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!