WKRP Music Cuts More Extensive Than Expected
March 31, 2007

WKRP in Cincinnati Season 1

Looks like I won’t be getting the upcoming WKRP in Cincinnati: The Complete First Season DVD set after all.

At least, not if this description of music cuts is accurate.

in this DVD release, there’s little more half-a-dozen real musical recordings left in. … It’s possible that Fox meant well. They’d been getting requests from fans to release it, so they did. And many of the songs that were cut are just incredibly expensive, like Pink Floyd. But ultimately, if they couldn’t afford to release the show without more music than included here, this might be one of those cases when they should have turned a deaf ear to fan requests. After all, they knew they couldn’t afford to keep the music; we fans didn’t. Or perhaps it would have been better to start with a best-of disc, focusing on episodes without much music…

I’m most concerned with cuts to the footage to cover up the changes and the use of the shorter syndication versions for some episodes. When a show’s about music and the effect it has on people, releasing such an incomplete version suggests that the studio doesn’t understand what they’re doing.

14 Responses  
Chad Anderson writes:  

I’m reminded of a review of the first-season DVD set of Wiseguy in the New York Times from a few years ago. I skipped the show when it originally aired, and the review made me feel like that was a big mistake. I was all ready to run out and buy the set when I got to the final paragraph, in which the writer described a pivotal scene in the series, and all that enthusiasm got deflated (and I quote):

“When this episode was first broadcast in 1987, the soundtrack swelled with the Moody Blues’ ”Nights in White Satin” during Vinnie and Sonny’s final heart-to-heart. Their eyes — blackened and swollen — locked right at the line, ”And I love you, oh, how I love you.” It is a profound disappointment that, for contractual reasons, ”Nights in White Satin” has been removed from the DVD version. In his commentary, Mr. Wahl also laments the song’s absence, ”because it really said it all.” Especially the parts that went unsaid.”

Total bummer. Guess I won’t be buying WKRP either.

Dan Coyle writes:  

You know, that didn’t bother me as much as did later episodes, which had some horribly canned rock and pop switched out for more expensive songs- any episode set around Vinnie’s old neighborhood, in particular, was unlistenable.

Tim O'Shea writes:  

Venus Flytrap and Les Nessman are funny no matter what music is played. Plus as a listener to Atlanta’s WQXI (Wilson’s inspiration for WKRP) back in the 1970s, I love the series as a partial trip through my childhood.

I grew up with a dad who listened to the radio play by play of a baseball game while watching the game on TV with the sound off. So I figure if it’s bothersome enough, I’ll try a variation on that.

Matthew Craig writes:  

“Related Posts: Planetary/Batman: Night on Earth”

Did Adam West whip out the Bat-Anti-Network-Radio in that story, as well? :)


Johanna writes:  

Sometimes the computer is very good at finding unexpected connections. Sometimes it gets confused. :)

Dave Mahlin writes:  

This is really disappointing news. WKRP is one of those shows that I watched over and over in syndication (I saw a lot of it first -run but I was about 11 when it started and didn’t get a lot of the jokes first time around) and have vivid memories of a lot of the bits and the music associated with them. I had high hopes after some of the things I’d read lately but perhaps I should have known better.

Les getting ready to attend the awards banquet with anything other than Foreigner’s “Hot Blodded” playing just seems wrong.

I remember another classic bit with Johnny and Mr Carlson, with references made to Pink Floyd. If “Animals” is not the album being heard at the moment, it just doesn’t work.

Imagine re-reading one of your favorite comic book story-arcs – perhaps in a new deluxe hardcover form after many years of it being out of print- and discovering that key sequences had been re-drawn by some hack no-name loser that you’ve never heard of. Feelin’ any pain now?

Barry writes:  

I’ve been waiting for years for WKRP to come out on DVD and while I’d hate for whole scenes to be removed I have no problem with the music being edited, as that was never the reason I loved the show. With the exception of Layla in one scene, I don’t even remember the music they used. For me, the show was always about the comedy and characters and it was and always will be one of the funniest TV shows I’ve ever seen. So I’ll definitely be buying.

Rob Staeger writes:  

The song use I remember was Elton John’s Tiny Dancer — it started playing at the end of an episode where (IIRC) an attempted Russian defector was taken away to return home. He left Bailey, who he was smitten with, saying “Holt me closer, tiny danser.” It was a sad moment, and the song’s brought it back to me ever since. (At the same time, I could be misremembering it entirely — but that’s what the song evokes in me just the same.)

Johanna writes:  

That’s my number one music memory of WKRP as well. So heartbreaking.

Dave Mahlin writes:  

Re: Tiny Dancer: I remember that episode though not the song use. Perhaps “Almost Famous” has over-written it in my memory.

One other that stands out for me is one where Bailey invited Johnny to go to a movie with her and he forgot to show up. So there’s Bailey hanging around the station lobby with that “stood up” look (and, as usual, looking about 3,000 times hotter than Jennifer ever could), while Earth, Wind & Fire’s “After The Love Is Gone” plays in the background. THAT one stands out because it’s one of the junior-high slow dance classics of my generation.

….which of course underscores why retaining the original music is so important. The tunes really capture the flavor of the era and add a whole extra layer of enjoyment for the people who are mostly likely shell out for a boxed-set of a 25-30 year-old sitcom that never was much of a ratings hit in the first place. It’s like “the Graduate” with all the Simon & Garfunkel songs removed.

Adam writes:  

Things like this make me want to “steal” music off the internet. Watching old movies and shows often remind me of an album I do not have, so I go out and buy it. I guess the only thing worse would be the bluring of the posters in the back ground; but it would not surprise me.

Johanna writes:  

Thanks for the pointers — it’s a shame that the show’s creator wasn’t even told about how extensive the music cuts were until a journalist pointed it out.

Dreams Come True! WKRP Complete Series Coming » DVDs Worth Watching writes:  

[…] was an important part of the show, and the rights have been a problem in the past. There was a first season release in 2007 that made extensive cuts to avoid licensing costs, even to the point of eliminating scenes […]


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