WKRP in Cincinnati

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CBS (ended 1982)

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SHOW REVIEWS
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Show Summary

WKRP in Cincinnati, an MTM production, was created by Hugh Wilson, who had previously written scripts for MTM's The Bob Newhart Show and served as a producer on the short-lived MTM production The Tony Randall Show. MTM, which had not had a big comedy hit since Rhoda several years earlier, was counting on WKRP to revive the company's reputation as the best producer of situation comedies. WKRP debuted in a tough slot, 8:00 on Monday nights, followed by a forgettable and short-lived show called People. Despite strong reviews for the pilot episode, and some positive buzz for an episode called "Turkeys Away," WKRP did poorly in the ratings and was put on hiatus by CBS with five episodes still unaired. Most reports at the time suggested that this "hiatus" was likely to be permanent, but CBS surprised many by bringing the show back in January of 1979, again on Monday nights but this time following the long-running hit M*A*S*H. Though CBS claimed that the series had been "retooled" in the interim, not much had changed except the construction of a new set (the "bullpen" with desks for Les, Bailey, Herb and the DJs) and a slight shift in emphasis: Whereas earlier episodes had focused mostly on Andy Travis, Mr. Carlson and Johnny Fever, WKRP re-emerged as a true ensemble series in which all eight regular characters were of roughly equal importance. In this new time slot, WKRP was a hit, part of a high-quality CBS Monday night lineup of M*A*S*H followed by three series from MTM: WKRP In Cincinnati, The White Shadow, and Lou Grant. Loni Anderson, as Jennifer, became a national sex symbol, while Howard Hesseman as Johnny Fever almost matched her in popularity. Early in 1980, however, CBS moved WKRP away from Monday nights, trying to find a night where it could anchor an uneven lineup. Unfortunately some CBS executives apparently did not care for WKRP, and other executives mistook it for a kids' show based on the rock n' roll music and loud clothes. Thus they had a habit of preceding and following it with shows that were much more lowbrow than the MTM-style humor of WKRP -- for example, on one night WKRP was followed by the Alice spin-off, Flo. In time slots like these, WKRP's ratings dropped badly. The time-slot changes eventually became more frequent and more ill-considered as CBS looked for a spot where WKRP would finally fit in. The show also seems to have received only limited support from MTM (particularly after the departure of MTM founder Grant Tinker, who left to run NBC), which was busy conquering the world of hour long drama with shows like Hill Street Blues. In the summer of 1982, CBS announced that WKRP had been canceled. To the surprise of almost everyone, WKRP finally became a breakout hit when its 90 episodes were released to syndication; its long life in syndication eventually made it, according to Grant Tinker, the biggest moneymaker in the history of MTM. Some cast members remarked that WKRP was a hit in reruns because viewers finally new where to find it.moreless

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    April 24, 2007 DVD Releases

  • Gary Sandy

    Gary Sandy

    Andy Travis

    Gordon Jump

    Gordon Jump

    Arthur "Big Guy" Carlson

    Loni Anderson

    Loni Anderson

    Jennifer Marlowe

    Richard Sanders

    Richard Sanders

    Les Nessman

    Tim Reid

    Tim Reid

    Gordon "Venus Flytrap" Sims

    Frank Bonner

    Frank Bonner

    Herb Tarlek

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    SUBMIT REVIEW
    • Before my time, but still a classic!

      10
      I've watched just about EVERY episode of this show (via Hulu and Antenna TV) and it is fantastic! I was born in the late 80s (making me an 80s baby, 90s kid, Aughts teen, and adult henceforth), but I'm quite conventional for the "Millennial" I am. Besides its awesome hilarity yet somewhat realistic situations, the characters really made the show. In fact, If I were to judge between Mr. Carlson and Andy who was the "real" boss, I'd say the latter, since Andy made most of the Top 40 playlist orders (which DJ's Fever and Venus could care less about), and the supposed "manager" tried to distance himself from the affairs of WKRP.. Les and his two major obsessions (hogs and communism) were always cleverly amalgamated. And as for Herb, Jennifer, and Bailey, need I say more? This is a great show, even for 21st century minded Pandura addicts.moreless
    • Been there!

      5.0
      I was a dj for 3 years. One station I worked at kind of reminds me of WKRP, the owner was an absolute idiot and had no idea about the music in the format the station played. His wife would come in every . Bouncing off walls, then go on the air and do a 10 community info show. The only good thing about this station it did not have a play list. The station received quite a few calls complimenting the music I played. Could not get along with the idiot owner and left. But Les and Herb, oh yea.moreless
    • Solid show about pre-internet/iPod radio

      9.0
      Ok, it's about more than just the radio business, but WKRP (for me) brings back memories from when I was young and AM/FM radio was a much bigger media presence than it is today. DJs were a big deal and you recorded music off the radio and on to cassette tapes so you could listen to it later on your really cool Sony Walkman.



      The writing is pretty solid and the ensemble cast does a great job. I would have loved to work with a group of people like this. This show straddled the Carter and Reagan administrations so it's in a weird 1970s/1980s place. It's not pure 70s TV, not pure 80s. It's unique. Occasionally tackled bigger issues but always amusing.



      For the record, Bailey was hotter than Jennifer. 'Nuff said.moreless
    • WKRP

      10
      This is an awesomely funny show!! I have the official copies and the bootleg copies! haha the bootleg has different music from the official copies.
    • One of the all time best sitcoms..!

      10
      WKRP was only on the air for four seasons but this could be attributed to the network's changing the time it was on and not the shows produced.



      With an eclectic cast ranging from Arthur Carlson, the lovable if slightly ill-suited president of the radio station, to Bailey Quarters, the sweet young woman looking for her niche at the station, every episode was worth watching.



      Personal favorites ( and there are so many) of this reviewer include ' Hoodlum Rock', ' Fish Story' and maybe the best sitcom episode of all time ' Turkeys Away'. For everyone who has watched this show, there are moments that literally make you laugh out loud like Mr. Carlson's use of ' foot powder', Les description of the Thanksgiving day promotion and so on.



      It is a shame that this series may never be released in its original format on DVD due to music copyright issues. This reviewer, and many others, would eagerly await such a release.moreless
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    More Info About This Show

    Categories

    Comedy

    Themes

    quirky characters, office humor, laugh track, hip soundtrack, ensemble cast