The Hogan Family Had the Cheapest Credits Change in TV History
Today, I spotlight the bizarrely cheap credits change made by The Hogan Family from Season 4 to Season 5.
Knowledge Waits is a feature where I just share some bit of pop culture history that interests me that doesn’t quite fit into the other features.
It is a well-accepted fact that credits for TV shows are oddly expensive. Basically, it’s like shooting a commercial, but you’re not being paid to shoot the commercial, it’s simply taken out of the general budget of the TV show. Even something as simple as adding or replacing a character from a credit sequence can be so cost prohibitive that Joss Whedon wasn’t allowed to have Eric Balfour (whose character dies in the first episode) be part of the cast credits in the first episode of Buffy the Vampire Slayer, as the gag cost too much (years later, Whedon was allowed to do it with Amber Benson’s Tara, who was added to the credits in the episode she was killed).
However, I think the cheapest example of a credits change has to be The Hogan Family, the family sitcom that went through a few different names after its original star, Valerie Harper, was fired following a contract dispute, and thus Valerie became Valerie’s Family became The Hogans became The Hogan Family.
Season 4 and Season 5 had pretty much the same casts, except for one of David Hogan (Jason Bateman)’s friends, played by Tom Hodges, was let go between seasons.
In Season 4, Steve Witting (Burt) and Hodges (Rich) shared a scene in the credits. First Witting…
For Season 5, with Hodges now OFF of the show, the scene remained, but only Witting is credited!
That’s NUTS. Just spring for an extra scene, for crying out loud!
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3 thoughts on “The Hogan Family Had the Cheapest Credits Change in TV History”
C’mon, Brian, if they sprang for added credits scenes, that means one less Corvette for the producers.
All jokes aside, I didn’t know that intro credits for TV shows were so oddly expensive. No wonder plenty of shows just run clips from the pilot (or from episodes during the season) with text crawling over it rather than film any new footage. That way even when you change things to account for new characters (like, say, the various intros for TJ HOOKER did), it’s cheaper because they’re essentially using stock footage.
With The Hogans, couldn’t they have done something to “zoom in” on Bateman and Witting, which would essentially cut Hodges out of frame? I mean, we had pan-and-scan for movies on broadcast television.
Remember when Turner debuted widescreen format and people needed to be sold on it? I remember seeing ads for 2001 comparing letterbox to standard showing how two characters could be in a shot instead of cutting between them.
I think it’s less that it is particularly expensive and more that it is just ENOUGH of an added expense that they prefer just to avoid as much of the costs as possible, as the costs would have to come out of the much more important regular episode budgets. Choosing between making a cooler looking opening credits and giving a better ending to Episode, like, 17, I think most TV producers would go with the latter.