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Television
John Kiesewetter on the world of local and national TV


Senior Entertainment Reporter John Kiesewetter has been covering TV and media issues for 20 years. After joining the Cincinnati Enquirer in 1975 as a summer intern, he worked as a county government and suburban reporter; assistant city editor and suburban editor; and features editor supervising the Life section. He has a B.S. in journalism from Ohio University.

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Tuesday, March 20, 2007

Is "WKRP" One Of The Best?

I'll be anxious to watch "WKRP in Cincinnati" when the first-season DVD set arrives in stores on April 24. I loved the show back in the late 70s and early 80s, and the reruns on Nick at Nite in the 90s. But I'm anxious to see how it holds up in comparison to the other all-time sitcom favorites still on the air in reruns: Seinfeld, M*A*S*H, Cosby Show, Roseanne, Raymond, I Love Lucy, Andy Griffith, Night Court, Frasier, etc.

And I'm still looking for huge "WKRP" fans to interview for my story for the DVD release. If you're a big fan, and want to comment, email me at jkiesewetter@enquirer.com. Include your name, age, neighborhood/suburb and daytime phone.

So here's my question today: What are TV's greatest sitcoms? Give me your top 5 or 10. And tell me why "WKRP" should or should not be on the list.


25 Comments:

at 3/20/2007 11:11 AM Anonymous David (formerly IN now TX) said...

Kiese-

The top 5 for me would be:
M*A*S*H
Cheers
All in the Family
The Cosby Show
The Jeffersons

WKRP is in tier 2 of all time comedies. Like another favorite, Moonlighting (which i consider a comedy), the only problem it had was it was not around long enough. Will be purchasing DVD for sure when it comes out.

 
at 3/20/2007 11:23 AM Anonymous Anonymous said...

Why is WKRP one of the best? Because it captures the personalities of a small radio station perfectly. I have worked with people just like Andy, Bailey, Herb, Mr. Carlson, and yes, even a Jennifer.

Me? I'm a total Les.

 
at 3/20/2007 11:34 AM Anonymous Anonymous said...

THE DUKES OF HAZZARD is the best Mr Kunzel.

 
at 3/20/2007 1:34 PM Anonymous Anonymous said...

did anyone notice, there sure seem to be a lot of Negros in sports?

 
at 3/20/2007 1:46 PM Anonymous Anonymous said...

my top 5 would be:
The Andy Griffith Show
All in the Family
M*A*S*H
Home Improvement
Seinfeld

WKRP would be high up in the second tier, though. There are so many WKRP moments I remember laughing hysterically at. Among them, the turkeys of course. What about the time Les dressed as a black man (a negro) and was chasing Venus around the station? Or the bomb threat? Remember, those Phone Cops play hard ball, man! Even some of the silly glitches while on air, like the "Right down the drain..... WITH LES NESSMAN!", or the fake newswire at the opening "although the senator denied being intoxicated, he was at a loss to explain his nudity....." What about the fight in the bathroom between the WPIG pig and Herb in the WKRP carp costume??

 
at 3/20/2007 3:04 PM Anonymous Red Cat said...

The key to a great sitcom is a great situation- a great dilemma, plot, etc. It's the criterion that puts Seinfeld on every Top 5 list, and, frankly, may put WKRP there, too.

If it isn't, the Thanksgiving Turkey episode surely has to be one of the top 5 sitcom episodes ever.

 
at 3/20/2007 4:39 PM Anonymous Anonymous said...

Here's my favorites and I know its more than 5:
Cheers
Seinfeld
Mary Tyler Moore
Taxi
Barney Miller
Mash
Newhart

 
at 3/20/2007 4:45 PM Anonymous Anonymous said...

Here are the 5 best sitcoms:

The Mary Tyler Moore Show
Frasier
All in the Family
I Love Lucy
Cheers

 
at 3/20/2007 5:33 PM Anonymous Anonymous said...

My sense of humor is odd, so here we go:

Amos & Andy
Fernwood Tonight
Cheers
All in the Family
Soap

WKPR & Frazier just miss out.

 
at 3/20/2007 8:00 PM Blogger Carla said...

As my user name suggests, I worked in radio many years. I definitely worked with a Herb (right down to the Easter egg colored madras blazer). And the new program director who was going to change the world. The turkey episode is a classic, one of the top five all-time. But, I also vividly remember the Who concert episode. When I moved here 8 years ago, seeing the old Riverfront Arena for the first time just brought the real incident and that episode all back. Now, the show "jumped the shark" when Andy started dating Mrs. Carlson...

Carla

 
at 3/20/2007 11:00 PM Anonymous Anonymous said...

#1 MASH
#2 The Simpsons
#3 Sanford and Son
#4 Home Improvement
#5 Seinfeld

 
at 3/21/2007 12:11 AM Anonymous Anonymous said...

To me the funniest sitcom of all time is a little known show from about 1990 titled "Doctor, Doctor." The show starred Matt Frewer (of Max Headroom fame) who played one of four doctors in a Providence, R.I., practice. Every show was absolute side-splitting hilarity. You could tell Frewer did some good ad libbing and they let him go and have fun with it. Perhaps that's one reason why it was funny, the actors all seemed to be having so much fun with one another. They also were able to touch on topics like AIDS and gay relationships with sensitivity and humor. I may be one of the few who enjoyed the show as it had a relatively short run. But I have many of the episodes on tape (thanks in part to replays on Lifetime in 2000) and despite knowing almost every line by heart, the show still cracks me up every time!

 
at 3/21/2007 10:53 AM Anonymous Anonymous said...

Messed this up before
MASH
Cheers
Everybody loves Raymond
Dick Van Dyke Show
Night court - especially they way they dealt with the deaths of their two ballifs, Florence Halop and Selma Diamond.

 
at 3/21/2007 1:01 PM Anonymous Anonymous said...

OT, but Joelle Girone has officially resigned from Local 12.

 
at 3/21/2007 1:12 PM Anonymous Anonymous said...

-seinfeld
-curb your enthusiasm
-the office-bbc version
-mash-earlier years before they started filming outdoor scenes on a soundstage...
-the office-nbc version if it keeps current pace...
-dick van dyke show

 
at 3/21/2007 2:41 PM Anonymous Jonesin' For Skyline said...

My favorite WKRP episode was when Dr. Johnny Fever did the cliche "drinking on the air to see why you shouldn't drive" but with each drink his reflexes became FASTER.

To this day, when people hear I worked in TV in Cincinnati they ask if it was WKRP.

John, there has been a lot of questions about how much of the music that was in the show back in the day will be in the DVD. Do you have any insight about that?

 
at 3/21/2007 3:07 PM Anonymous Anonymous said...

-NightCourt
-Seinfeld
-Home Improvement
-Family guy
-The Office
-My name is Earl
-Will and Grace

 
at 3/21/2007 5:19 PM Blogger John Kiesewetter said...

To Jonesin' for Skyline:
I'm trying to track down creator Hugh Wilson to ask how much music was replaced. He approved any changes.

 
at 3/21/2007 8:08 PM Anonymous Anonymous said...

Off the topic, sorry....

Kiese,

Do you know when is Michael Flannery's last day at Channel 9?

Thanks

PS----I love how on the WCPO.com website on Michael's bio, it says that he co-hosts 'Good Morning Tri-State'

 
at 3/21/2007 8:23 PM Anonymous Anonymous said...

hey kiese what happened to joelle girone. Her Bio isnt on local 12 anymore.

 
at 3/22/2007 9:33 AM Anonymous Anonymous said...

anyone remember the episode with Little Ed, the Wrestling Reverend?
What about the one where the KRP staff was doing the live stand up at the liquor store and the place gets held up while they are on the air?
How about Les's traffic reports from the non-existent helicopter?
This show did a great job of coming up with incredibly absurd situations and injecting them into the already incredibly absurd premise of the show. I know some of the popularity of this show for folks around here stems from the title and it being located in our home town, but as several others have posted already, virtually every character in that show is a good approximation of someone in real life at some small time radio station somewhere. What is really sad is with all the deregulation and the continuing corporate consolidation that permeates radio of today, many of these charming parodies of real life persons are probably becoming a thing of the past. I realize that with internet and the explosion of new technology, change is inevitable. But how much longer will it be before radio becomes an anachronism?

 
at 3/22/2007 1:07 PM Anonymous Luray said...

WKRP will hold up because its humor is timeless. Every viewer knows someone like at least one of the characters on the show (I was amazed, upon moving to Cincinnati, how many natives I met who reminded me of Mr. Carlson!). If the original music survives (and I hope it does), WKRP also will be viewed a period artifact, and remain popular with those of us who lived through those times.

 
at 3/22/2007 2:28 PM Anonymous Anonymous said...

Forgot one of my all time favorites, Barney Miller. One of the best ensemble casts ever assembled.
Also Major Dad.
from the neighborhood

 
at 3/27/2007 11:42 AM Anonymous Anonymous said...

My top five:

1. Andy Griffith Show
2. Mary Hartman Mary Hartman
3. MASH
4. Gomer Pyle (based on the performances of Frank Sutton)
5. Seinfeld

 
at 4/01/2007 5:12 PM Anonymous Anonymous said...

WKRP is the most zaniest comedy I've seen in a long.The Thanksgiving Turkey episode was a gem. Tossing live turkeys out of an airplane [turkeys cant't fly]and having rain down on un suspecting shoppers was precious.

Frank Magrino, 82 years old,
I live in Finneytown
My phone number is 513-821-3799

 
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