It's almost a given that a show with tons of music will have at least one song replaced when it comes out on DVD, but what if that one song is the theme for the show? The earliest theme-song replacements occurred on Dawson's Creek and Married... with Children, the former using the international theme, and the latter using a sound-alike song, but the replacements didn't stop there. Since then we've heard new theme songs for Life Goes On, the international theme for Las Vegas, a butchered theme for Baywatch, George Lopez uttering some words instead of "Low Rider" and the season 3 theme being used on season 2 of Happy Days. Why is this happening?

Most songs are licensed on a per-play basis, so the theme song costs are multiplied by the number of episodes in the season. A $20,000 song quickly becomes $440,000 for the season, and the studios are telling us that the recording companies hold this songs hostage, knowing that it's the most important song to license. Sony delayed the third season of Married... with Children in the hopes they could work out a deal, but had to go with the sound-alike when the recording company wouldn't budge. CBS Home Video found a way around that by licensing the Joan of Arcadia theme song six times, including it on the first episode of each disc, and leaving the other episodes without opening credits. This was sneaky, but also a very smart move since they weren't associating another song with the series, and were able to keep their costs down.

So, here's my question to you; what's the "best" way to change a theme on a DVD set? Do you care if the song only appears once per disc, or is a sound-alike a better way to go? Of course the best approach is to license the theme song, but there will always be cases where this isn't possible. I prefer the Joan of Arcadia method of including the theme song once per disc; we're not associating a new theme song with the series, and the studio keeps their costs down.

Please try to keep discussion focused on theme song replacement only.

Gord