WKRP in Cincinnati (1978–1982)
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Carlson for President 

Carlson runs for city council. His only hope for victory is a bit of gossip he finds out about the incumbent's drinking problem and poor attendance at council meetings. Against the wishes ... See full summary »



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Episode cast overview:
Howard Witt ...
Charles Tillman
Mitzi Monahan (as Lillian Garrett-Bonner)
Howard Morton ...
Wendel Brooks
Dick McGarvin ...
Barry Schifrin


Carlson runs for city council. His only hope for victory is a bit of gossip he finds out about the incumbent's drinking problem and poor attendance at council meetings. Against the wishes of Bailey, Carlson lets the information slip during a televised debate. Written by Jersey73

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Release Date:

5 November 1979 (USA)  »

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Technical Specs

Sound Mix:


Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
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Did You Know?


Lillian Garratt, who played Mitzi Monahan, was Frank Bonner's wife at the time. See more »


Charles Tillman: Mr. Carlson, you can't even run a small radio station!
Arthur 'Big Guy' Carlson: What?
Charles Tillman: [laughing] WKRP? Ha!
Arthur 'Big Guy' Carlson: [to Barry] He just said I can't...
[now to Tillman]
Arthur 'Big Guy' Carlson: Listen, buddy, I run that station and I work hard at it! What's more, I'm there everyday, I'm not off getting drunk, Tillman!
Barry Schifrin: Do you have an answer to that accusation, Mr. Tillman?
Charles Tillman: [panicked and stammering] No... no comment.
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Theme From Star Wars
Composed by John Williams
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User Reviews

Big Guy For A Big Job
26 August 2011 | by (Toronto, Canada) – See all my reviews

Carlson runs for Cincinnati City Council. Travis is all for it for the obvious reasons that the Big Guy, whom he likes an awful lot will realize a lifetime ambition to serve the public, and more importantly be too busy to be at WKRP leaving Travis with the free hand to run things the way he has always wanted.

Everyone at WKRP chips in to get the Big Guy elected. Bailey finds out that the very popular incumbent Chuck Tillman is an alcoholic which is why he missed 80% of council meetings during his last term and only voted 6 times. When she lets it slip Carlson of course refuses to use the information saying "That's not the high road!".

During the televised debate things go poorly for Carlson (Wearing bright red face paint) and he can offer nothing but platitudes and cryptic responses up until another opponent raises the issue of Tillman's attendance at council which is a logical concern. When asked what he thinks about it by the moderator Carlson says that if a guy is hired to do a job he should show up for work.

Tillman, feeling cornered and not so privately insulted that anyone would dare to run against him for his council seat makes the perfectly reasonable observation that Carlson can't even run a small radio station. Lumping Carlson in with the other flake nuisance candidates opposing him Tillman refers to the debate proceedings as "clowning around".

Carlson, an earnest and moral man loses it and states that at least he is at work every day and is not off getting drunk someplace. The Big Guy thus strikes his glass-jawed opponent with a knockout punch, is the hands down winner of the debate and immediately surges ahead in the polls.

But, because Carlson is an earnest and moral man, he feels bad about what he has done like a lot of politicians...might. Unlike a lot of politicians (Or pretty much any) he decides to set his campaign to self-destruct. The deadline has passed for him to withdraw his candidacy so he enlists the staff at WKRP to help him lose.

Carlson is so determined to lose he circulates a campaign poster of himself looking as though he has just seen someone die, publicly insinuates that he beats his wife and lets Les spread the rumour that he is a transvestite all of which probably got the minds of a lot of amateur psychologists percolating particularly given Carlson's relationship with his mother.

While the episode utterly defies logic in countless ways it is at very least a return to the screwball roots that made the show famous. I for one never really cared for the episodes which tackled serious social issues or delved deep into the lives of the respective characters.

This episode is one of the few later ones in the series that made me laugh the way the ones at the beginning of the series did. I liked all of the difference aspects of the Big Guy's campaign.

His campaign commercial set to the theme from Star Wars features Fever's voice announcing "In the decade ahead America will be in space

  • Arthur Carlson is already there!" is a priceless moment in the


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