From Academic Kids

For the Australian radio station, see ABC NewsRadio

NewsRadio was an American sitcom, originally broadcast from 1995 to 1999 by NBC.

The series is set in a New York City news radio station, WNYX, and starts with the arrival of a new news director, Dave Nelson (played by Dave Foley). He finds a staff with often weird habits.

NewsRadio's scripts were usually fast-paced and often absurd, frequently reminiscent of screwball comedy. There was often a strong reliance on physical humor: "NewsRadio was already unlike any other television show in that its comedy relied more on the gag than the one-liner. It was even more unusual in that the gags were primarily visual." [1] (

In addition to the often strange habits of the staff, the series also contained two finales far removed from the rest of the series, the first of which demonstrated what NewsRadio would be like if it were to occur in outer space. The second was a parody of Titanic.


  • Dave Nelson (Dave Foley), the coffee-addicted, micromanaging news director.
  • Jimmy James (Stephen Root), the station's billionaire owner (who may have been famous skyjacker D.B. Cooper and/or Watergate scandal source Deep Throat), who often places strange bets with his rich friends and is desperately looking for a wife.
  • Beth (Vicki Lewis) is Dave's perpetually gum-chewing secretary, whose work mainly consists of eavesdropping. Beth is the only regular character without a last name, a fact which was the subject of a running gag on the show.
  • The station's News anchors are the bombastic, ego-centric Bill McNeal (Phil Hartman) and the unflappable Catherine Duke (Khandi Alexander), who left part way though the show's fourth season.
  • The clumsy and not very bright Matthew Brock (Andy Dick) is a news reporter, while the ambitious and intelligent Lisa Miller (Maura Tierney), with whom Dave has an intermittent relationship, is promoted and demoted within the show's run, serving as reporter, producer and news director.
  • Joe Garelli (Joe Rogan) is the station's electrician. He builds everything he needs, rather than purchasing them, and espouses various conspiracy theories.

After Phil Hartman was murdered in 1998, he was replaced by Jon Lovitz, playing Max Louis. Lovitz made two guest appearances on the show before becoming a regular: once as a patient in a mental institution and again as a jumper on the ledge outside the WNYX office.

Patrick Warburton played a notable recurring character later in the show's run, Johnny Johnson. Johnny was a nemesis of Jimmy James and later a love interest for Lisa Miller.

Character facts

  • An occasional joke about Canada was inserted into the show, ostensibly as an in-joke concerning Canadian born Foley and Hartman.
  • The name "Jimmy James" came from a Beastie Boys song with the same title.
  • Maura Tierney and Joe Rogan's characters (Lisa and Joe) are modeled closely on their real life personalities.
  • The character of Joe was originally named Rick, and was played by another actor in the pilot episode.
  • Ray Romano was originally cast to play Joe, but was fired prior to getting Everybody Loves Raymond. It was revealed in the Seasons 1 and 2 DVD commentary that his particular brand of verbal comedy did not mix well with the fast-paced repartee of the rest of the cast.
  • The rumor that Dave Foley's character, Dave Nelson was named after the Twin Towers is entirely false. Paul Simms says "I named this character Dave because I wrote it with no one else but Dave Foley in mind. Nelson is my mother's maiden name." [2] (

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