Season 1 Episode 1


Aired Tuesday 8:30 PM Mar 21, 1995 on NBC
out of 10
User Rating
358 votes

By Users

Episode Summary

A midwesterner gets a job as news director at a New York radio station. He gets an odd reception when his boss wants him to fire his predecessor.

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  • An interesting start to a great sitcom...

    The pilot starts out a little different than most of the episodes that come to follow: with an on-location shot of Dave Nelson, the new News Director of WNYX arriving at the wrong building on his first day at work. The show that followed was largely shot on a sound-stage. But this teaser does set up the first exchange between the station manger, Jimmy, and the now-tardy Dave.

    A couple of the series regulars weren't cast in the pilot: Catherine Duke was played by Ella Joyce and Joe Rogan's character, Joe Garelli, didn't exist. Instead another character, Rick (Greg Lee), appeared and served a similar roll in the pilot as Rogan's character would in the series . Greg wasn't listed in the opening credits, but Ella was. The "new" sports guys, Jeff (played by Wallace Langham) appears in the tag scene - but the character isn't carried over to the already large ensemble cast once the series was picked up.

    Still, for a pilot, it is amazing how on-target so many of the characters already were: Dave, Maura, Phil, Vicki and Stephen already had a good handle on how to play their roles. Andy Dick's Matthew, however, was far less neurotic than the character he would become.

    A fair amount of time is spent on the obviously doomed Ed character, played by Kurt Fuller. Ed is the News Director Dave is replacing - although Ed doesn't know his tenure is over. But the chemistry in the group scenes of the soon-to-be-regulars is already obvious.

    If there is one flaw, it is that character of Catherine is given little to do in the pilot, a problem that will continue throughout the series. It's interesting that Ella Joyce's name appears in the opening credits, and Greg Lee, whose character Rick has 5 times the dialog, doesn't.moreless
  • An Excellent Pilot Which Introduces Dave, Lisa, Bill, Matthew, Jimmy and Beth to TV Land.

    I watched the pilot episode when it first aired on NBC back in 1995. I was in the 7th grade. My sister taped the whole first season (7 episodes). I watched that tape over and over again.

    The Pilot was special. Most pilots, to me, are boring. Some of my favorite shows have lousy pilots. But not \"NewsRadio\". Although the complete eight aren\'t there (Khandi Alexander and Joe Rogan begin their roles in the second episode)seeing Dave Nelson first meet and interact with Jimmy James, Lisa Miller, Bill McNeal, Matthew Brock and Beth is great and hilarious. A great start to a great sitcom.moreless
  • A brilliant sitcom deserves a brilliant pilot.

    Paul Simms is a comedic genius. That goes without saying. James Burrows is an institution in comedy directing. That also goes without saying as his credentials speak for themselves. The pilot episode brings these two great talents together to produce the first episode of NewsRadio, the funniest sitcom since The Larry Sanders Show.

    The pilot is not perfect. Jimmy isn't as over-the-top as in later episodes. Beth has some hair issues to deal with. Matthew is, well semi-normal. Catherine is underutilized and one wonders what Ella Joyce could have done with the part. As for Rick, well thank God for Joe Garelli.

    Yet the basic characteristics are all there. The chemistry is evident, Dave and Bill are at odds. Beth is the reluctant secretary. Lisa is the hard working woman trying to make it up the latter. Dave is in way over his head. It all adds up to one thing: good, interesting, well-written comedy.

    Above all, NewsRadio was funny. In one of the pilot's highlights Jimmy explains to Dave why he hired him saying, "I considered 30, 35 people for this job but you wanna know what made you so special to me?" His cellphone rings, and Jimmy answers it saying, "Make it fast, I'm in the middle of telling a guy why he's so special to me." A pause. "No, it's work related." That is classic comedy with great timing.moreless
Maura Tierney

Maura Tierney

Lisa Miller

Stephen Root

Stephen Root

Jimmy James

Dave Foley

Dave Foley

Dave Nelson

Andy Dick

Andy Dick

Matthew Brock

Vicki Lewis

Vicki Lewis


Phil Hartman

Phil Hartman

Evelyn William "Bill" McNeal [ Season 1 - Season 4 ]

Trivia, Notes, Quotes and Allusions


  • TRIVIA (6)

    • Phil Hartman (Bill) asks if Dave Nelson is from Canada, and Dave responds that he's actually from Wisconsin. In reality, actor Dave Foley is from Canada. And so was Phil Hartman. In addition a later episode will reveal that Dave Nelson was actually born in Canada not Wisconsin, a fact he shamefully refuses to acknowledge.

    • Ed mentions he is late because of traffic on the "freeway". Since the show takes place in New York not Los Angeles he should have used a different word. (Highway, Parkway).

    • The end tag scene between Dave and Lisa was shot three months/three episodes later. The staff thought there should be a better moment between Dave and Lisa. Also Dave Foley came up with the bit about Lisa's straying eyelash.

    • Ray Ramano was originally cast in the role of the handyman (named "Rick" in the pilot and called "Joe" from episode 2 forward.) Ray was fired during the filming of the pilot - and Greg Lee was brought in as a fill-in simply to finish filming of the pilot.

    • The character Jimmy James takes his name from a Beastie Boys song.

    • The character Beth's name was taken from the hit love ballad by the band Kiss.

  • QUOTES (9)

    • Dave: Mr. James?

      Jimmy: Yes.

      Dave: Oh, Mr. James, I'm so sorry I'm late.

      Jimmy: We're you late? I didn't notice. 9:15?! What'd you do, walk all the way from Wisconsin?! Huh?! I'm kidding. Come on, Dave.

    • Jimmy: (on the phone) No. No, I'm at the station right now. Yeah. No, then I got to go to the factory, then I got to go to the building site. Huh? No, that's just for fun. I like to watch the big trucks.

    • Bill: You've exhausted all my options, so all that's left is backstabbing.

    • Dave: For what it's worth, I'd think you'd make a great news director.
      Lisa: Well thank you. Who knows, maybe some day I'll get my chance at the job.
      Dave: I'm sure you will.
      Lisa: Maybe not today. Maybe not tomorrow but within three months, four tops.
      Dave: Thanks for the vote of confidence.

    • Beth: Coffee, Dave?
      Dave: Yes, please.
      Beth: Great. It's over by the booth.

    • Mr. James: Dave, I've got to run. I've got to get to the sporting goods store.
      Dave: Oh what are you buying, sir?
      Mr. James: The store. Actually the whole chain.

    • Dave: I understand that what you put me through today was a test.
      Jimmy James: Could be. Or it could be I'm just making this up as I go along.
      Dave: Which one is it?
      Jimmy James: You'll never know.

    • Beth: Hey Dave, I guess officially I work for you now, so would you like me to fire Ed?
      Dave: No no no. No Beth, but thank you very much for your... let's just call it moxie.

    • Bill McNeal: Don't you think I should do the Al Gore interview? Because interviews really pep me up and otherwise I might start reading the news veeeerrrryyyyy sssslllloooowwwwwllllyyyy . . .

  • NOTES (5)

    • Stephen Root's favorite part of the pilot is when he shows Dave there are no strings on the tennis racket by placing his head through it.

    • The network really wanted Dave to show some authority over his workers which is the reason for the outburst at Bill over the Al Gore story.

    • Originally Lisa was supposed to be slutty, flirting with Dave her new boss.

    • Paul Simms wanted Dave Foley, Andy Dick, and Phil Hartman as their respective characters. Stephen Root almost didn't get the chance to audition because originally Mr. James was supposed to be in his mid 50s. Maura Tierney was the last person cast the morning of the table read in front of the network.

    • Ella Joyce played Catherine Duke in the pilot for "NewsRadio". From Episode 2, Khandi Alexander portrayed Catherine.


    • Jimmy mentions that he owns a lot of stock in Euro Disney and seems upset because he is losing money over it. Euro Disney opened in the Spring of 1992 near Paris, France but was not a financial success in the beginning and was considered a disaster for Disney. It was in the news around the time the pilot was made for its financial woes.