Why Hasn’t the Rest of CHiPs Been Released on DVD? Rumor Rundown

// February 20th, 2014 // CHiPs

Hi, Sue here!oie_transparent (9)

As the admin of this site and Larry’s Facebook fan page, I get asked a lot of questions, and the most frequently asked one is by far, “When will Seasons 3-6 be released on DVD?”

Sadly, there’s no clear answer to that. Warner Brothers has been silent on the subject except to say there are no “specific plans” to release the rest of the series on DVD. Why? Well that depends on who you talk to.  There have been quite a few rumors circulating but none have been confirmed:

Sales were below target. This is the most common reason why a series DVD release is left incomplete. Warner Brothers never released specific sales figures, but if the amount of fans clamoring for Season 3 any beyond is any indication, sales were far from poor.

Catastrophic glitch. The story here is that a WB sound tech was transferring the audio tracks for Seasons 3-6 from the CHiPs masters to digital and accidentally erased them instead. This doesn’t seem very plausible.

California demands payment. If this rumor is to be believed, the state of California, being well..dead broke, and seeing how popular Seasons 1-2 were, decided Warner Brothers needed to pay a licensing fee for the rights to sell anything featuring the CHP and its logos. Warner Brothers said no way, and CHiPs went back into the vault. This seems very doubtful as it doesn’t appear either Emergency! or Adam-12 were asked for any such fees. Both series have been released in their entirety.

Economic decision. According to this rumor, when the economy crashed in 2008, Warner Brothers decided to stop releasing their classic shows on DVD and concentrate their resources on their current shows. Since WB has released a lot of older content in the past few years, it’s doubtful this rumor holds any water.

Roller Disco nightmare. This rumor could very well have some legitimacy. The third season includes the 2 hour special, Roller Disco, which includes dozens of celebrity guest stars and some musical performances. The record company that owns the music demands licensing fees for its use, and all those guest stars (and for some, their estates) expect a piece of the pie as well. The expenses involved were just too steep for Warner Brothers. There’s also some speculation that since Seasons 3 and onward were scored by the great Alan Silvestri, that there may be licensing issues there too.

This is a very real problem with classic TV shows. “Miami Vice” had to change a good chunk of it’s music before it could be released, and “Life Goes On”, which uses a Beatles song as its theme, also ran into issues. This problem is why we will likely never see any of the classic variety shows on DVD. Every performer in them demands a piece of the pie and its just too expensive. Donny Osmond ran into this when he attempted to release “Donny & Marie” a few years back. The result was that Season 1 turned into “The Best Of” and consisted of a mere 45 minutes or so of footage, since he wasn’t allowed to use 90% of it because of the licensing issue. It’s a sad thing.

Well there you have it. Lots of rumors, none substantiated. I know its frustrating not to have answers, but unfortunately there isn’t much we can do. I know there are many sites out there offering the complete series on DVD, and I know it’s tempting, but please don’t buy from them.

Those sites are breaking the law, and ripping people off at the same time. The sets are very poor quality-usually episodes copied from old videotapes-and the DVDs are as well. I’ve heard stories about discs being corrupted, blank and duplicated. The episodes are almost always recorded off TNT, TBS or Bravo UK. Selling them is illegal, and the funds made from the sales often go to finance some ugly things including terrorism. Furthermore, the sets are often put together in sweatshop like conditions. As hard as it may be, just avoid them.

Downloading episodes from torrent sites and the like may be tempting too, but again, it’s illegal and can be very unsafe. Scammers load these sites with fake files that look like legit episodes and songs but are actually malware. Not worth the risk.

The best thing to do is to go to Warner Brothers’ website and let them know you want CHiPs! Let them know how you feel. The more fans do this, the better chance we have at being heard.

I hope this helps answer this question I get asked easily 40-50 times a day, and sorry I don’t have better news!


41 Responses to “Why Hasn’t the Rest of CHiPs Been Released on DVD? Rumor Rundown”

  1. Shawnette says:

    Thanks for the info! I have to admit, I have been tempted to buy the complete set, but in the end decided to wait for them to be released. Time to start sending emails to Warner Bros!

  2. Nathalie says:

    so sad….

  3. Jessica says:

    I don’t know how Netflix works… would the same hold-ups also apply to releasing those shows on a site like Netflix? Just thinking out loud here… 🙂

  4. Paul says:

    It’s most likely a combination of all of the above. Music licensing is definitely a HUGE culprit in shows – that’s why we haven’t seen Wonder Years and WKRP in Cincinnati have much released (they went so far as to change almost all of the music in WKRP which essentially ruined the episodes).

    But with CHiPs, I’d bet low sales were the biggest issue. They could easily release the 3rd season without the Roller Disco episode.

    What I don’t understand is with shows that have low sales and no music licensing issues, why not just release them on iTunes/Amazon/Google Play? There is no cost of duplication and there is no cost of physical media or packaging (other than the space on a server hard drive). Die hard fans would pay a premium to be able to get them.

  5. Paul says:

    @Jessica – Netflix pays a licensing fee for a certain amount of time, be it a year or whatever. The cost of licensing music and appearances would be tied into that cost for Netflix. My guess is that WB isn’t making it available to Netflix. Since it’s a TV show, Hulu Plus would probably be a better venue for it. Netflix is better for movies, Hulu Plus for old TV shows.

  6. Sam says:

    Silvestri scored several episodes in season 2 so that probably isn’t the issue.

  7. Robert Rhyndress says:

    yes i have chips season 1and 2 and i would very very much like to have the rest of the show i have been why ting for years for it and for the FALL GUY i have the first season of that but i would like the last 4 seasons thank you

  8. Troy Mcdonald says:

    I loved this show, Jon and Poncherello and the rest of the gang are great. One of the most positive shows ever made.

  9. Robert Rhyndress says:

    thank you for your response but if it’s just a matter of money they wont or rights they should get over them self and put it out because if they put it out at a fare price they can be sure it will sell in face i read some plays that shortly after CHIPS came out there was a very very big jump in people joining the C.H.P. Academy because they liked CHIPS that much and just maybe to honor all the men and women that are police and put there life on the line every day to keep use all safe they should get over this rights and money thing and say thank you to them by putting it out well thank you for the info talk with you later

  10. TONY MONTOYA says:

    i would love to have the rest of the series i grew up on this tv and inspired me to be a police officer.

  11. Donna says:

    This information is so disappointing! I not only work civil service for the CHP, but I have two grandsons who want to be officers one day. They watch CHiPs EVERY DAY and have been begging me to get more seasons! I will definitely be making a squawk at Warner Brothers!

    • Robert Rhyndress says:

      just wonted to say thank you Sue for keeping me up to date on chips i have been hoping for years that they would put out the last 4 seasons of the fall guy but last i red was something about one guy had the money for that and the other guy had the rights and they were fighting over that and nether of them wonted to give in but i can tell you if they ever get there act together and put out the fall guy and chips on dvd so long as the price is not to high i can say there well most likely be a very lot of fans buying that show and i well be one of them for sure so like i said sue thank you very much for keeping me up to date on that stuff

  12. Steve says:

    I have just two words to say about this whole situation- HORSE HOCKEY!!

  13. audrey says:

    Why start it when you ain’t going to finish putting them out, there are some of us who do want the whole series….like me for instance. I wouldn’t had wasted my time/money if I knew they wasn’t going to put the rest out. Oh well I hope they put the rest of them out.

  14. Robert Rhyndress says:

    well you can bet on one thing Sue is doing her best but you are not by your self on that but what i would say is that if they hurry up and get the rest of shows like Chips and The Fall Guy out on D.V.D. they can be sure lots of copys well sell

  15. aj says:

    I can’t Believe high cost music licensing to be a issue. If that were the case then there would be no iTunes or iPods. See Steve jobs biography.

    I believe it’s Warner brothers inability to get with the times and piracy resulting in low sales.

    Six million dollar man was putt all seasons on DVD by time life.

    No chart topping song is worth more than $0.99 these days. So certainly thirty year old songs are worth way way less. Artists don’t negotiate these fees. Companies do in Canada there’s a central royalty company. No radio station goes around paying each and every artist themselves. Plus copyrights expire.

    In the end it’s low sales and piracy.

    Solution iTunes and Google play. Limited time offer or time life. Thereal fans will buy. Or tie it as a promotion to new movie.

    • ck says:

      @aj: “I can’t Believe high cost music licensing to be a issue. If that were the case then there would be no iTunes or iPods. See Steve jobs biography.”

      It’s music licensing for home video, which is a totally different animal to the sale of songs as a single or album over the Internet.
      When the home video market for TV shows took over in the late nineties due to DVD, clauses were added in the standard contracts for the artists and musical publishers, which covered home video releases.
      But for older shows, these clauses didn’t exist, so the studio has to get a new agreement from all those concerned. The issues are that some of them can’t be found after a few decades and that some of those who are found make unreasonable requests (like the guy who wrote the score for The Fugitive).

      The Shout! Factory label is famous for being able to release unaltered versions of shows mired in many rights issues for the soundtrack (Freaks & Geeks, Get A Life, WKRP, SCTV). The guys in charge are actually the founders of Rhino Records, a music label that was able to release many cross-labels anthologies and compilations, so they know who to contact and how to deal with the people. Unfortunately, Warner Home Video has a corporate wide policy on licensing, and they don’t have deals with third parties (but it may be changing).

  16. aj says:

    It aught to be illegal to modify a broadcasted work I was given Miami vice DVD set add a gift. You all here say music was changed. That’s censorship smack all over that. Plus you’re messing with my memories and nostalgia.

    Once a work is done that should be it. What’s next?

    There needs to be a limit on artists and estates, sure they should get paid but in percentages of retail price? Or wholesale price not a flat fee forever.

  17. Robert Rhyndress says:

    the most i can see is that it could be one of those things were one guy has the cash and the other guy has the rights and they both wont to make cash so the guy that has the rights well not give them up but i did see a site were they were offering chip the complete series but i thought i may be one of those sites that did not have the rights to do them anyway i am one of those people that would buy the last 4 seasons of chips if it came out

  18. Paul says:

    It’s only censorship if the government does the restricting. Private companies can do what they want.

    As far as licensing goes… say it’s even 20 cents a song. A show like WKRP in Cincinnati could have 4-5 songs per episode. Imagine adding a $1 per episode – now you’re talking another $25 per season. That gets REAL expensive quickly – make the cost too high for most people. (And let’s face it… they aren’t going to settle for 20 cents.) Most likely, they negotiate a percentage of the sales and it’s probably too high for the television producers to make a decent profit. Especially on a show that may not have enough fans to justify producting it.

    The negotiations here in the US are done centrally, too, I believe. But they *could* go to the individual artists and do separate negotiations if they wanted to.

    Royatlies on an ipod and itunes are totally different than on a TV show, so that has nothing to do with it.

    My take… they should produce these shows on a Made-To-Order basis. That way, the die-hard fans can get it if they want to spend the money and the TV company isn’t saddled with a bunch of unsold product. OR… just release the show on iTunes or Amazon Prime or similar… the only ongoing cost to them is server space.

    • aj says:

      Digital delivery seems to be the answer. Btw he’s called fifty cent because that’s his part of the “record” sale and he’s a current artist. Copy rights for songs etc do expire and become public domain after some time. Further a song from 35 years ago most of which are one hit wonder types not worth that much. That’s why oldies radio stations can make money with a smaller listener base.

      Since they were able to release season 1-2 of chips on DVD I’m sure they could do the rest. these shows do not need to be produced, they’ve been produced and been aired and sold many many times over the decades vhs and DVD sales are ancillary markets which most shows had already in thier agreements.

      With dvd it’s only the cost of mastering ie converting to dvd format and distribution. The making of the actual dvd and copy is actually under 0.10 cents per disk a ten disc set at most a dollar with additional fifteen cents for fancy box set packaging.

      The issue seems to be lOw sales due to piracy And corporate profits. Digital delivery may be the answer. If it were any other reason s1-2 wouldn’t have been released. Like gmo they should have to list of Miami vice or anything else Is not the same add original. It would make my buying decision different.

      As you mentioned a few cents can equal dollars. On millIons of sets it can equal millions of dollars of corporate profits.

      Likely if the main company holding the rights isn’t going to make fifty million but only five they may deem it’s not worth thier “valuable” time, If you look at how many libraries and legit collectors there’s out there as buyers who want the genuine high quality DVD release and not a pirate bootleg of dubious quality on a non permanent media such as DVD-R then you’d see that libraries and collectors alone make it worthwhile to release a book- record – dvd – cd etc. Those are guaranteed sales.

      Most likely Johnny big shot studio CEO vetoes it because instead of pressing out a million box sets or seasons discs of chips, which they now know the limited sales. They can spend the same money and Press out dvd of one direction behind the scenes which will have higher sales.

      Therefore I don’t tHink music licensing has anytHing to do with it. As to Miami vice that was just pure greed on the part of Sony. They’re loSing money in phones and Sony pictures for over seven years in a row. They’re desperate to increase profits and impress wall street. Here’s a idea Sony: stop nickle and dime nonsense and trying to impress wall street. Get back to your roots of impressing the consumer. Apple did that anditworked.

      Sony releases shows on its free Crackle app over Android iPhone and consoles all the seventies and even Gerry Seinfeld s new shows are on there. Charlie s angels on there uncut and it has music from the era too.

    • aj says:

      Hey Paul i don’t disagree with you. They could offer on kickstarter which is actually a presales mechanism.

      They don’t , that’s why I deem it’s corporate greed. Same work to release chips or something with greater sales potential.

      ITunes releases shows etc. I’ve read Steve jobs official biography in it he went to rights holders and convinced them that taking a much smaller amount on much higher sales vs zero on no sales is worth it.

      Android play Amazon prime etc all piggyback or use sales bargaining model as iTunes. In the case of Sony Crackle app i believe it’s shows produced by Columbia pictures/Sony pictures. Which in the sixties-80s was the majority of tv production as the only real compression competition they had was Easily Desilu aka paramOunt television after Lucille ball sold out to paramOunt pictures.

      The one thing that could be done is to start a pre sales kick starter and guarantee them the money to release chips remaining seasons. Then the greed of sales from libraries etc w would motivate rights holder. This way it’s a no risk situation. Presuming there’s enough fans.

      • aj says:

        tvshowsondvd.com that site offers many popular old shows and new. In individual seasons and box sets I noTiced that they lost who the publisher aka release company is. In the case of Adam 12 wkrp different strikes is a company called shoutbox!

        If interested is that they raised seasons 3 and 4 of different strokes but . You can search site by publisher. They’ve released many of the popular seventies and eighties shows.

        Perhaps we need to all email companies like these and show our support. Surely they know how to deal with rights holders.


        We could also just gUess and talk endlessly among ourselves.

  19. Ted Winslow says:

    As soon as something good happens for people, there is always something ruin it. TV shows on DVD and now greed has to ruin it. To be honest, it is almost like artists (in this case music) screw over their fans all the time. Why support music greedy music artists.

    • Paul says:

      It’s most likely NOT the artists. It’s most likely the record companies that own the publishing rights and performance rights.

  20. Robert Parish says:

    ME-tv is currently airing season 3 of CHiPS. THE Roller Disco episode was on tonight. Maybe there’s still a possible it finally being released.

  21. vicci monaco says:

    Trying to catch up with this history making show. Was in real life dramas of my own, not tuned into TV at the time. Wish for a release date to look forward to of Seasons 3-6 on DVD.

  22. Jim Davisson says:

    Yes, I am very excitedly watching season 3 here in Milwaukee on METV. So glad that it’s at least available to the networks for broadcast. (I wonder how that works?)
    Roller Disco episode was good, and High Octane is on tonight, sadly, the last episode that Brianne Leary would be in. She left with no explanation… That has always bothered me. I watched this show first run all those years ago, but lost interest after season 3, as puberty reared it’s viral head.

    • vicci monaco says:

      What exactly did you mean by “puberty raised its viral head”?
      Didn’t see a single Chips episode when they were running in 1977 till the year they ended. Maybe too much going on in my life then? Am catching reruns of the show now on ME-TV. Not certain what season is re-running at the moment. Brianne played Officer Cahill, correct?
      In my KC area the rerun tonight has/had an officer named Bonnie (apparently the Cahill replacement?).


  23. deedee says:

    Just pre-ordered season 3 on Amazon!!!!

  24. B W says:

    Amazon has a March 2015 release date of Season 3. I will be preordering it and hope it all goes well. I’m ticked that some of my favorite shows aren’t released and survior season whatever is.
    Today shows suck.

  25. Matt says:

    Chips: Season 3
    Baker Erik Estrada (Actor), Robert Pine (Actor) Format: DVD
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    Price: $26.98 & FREE Shipping on orders over $35. Details
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    This title will be released on March 3, 2015.

  26. Jim Davisson says:

    @vicci monaco;Basically, by 1980 I was more interested in girls and dating then I was in Ponch & John….

  27. vicci monaco says:

    A couple of the 1981 episodes like Mitchell & Wood, or Seven Four were terrible. I might as well have been watching Charlie’s Angels in the first example or Mission Impossible in the second! Where were the “stars” of the series(Larry and Erik but also Pine & Linke & Oakes, etc.)–3 lines at the beginning and 3 and the end of each program were allocated to the stars! Were the producers trying to showcase “new talent” in those episodes (which had little to do, or nothing to do with highway patrol)? If Warner put out Seasons 4-6, they could delete those episodes and I would be happy with that.

    • Jim Davisson says:

      Deep into Season 6 now on METV and I can see where the show has “Jumped the Shark” as it were… Many episodes are really vehicles for Frank to show himself off. I’m still enjoying the show, and will lament the last episode here in a few weeks, so I won’t say anything more negative about one of my childhood memories…

      • vicci monaco says:

        I am enjoying season 6, too. I never viewed this program in the 77 to 83 years it ran. Too busy with my young life then. So every episode on Me-TV is brand new to me. Even the not so good ones. I wouldn’t miss any if I could avoid it. I’m wondering if ME-TV will start over with season 1 after the last episode of season 6. I own the first 3 seasons (3rd to ship at about the time season 6 ends). I like the real star of the series ‘the friendship between Ponch & Jon’ more than either star. I’m addicted to the characters’ loyalty and brotherhood. Hey, anybody out there going to the autograph event in Chicago area May 1-3?

  28. Amazon finally has the third Season of Chip’s and apparently it has been available since sometime last year.
    I truly hope that they release the rest of the series preferably the entire series boxed set of Chip’s before Larry God forbid passes away like so many other old TV star’s I grew up with.

  29. Warner Archive is planning to release season 4 on DVD in March 2016.

  30. I would love to complete my CHiP’s seasons, please I feel a little disappointed that they have not finished the season. Please Warner Brothers, please follow up.

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