WKRP in Cincinnati

CBS (ended 1982)



User Score: 293

WKRP in Cincinnati
out of 10
User Rating
487 votes

By TV.com Users

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
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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  • Been there!

    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

    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

    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..!

    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
  • WKRP was a low rated radion station that was taken over by Andy Travis, who changed the stations format from elevator music to rock and roll. The shows deals with the wacky antics of the eccentric staffersmoreless

    WkRP was the brainchild of Hugh Wilson, who cut his teeth as a writer for Mary Tyler Moore and Bob Newhart. Then MTM let him do what is essentially a rock and roll version of The Mary Tyler Moore show. Whereas, Mary sho featured actors who had cut their teeth in 60s sitcoms, almost all the regulars were strictly children of the 70s(Only Gordon Jumps TV resume dates back to the 60s with appearances on shows like Get Smart). It had a younger, hipper sesnsibility. But it always seemed like none of the execs at CBS ever really got the show. They would take it off the for hiatus, move it around the schedule unannounced, effectively killing any chance it had at developing any kind of following. Yet, it is one of the very best sitcoms from any era that could be considered the golden age of American sitcoms. It dealt with real issues that affected its characters in real and profound ways. Many of the characters showed much growth during the series run. The thing Ill always remember was that it was very funny, yet maintained a sense of humanity few shows can duplicate. And the issues were not all issues that were typically done in sitcoms. One of the very best episodes dealt with the very real issue of censorship on the radio, which was a big deal at the time. Jerry Falwell was conducting a campaign to clean up radio and on WKRP, a Falwell-like minister was trying to do the same thing to the title radio station . Another episode, broadcast in the wake of a real life tragedy that actually took place in Cinncinati, relived the events with WKRP being a station that sold tickets to the concert were people were trampled top death. The first half was very funny, while the second half was very serious, dealing with the tragedy. Some people criticized that, because they felt it was trivializing a serious tragedy, but still they had the guts to portray the event at all when they could have just ignored it. They also dealt with drug use, drinking, death, God and even schizophrenia in a memorable episode where Johnny Fever gets a TV gig and the persona he develops for it begins to take over his life. And there were the usual episodes dealing with relationships. Indeed, WKRP deserves to be mentioned in the same hushed tones reserved for accepted iconic shows like All in The Family, MASH, Mary Tyler Moore, Bob Newhart, Taxi and Barney Miller. This show should get its due. About the only thing that puts a damper on this show is the fact that the DVDs had to change the songs that appeared in the original episode, because of the rights. I know this is a complicated issue, but it still sucks not being able to hear Hot Blooded in that episode where Les is preparing to go out with Jennifer and he puts on a wig while that song is playing. Now we just get some generic song. That changes the whole scene. Any true fan of WKRP should be willing to pay more if they could see the original scene intact. Its just a thought. But even so, you still have to love this series.moreless

    Our Favorite Turkey-Day TV

    Five classic Thanksgiving clips.


    April 24, 2007 DVD Releases

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    More Info About This Show




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