Show Business: It's Not TV. It's TV on DVD

Cult shows are finding an afterlife on DVD. Now the discs may be influencing what gets on the air

In the backwards calendar of TV, spring is the season of death, a time when fans launch drives to save endangered shows, a cause usually as futile as protesting the falling of autumn leaves. So it was unusual last month when fans of the animated sitcom Family Guy managed to bring it back, not by writing letters but by spending cash. When Family Guy--canceled not once but twice by Fox during its 1999-2002 run--was released on DVD, fans bought 2.2 million copies. That number helped persuade Cartoon Network (which reruns the show) to give Family Guy a third life, committing to...

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