|Also known as||The Station|
|Created by||Paul Simms|
|Country of origin||United States|
|No. of seasons||5|
|No. of episodes||97 (List of episodes)|
|Running time||22–24 minutes|
|Production company(s)||343 Films
Columbia TriStar Television
|Distributor||Sony Pictures Television
The Program Exchange
|Original run||March 21, 1995– May 4, 1999|
NewsRadio is an American television situation comedy that aired on NBC from 1995 to 1999. The series was created by executive producer Paul Simms, and was filmed in front of a studio audience at CBS Studio Center and Sunset Gower Studios. The show's theme tune was composed by Mike Post, who also scored the pilot (Ian Dye and Danny Lux did subsequent episodes).
The series is set at WNYX, a fictional AM news radio station in New York City, populated by an eccentric station owner and staff. The show begins with the arrival of a new news director, level-headed Dave Nelson (Dave Foley). While Dave turns out to be less naive than his youthful appearance suggests, he never fully gains control of his co-workers.
The fast-paced scripts and ensemble cast combined physical humor and sight gags with smart dialogue and absurd storylines. Plots often involved satirical takes on historical events, news stories and pop culture references. The third- and fourth-season finales took the absurdity to the extreme, setting the characters in outer space and aboard the Titanic.
There are a total of 97 episodes. Reruns continued in syndication for several years before disappearing in most markets, but the show has aired on A&E Network, Nick at Nite and TBS network in the United States, and TVtropolis and the Comedy Network in Canada. In the United States, the show occasionally airs as a filler on WGN America and runs regularly on Reelz Channel. The program became available in syndication to local stations again starting in July 2007 through The Program Exchange.
Regular cast 
- Dave Nelson (Dave Foley) is described as a "Midwesterner out of place in New York and pointedly young for such a responsible job." He was raised in Wisconsin, though he was born in Canada. Dave has a number of talents that he considers embarrassing, including tap dancing, thespian work in high school, participation in an all-male a cappella group, knife throwing, and ventriloquism. He also has a very polite, controlled and rational personality, which contrasts with the more colorful personalities of the other characters and the absurd situations that occur on the show. He frequently has phone conversations with his mother and keeps a picture of her in his desk. He also has an overwhelming coffee addiction and an obsession for TV, particularly Green Acres and for America's Horse with no name.
- Jimmy James (Stephen Root) is the station's eccentric, extroverted, playful billionaire owner. His name comes from the eponymous Beastie Boys song. Despite owning a large corporate empire, he seems to enjoy micromanaging WNYX. He acts as a father figure towards his employees, often helping them learn life lessons. Recurring themes in the show are James's search for a wife and his considerable inside knowledge of conspiracies and government cover-ups; he claims to have been Deep Throat and is suspected to be the infamous plane hijacker D.B. Cooper. He frequently shows signs of being infatuated with Dave's mother. In the show's series finale Jimmy moves to New Hampshire and buys a news radio station and newspaper, taking most of the staff with him.
- Evelyn William "Bill" McNeal (Phil Hartman) is a news co-anchor for WNYX. Bombastic, egocentric, and insubordinate, Bill is frequently a thorn in the news director's side. His relationships are often unorthodox or contentious. He often displays jarring gaps in knowledge. Another running joke in the show has Bill describing painful stories with an air of nostalgia, often wistfully saying, "good times, good times". Bill occasionally shows flashes of concern and wisdom for his co-workers, whom he perceives as friends. Coincidentally, there were many jokes about Bill's mortality on the show prior to Hartman's death; he once mentions a girlfriend who tried to set his hair on fire while he slept. Hartman's death is addressed in the first episode of the fifth season, where his character is revealed to have died of a sudden heart attack. Radio Ink magazine honored Phil Hartman on its cover following the actor's death. The magazine cover was displayed in Dave's office as a tribute to Hartman.
- Matthew Brock (Andy Dick) is a news reporter. Cute, clumsy, awkward, and maladroit, he is the butt of many physical jokes on the show, often seen tripping, falling, flying over furniture, or handling electronics that explode or catch fire. Matthew idolizes Bill, who in return torments him. Matthew is known for his odd obsessions and devotion to his pet cats. Matthew holds a degree in dentistry, and is a more-than-competent dentist, but prefers radio journalism. He is also a Notary Public. He has a crush on Lisa. He is at first adversarial against Max due to him viewing Max as a replacement for Bill and not wanting anyone to take Bill's place.
- Lisa Miller (Maura Tierney), with whom Dave has an intermittent relationship, serves as reporter, on-air personality, producer, and news director at different times in the series. An obsessive overachiever, Lisa can instantly perform complex mathematical calculations and keeps a detailed life-plan. She frequently brags about her SAT scores and retakes the exam well out of college. Lisa was born in Boston, Massachusetts, living there until the age of seven when her family moved to Connecticut. She represses a working class Boston accent. During the first two seasons of the show, she is in regular contact with her ex-boyfriend Stuart, with the suggestion that they may still be in love with each other. In season five she marries Jimmy's archenemy Johnny Johnson (played by Patrick Warburton).
- Beth (Vicki Lewis) is Dave's quirky secretary. She wears ridiculous, often midriff-baring outfits, has bright red hair, and chews gum. Her salary is often the subject of jokes; characters frequently point out that she "earns next to nothing". Her first name comes from the Kiss song "Beth", and she claims that she does not have a last name. In the third season DVD commentary, the writers revealed they had planned to have Jimmy adopt Beth as his daughter, but felt there was never a right time for it.
- Joe Garrelli (Joe Rogan) is the station's electrician and handyman. He makes everything he needs, including homemade duct tape. He also espouses various conspiracy theories, particularly a concern with the government's suppression of information about extraterrestrials. Throughout the show, he displays an infatuation with Catherine Duke, and clues are occasionally dropped that point to him being the Unabomber. The character of Joe was originally named Rick, and was played by another actor, Greg Lee, in the pilot episode. Ray Romano was originally cast to play Joe but was fired because his style of verbal comedy did not mix well with the fast-paced repartee of the rest of the cast.
- Catherine Duke (Khandi Alexander) is the second of WNYX's news anchors. She is often bitter rivals with co-anchor Bill McNeal; according to Bill, this is partly due to an office affair they had earlier. She has displayed a somewhat manipulative personality. When she was younger she worked with her uncle and learned how to perform and identify numerous scams. Catherine leaves the station for a job in London during the fourth season. She makes a brief appearance in the fifth season premiere for Bill's funeral. The role of Catherine was played by Ella Joyce in the pilot episode.
- Max Louis (Jon Lovitz) is Bill McNeal's replacement in season five. He has an odd personality and a complete lack of professionalism. Max has a thing for redheads, and Beth in particular, but she quickly ends up disliking him. He says that Max Louis is not his true identity, because he uses a different persona every time he gets a new job. Max gets the job at WNYX because he is an old colleague of Bill McNeal, a plot point that reflects the real-life fact that Jon Lovitz took the role in NewsRadio out of friendship for Phil Hartman. Indeed, Lovitz got his start with Hartman in The Groundlings. When asked why he joined NewsRadio, Lovitz said that he's "doing this for Phil. There's nothing more to say." Lovitz first appeared on "Our Fiftieth Episode" when Bill meets him in a mental ward going by the name Fred. Fred later admits he is really an air traffic controller who periodically and voluntarily "flips out" and goes into the mental ward for a vacation from making decisions. Lovitz returned a second time in the fourth season opener "Jumper". Lovitz played Mike Johnson, a disgruntled former employee that had been fired and was threatening to commit suicide by jumping from the ledge outside Dave's office.
Recurring characters 
During the last season, Patrick Warburton had a recurring role as Johnny Johnson, Jimmy's nemesis and Lisa's love interest (and eventual husband).
Lauren Graham had a four-episode run as Andrea, an efficiency expert who shakes up the office (firing Matthew, demoting Dave, and promoting Lisa to news director). She is sometimes referred to as "Planbee" after Matthew misunderstands her being Jimmy's "Plan B" for the office. She was intended as a possible replacement for the departing Alexander, but focus groups disliked the character. She's a needy, seemingly friendly woman in desperate need of a friend and so she tries to make one of Lisa—but Lisa and everyone else in the office wants nothing to do with her. In a season 4 episode commentary track, Tierney gives the hiring of Graham as a possible explanation for Alexander's departure, which contradicts the idea that Alexander intended to leave before Graham appeared on the show. (When Dave Foley appeared on Joe Rogan's podcast show, they talked about Alexander leaving because she was not given enough lines.) All of the changes introduced during Andrea's time on the show would be restored by midseason to the way things were before her arrival.
Brad Rowe had a four-episode run as Walt the intern, a nephew of Jimmy's with a crush on Lisa, which causes more worry for Dave. He was originally intended as a regular for season five, but the character made no appearances after "Sinking Ship".
Steve Susskind had a recurring role as Milos the janitor, appearing in three episodes in the second season.
Guest appearances 
When Alexander appeared as Catherine Duke in the fifth season opener (in which the McNeal character was killed off to coincide with Hartman's death), she was credited as a recurring character.
Other guest stars included John Ritter, Dennis Miller, Janeane Garofalo, Bebe Neuwirth, Lauren Graham, Ben Stiller, Chris Kattan, French Stewart, Dilbert creator Scott Adams, Jon Stewart, Bryan Callen, Tiffani Amber Thiessen, Patton Oswalt and, in a non-speaking cameo, Ron Jeremy. Celebrities appearing as themselves included Chuck D, Al Roker, Bob Costas, Jerry Seinfeld, James Caan, Adam West, George "Goober" Lindsey and heavy metal band Anthrax.
Guest stars in Season 4's "Chock" episode, David Cross, Bob Odenkirk and Brian Posehn all worked together on Mr. Show. Each of them appeared separately in earlier episodes of NewsRadio. Cross guest starred as Mr. James' weird nephew in Season 2's "Houses of the Holy", Odenkirk appeared as the doctor in "The Injury", and Posehn asked questions at Mr. James' book signing in Season 4's "Super Karate Monkey Death Car".
Nielsen ratings 
Ratings for the show were inconsistent. The highest it ever reached in the ratings was 26th.
On its first two broadcasts the show received a 20 share, improving on its lead-in (Wings) by a percentage point, and beating its competitors (Under One Roof and Thunder Alley) in its share of the 18- to 49-year-old audience.
Despite critical acclaim NBC changed the show's time slot 11 times.
Season ratings 
|Season||TV Season||Ratings Rank||Viewers
Relationship with network 
|This section does not cite any references or sources. (January 2008)|
NBC had pushed for a "Sam and Diane"-type relationship between Dave and Lisa, but Paul Simms opted to have the characters sleep together in the second episode and have tension come from the aftermath. Later, NBC ordered a wedding to be incorporated into the show to boost ratings, and in response, the show "Our Fiftieth Episode" featured a B-story in which Jimmy tries to force Joe and Lisa into a fake on-air marriage, which Lisa outright refuses. The show's producers would later relent in its final season, and Lisa married Johnny Johnson in an episode that became NBC's "Spotlight of the Week". Another instance of network interference was an October 10, 1995 promotional gimmick NBC planned in order to capitalize on the success of the 1994 film Four Weddings and a Funeral. As a twist on the title of the film, NBC planned for three of its Tuesday night sitcoms to have funerals as the central plot and the fourth to feature a wedding; NewsRadio was given one of the funeral episodes (which were also given to Wings and Frasier, while The Pursuit of Happiness got the wedding episode). Rather than fulfilling NBC's directive in a straightforward manner, the writing staff wrote "Rat Funeral", an episode in which the WNYX staff befriend a rat, then mourn its death. The show also tweaked NBC later by having a previously unmentioned worker named Ted die offscreen, leaving Dave (who didn't know the guy but is wrongly assumed by everyone to have been his best friend) to handle the eulogy, only to learn that Ted was a veteran member of the Ku Klux Klan.
Another major point of contention between NBC and the show was NBC's insistence that the show include story arcs, while the producers strongly preferred shows that were self-contained. Story arcs often concluded hastily. One example is a late third season arc in which Lisa decides she wants to have a baby with Dave but doesn't want to get married; after being introduced, the idea was dropped in the episode "Mistake" with barely a mention. NBC would also on occasion display displeasure with the content of episodes. For instance, many episodes in the second season feature a comedic cold open ending with Matthew injuring himself or knocking something over before the title sequence. According to DVD commentary, NBC ordered a halt to this because they found it tiresome. One episode, "Injury", was produced early in the second season, but did not air until the summer following the third season, due to excessive use of the word "penis". The writers later admitted that they were trying to see how many times they could use the word on-air in response to NBC's relaxing of standards for other shows. The episode remained in the censorship offices for nearly two years, with the number of instances cut down in the footage by three. "Injury" appears on both the Season 2 and 3 DVD releases, but only in the later, edited down form. Paul Simms eventually went public with his frustration that NBC never gave his show a chance to run on Thursday nights, as they had with many other poorly-reviewed series that earned large ratings thanks to powerhouse lead-ins like Seinfeld and ER.
NBC briefly canceled NewsRadio in May 1998, after its fourth season, but the decision was reversed two weeks later, with an order of 22 episodes placed for a fifth season. Ten days after its renewal, Phil Hartman was killed by his wife, and his absence cast a pall over the fifth season. NBC left the series "on the bubble" until the day the final episode of the fifth season aired, months after production had wrapped. The fifth season ending storyline where Jimmy James buys a radio station in a small New Hampshire town was intended to provide a new setting for a potential sixth season, if NBC officially did not cancel the series.
The "Balloon" episode in season 4 was given a PRISM Commendation in 1999 in the Television Comedy Series Episode category for the accurate portrayal of tobacco use.
DVD releases 
Sony Pictures Home Entertainment released all 5 seasons of NewsRadio on DVD in Region 1 between 2005–2007. Each set includes multiple audio commentaries with creator Paul Simms, the writers and actors. The DVD sets also include "special features" such as "gag reels" and other featurettes.
|DVD Name||Ep#||Release Date|
|The Complete First and Second Seasons||28||May 24, 2005|
|The Complete Third Season||25||February 28, 2006|
|The Complete Fourth Season||22||June 20, 2006|
|The Complete Fifth Season||22||March 20, 2007|
|The Complete Series||97||October 28, 2008|
The show entered off-network syndication three months after the 4th season finale. In October, 2000, A&E picked up the rights to the show and eventually moved to The Biography Channel in 2003. In 2006, the show began airing on Nick at Nite and TBS for a short period of time. In July 2010, the show began airing on the ReelzChannel cable network. In July 2011, Antenna TV picked up the rights to the show to begin airing in October 2011. The majority of NewsRadio episodes were available to users in the United States via the video on demand site Hulu but as of March 2012 they are no longer available. A number of episodes from the first three seasons are currently available on the free video on demand site Crackle.
- "The New Classics: TV". Entertainment Weekly. June 18, 2007. Retrieved February 21, 2012.
- NewsRadio from The Program Exchange
- A Precocious Sitcom Freshman, an April 9, 1995 article from The New York Times
- NewsRadio (an Episode Guide)
- "It's official: Jon Lovitz to join 'NewsRadio' cast". CNN. 1998-07-06. Retrieved 2007-11-24.
- Commentary track for episode "Friends"
- "Complete TV Ratings 1994-1995". Fbibler.chez.com. 2002-07-26. Retrieved 2013-02-08.
- "Complete TV Ratings 1995-1996". Fbibler.chez.com. 2002-07-26. Retrieved 2013-02-08.
- "Complete TV Ratings 1996-1997". Fbibler.chez.com. 2002-07-26. Retrieved 2013-02-08.
- "Final Ratings for '97-'98 TV Season". The San Francisco Chronicle. May 25, 1998.
- "Final ratings for the 1998-1999 TV season". Web.archive.org. Retrieved 2013-02-08.
- Posted by Pavan -- SitcomsOnline.com (2011-07-25). "Antenna TV Fall 2011 Schedule; OWN and TLC Acquires Undercover Boss Repeats for Fall 2012 - SitcomsOnline.com News Blog". Blog.sitcomsonline.com. Retrieved 2013-02-08.
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