A hip, young program director pumps new life into a failing AM radio station, WKRP of Cincinatti, by changing format from Big Band to Hard Rock/Punk and bringing in two hot disc jockeys, over the protest of the owner... and some of the employees.Written by
Dr Johnny Fever is based based on Atlanta's DJ "Skinny" Bobby Harper, who was the morning drive DJ on WQXI ("Quixie in Dixie"), 790 on the AM dial. Harper was famous for such morning stunts as the "morning moo cow report," i.e., "there are seven moo cows on the streets of Atlanta this morning." Hugh Wilson, the show's creator, once worked at WQXI with Harper. See more »
The lyrics for the closing credits consist of gibberish words. See more »
MTM Productions' license to use some of the songs for this show expired in the mid-1990s. Syndicated and home video versions since then, including that on the Nick-at-Nite cable network, have replaced some of those songs with stock music. See more »
Amid the cookie-cutter, assembly-line sitcoms of the late '70s and early '80s, "WKRP in Cincinnati" stood out like a breath of fresh air. It had all the qualities necessary for a classic comedy: the show was character-driven, not dependent on a never-ending stream of glib and not-so-glib one-liners (and, thank God, no "cute" kids); the writing was sharp, clever, and at times absolutely brilliant; the ensemble cast worked together like a well-oiled machine, with each character having its own distinctive--and, unusual for television, three-dimensional--qualities, both good and not so good; and in addition to wringing laughs out of everyday situations, it wasn't afraid to tackle more serious subjects, either, such as parental responsibility, censorship, shady business practices in the industry, drug use and, of course, one of the most barbaric problems to have confronted America in this century: the practice of using live turkeys in promotional campaigns ("As God is my witness, I thought they could fly!").
Many episodes stand out, of course, the main one probably being the above-mentioned turkey extravaganza, but there were others that were equally as memorable: the staff's discomfort at being sponsored by a chain of funeral homes and having to come up with a catchy "slogan" for them; the inspired casting of Bert Parks as Herb Tarlek's charming, but even more obnoxious, father; Johnny Fever's "selling out" by hosting a cheesy TV dance show; Les Nessman's being barred from sports locker rooms because of a false rumor spread around that he was gay; a dark secret from Venus Flytrap's past finally catching up with him; and a host of other brilliant episodes dealing with serious and not-so-serious issues.
This is one of the class acts of sitcomdom, and ranks up there with "Taxi", "Mary Tyler Moore," "Cheers" and "Seinfeld" as among the finest sitcoms ever made. Unfortunately, unlike the aforementioned shows, "WKRP" never really got the respect it so richly deserved. But at least we can keep enjoying it on reruns. Thank God for small favors.
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