There arises a small glimmer of hope for those wishing they could stream Homicide: Life on the Street, in the wake of Andre Braugher’s death on Dec. 11.
The most sought-after, non-streaming show of all in a July TVLine poll, the NBC cop drama was the recipient of 17 Emmy nominations and four wins — including Outstanding Lead Actor for future Brooklyn Nine-Nine scene stealer Braugher, who first made a name for himself as Baltimore detective Frank Pembleton.
The police procedural, which was developed for television by Paul Attanasio, also introduced audiences to Det. John Munch (played by the late Richard Belzer), who made the move to Law & Order: Special Victims Unit following Homicide‘s conclusion in 1999.
Alas, music rights issues/clearance costs have famously kept the drama from being available for streaming, for first-time samplers or longtime fans wanting to revisit its excellence.
That, though, may — may — change. Eventually.
“I have been informed by a reliable source that NBC/Universal is at last attempting, along with Fremantle on the overseas rights, to clear music rights on #Homicide for eventual streaming,” David Simon, author of the 1991 novel Homicide: A Year on the Killing Streets, shared on X Saturday night. “Lot of work to do achieve that, however, I am also told.”
I have been informed by a reliable source that NBC/Universal is at last attempting, along with Fremantle on the overseas rights, to clear music rights on #Homicide for eventual streaming. Lot of work to do achieve that, however, I am also told.
Andre alone ought to rate such.
— David Simon (@AoDespair) December 17, 2023
“There is a lot of licensed music in the show from a vast array of artists,” Simon affirmed. And at the time of the drama’s 1993-’99 run, and even when it landed on DVD, “They didn’t pay for future platforms. And do you know what? Artists deserve to be paid for their work earning money for corporations on various platforms.”
When asked why the music originally used in the show can’t simply be dubbed out or replaced with other music — as is sometimes done, with varying success (WKRP, shudder) — Simon explained to an X follower, “Film is carefully cut to tempo, melody and theme of music especially in montage sequences. You can sub anything for anything. And f–k it up.”
TVLine has emailed NBCU and Fremantle for comment.
After years stuck in a similar limbo, Moonlighting recently finally found its own way onto a streaming platform after nailing down rights to (most) music from its original ABC run. The beloved dramedy starring Bruce Willis and Cybill Shepherd is now available to stream on Hulu.
How many fingers are you crossing, hoping that NBCU and Fremantle can get Homicide: Life on the Street onto a streaming platform?