from the 1972 series, a TV Guide crossword puzzle and access to a "Banacek" microsite at TVGuide.com.

TV Guide will market the DVDs in the magazine, on cable (TV Guide Channel) and its Web site.

"Banacek," which has never been released on DVD, was acquired from NBC Universal in a two-series deal brokered by Hart Sharp president Joe Amodei and Shelli Hill, vp of video, music and product development at NBC Universal Television Distribution.

The second NBC title, slated for release in July, is a four-disc set of "The Crow: Stairway to Heaven," starring Mark Dacascos in a 22-episode 1998 TV adaptation of the eponymous theatrical franchise.

Separately, Hart Sharp in June will street a two-disc set, "Trapped in TV Guide," with original programming from the TV Guide Channel that features unsuspecting people subjected to pranks based on outtakes from TV comedies such as "I Love Lucy," "My Name is Earl" and "Sex in the City," among others.

"I have been a weekly subscriber to TV Guide since the days of rabbit ears, Amodei said. "TV Guide is one of the most trusted brands in television. I expect to release one 'TV Guide' title per month beginning in the third quarter."

Erik Gruenwedel is senior editor at Home Media Magazine.
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