- The Washington Times - Thursday, December 29, 2005

Pricey classic tunes

“Married … With Children” wouldn’t be the same without Frank Sinatra singing the show’s theme song.

Or would it?

Anyone buying the show’s new season three DVD set won’t be able to hear Ol’ Blue Eyes, Reuters news agency reports.

Licensing music for older programs is as pricey as obtaining tunes for new series, and the issue is forcing studios to make radical changes in order to feed the growing demand for TV product in the home-entertainment arena.

Take “WKRP in Cincinnati,” for example: The 1970s sitcom used so much classic rock that it would cost 20th Century Fox Home Entertainment a mint to clear the tracks.

” ‘WKRP’ will always be in limbo,” Paul Brownstein, a DVD producer of classic CBS shows such as the “The Dick Van Dyke Show,” “Gunsmoke” and “The Twilight Zone,” told Reuters.

Mr. Brownstein notes that the studios need to negotiate licensing deals with both the record labels, which control the master recordings, and with the music publishers, which control or administer the copyrights.

When studios opt to retain original music and pay the appropriate license fees, those costs often are passed along to the consumer. The star-studded Season 1 edition of the NBC series “American Dreams,” billed as an “Extended Music Edition” (it contained some music substitutions), retails for $89.98.

Kennedy’s new rap

Former “Desperate Housewives” cellar dweller Page Kennedy is having his say, or rather his rap, about his abrupt dismissal from the hit show.

The actor has released a rap track, “Hold On,” via his Web site, chronicling his hiring and rapid firing from the ABC mega-hit over an alleged flashing incident on the set, E! Online reports.

His song starts off with Mr. Kennedy recalling his excitement over his new status as a Wisteria Lane resident: “Best show on the air/Best show in America/ That’s right, Page is right there … 25 million viewers a week/25 million connoisseurs that’ll speak highly of me.”

Then, the mood shifts, and we learn it’s all Hollywood’s fault.

“I’m wondering when I can hold up my chin/When this nightmare’ll finally end … Follow me as I show you/What goes on in Hollywood/ Where everything is so wrong/Where they build you up just to tear you down.”

He also doesn’t have many kind things to say about the entertainment press.

“Tabloids… started spreading all of these rumors and allegations/Sad thing is they weren’t even exaggerations/They were complete lies and the media seems to stick together like fat guys and Supersize fries.”

Variety subsequently reported Mr. Kennedy’s “improper conduct” involved someone on the crew, while the National Enquirer claimed he was let go for flashing two female coworkers.

Mr. Kennedy has stood by his original claim that Touchstone Television — the show’s producer — simply decided to “go in a different direction” and bought out his contract.

Mr. Kennedy also worries aloud over what his kids will think of the rumors, and at one point in the song there is a gunshot, followed by a little girl crying “Daddy?”

The song can be heard in its entirety on the actor’s Web site, www.pagekennedy.com.

Compiled by Christian Toto from staff and wire reports.

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