It was expected that the WKRP IN CINCINNATI DVD, due on April 19th, would have background music changes, as expensive music licensing fees have previously prevented the show from being released on DVD.
NORTHERN EXPOSURE, another music-rich show, has faced some of the same licensing issues and had some of its background music changed for DVD, and the problem has come up from time to time with other sets.
However, the changes necessitated in order to prevent paying the licensing fees are a bit worse than expected, insofar as the music and dialogue tracks apparently could not be separated, leading to the episodes being trimmed of dialogue here and there in order to excise the music.
It was particularly disappointing to read today that at least a couple of the episodes in the set are edited versions shown in syndication, and not the full-length original network editions. This problem appears to be unrelated to the music issues, so it's puzzling.
The use of syndicated rather than full-length network episodes was also an issue with 2005's release of Season 1 of THE COSBY SHOW, which led to so many complaints that Season 2, which happily contained only full-length episodes, was advertised with a large sticker on the package assuring consumers the episodes were complete and uncut.
You'd have thought DVD producers would know better by now. In the best of all possible worlds, the DVD producers would put out discs with the full-length versions and offer a disc exchange program, but I won't hold my breath...
Something Old, Something New (subject link) has a detailed rundown of the precise changes for every episode. (Incidentally, this website is new to me and looks like a lot of fun. I'll be returning for further visits.)
My WKRP set is already on order, and I'm going to go ahead and get it as it likely represents the most that may be available of the show for many years to come, but this news is kind of a bummer.
(Hat tip: TVShowsOnDVD.)