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WKRP in Cincinnati: Season 1

3.5 out of 5 stars 553 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Product Description

Loni Anderson, Howard Hesseman, Tim Reid. WKRP may not have taken their Cincinnati radio fans by storm-but that didn't keep WKRP from becoming a TV sitcom smash with absolutely unforgettable characters like DJs Dr. Johnny Fever and Venus Flytrap, news man Les Nessman and the stunning Jennifer Marlowe. Includes 22 episodes on 3 DVDs. 1978-79/color/approx. 9 hrs., 30 min/NR/fullscreen.


One of DVD's most requested titles, WKRP in Cincinnati is a blast from the past and an absolutely golden oldie. But this first-season set is bound to cause static with fans who have eagerly anticipated its release. Because of pesky music rights, the songs don't remain the same. "Hot Blooded" is not playing when mild-mannered newsman Les Nessman (Richard Sanders) puts on a toupee in anticipation of an awards-dinner date with bombshell station receptionist Jennifer (Loni Anderson). It's "Beautiful Dreamer" and not "Fly Me to the Moon" that chimes when Jennifer's doorbell is sounded. Any number of generic songs have replaced the contemporary and classic rock so vital to WKRP, which is, after all, set at a radio station, albeit one that is best known for its farm reports. Enter Andy Travis (Gary Sandy), the new program director charged with turning the station around, beginning with changing the format to rock & roll. Andy, the series anchor, is something of the head guard at a nut farm. In seasons to come, he will wonder if he is one of the nuts, which include: "Big Man," Mr. Carlson (Gordon Jump), who is easily flustered, especially by his formidable mother, the station owner; polyester-clad sales director, Herb Tarleck (Frank Bonner), hopelessly old school and on the make for "Jenni-poo"; and morning DJ, Johnny Caravella (Howard Hesseman), a former "boss jock" now reduced to playing "You're Having My Baby" by the Hallelujah Tabernacle Choir. Also on staff is Bailey (Jan Smithers), Mary-Ann to Jennifer's Ginger, and who lacks the confidence to assert herself at the station; and Venus Flytrap (Tim Reid), whom Andy hires to be the nighttime DJ. It's a seamless ensemble of likable characters on par with The Mary Tyler Moore Show's WJM news team. WKRP is one of those rare series that hit its irresistible groove from the get-go. Hesseman sounds all the right notes as Johnny, reborn as Dr. Johnny Fever (ranked no. 73 on the Bravo "100 Greatest TV Characters" chart).

As the season unfolds, the hits just keep on comin', including the classic "Turkeys Away," about a Thanksgiving stunt that goes hilariously awry ("As God is my witness," Mr. Carlson insists, "I thought turkeys could fly"), the "Goodbye Johnny" two-parter in which the (briefly) departed Johnny's replacement is involved in payola (resulting in Mr. Carlson mistaking cocaine for foot powder), and "Never Leave Me, Lucille," in which Jennifer desperately tries to reunite Herb with his wife. Purists may balk at the replaced songs, but the sharp writing and performances provide WKRP's real music. --Donald Liebenson

Special Features

  • Commentary by Cast Members
  • Don't Touch That Dial - The Making of WKRP
  • Turning A "Turkey" Into a TV Classic
  • "Doctor Johnny Fever, and I am Burnin' Up in Here!"

Product Details

  • Actors: Gary Sandy, Gordon Jump, Howard Hesseman, Tim Reid, Loni Anderson
  • Directors: Asaad Kaleda, Will Mackenzie, Rod Daniel
  • Format: Multiple Formats, Box set, Color, NTSC
  • Language: English (Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo)
  • Subtitles: Spanish
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
  • Number of discs: 3
  • Rated:
    Not Rated
  • Studio: 20th Century Fox
  • DVD Release Date: April 24, 2007
  • Run Time: 532 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 3.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (553 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B000MXPE6U
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #84,228 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "WKRP in Cincinnati: Season 1" on IMDb

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: DVD
This is one of my all time favorite shows, and I would have happily paid more for the original versions of the shows, with the original music. It's a show about a radio station - OF COURSE the original music is important. I will not pay, however, for truncated versions of the shows with altered music. WKRP is one of the classic shows of TV, deeply influential and smartly written and directed and excellently acted. It's a shame Fox doesn't have the sense to treat one of its finest moments with even an ounce of care or respect. I don't buy the argument that by not buying this substandard product I'm guaranteeing I won't see a better release of WKRP in the future. Why not just release a GOOD product first, and I'll buy that right away? What happened to that business model? And if the RIAA shares blame, too, well, their business model is clearly outmoded, anyway. Instead of guaranteeing renewed revenue from these shows for the artists it represents, it now guarantees them nothing at all from this DVD release. Nice work!

This DVD is an insult to the people behind WKRP and its many devoted fans.
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Format: DVD
If it were possible, I would have rated this set 0 stars! I am saddened & dismayed that I must negatively rate this set. I loved WKRP. It was the only TV show that I would never miss when I was young.

I understand about the enormous expense with the music rights. I can even see where some editing had to be done due to music editing. In other words, I was ready to forgive a lot, just to view these episodes again.
Well, I have a friend who has got a hold of a copy of the advance DVD set. We watched it over the last few nights.

Since this was a copy of the DVD, I cannot comment on the picture quality with any authority. What I CAN comment on, was what has been done to the shows.

It is WORSE, WAY WORSE than you can imagine from reading these reviews. I had read the reviews, and I thought I was mentally prepared, but I still came away with a sick feeling in my stomach. I can imagine some first time viewers of this set actually having a hard time following the plot due to cut scenes & music changes.

PLEASE DO NOT ORDER THIS SET. It is a travesty, & Fox should NOT be rewarded for this effort!

FOX: Charge $150 per season, if you have to, but release this set intact! You should be ashamed & embarrassed over this shambles!
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Format: DVD
After reading the news about what is actually on these DVDs, I had to cancel the pre-order. I was so excited when I heard this was coming out. The early info said that Hugh Wilson was involved, and I had hoped it would be the same quality effort as was put into the short lived Sledge Hammer! series when it came to DVD.

I can live with the music changes to get the DVD's out, but I cannot justify spending money for episodes that are just 22-minute syndication cuts. I can hardly watch them on TV-Land or wherever they show up now and then because of that the cut scenes.

Can't get Pink Floyd "dogs"? Don't cut the scene! Go get some audio of some freak'n dogs barking and dub it in!


Sorry Fox, you will have to do MUCH better for me to spend money on this.

Just to make sure there is no confusion; I *LOVE* WKRP, but not enough to spend money on crappy DVDs.
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Format: DVD
It was a tough decision but I purchased Northern Exposure. I knew the show had been altered and much of the original music had been changed. The music was important but not crucial, or at least that's what I told myself. I wanted the show. And Northern Exposure retains 30-40% of the original music. But WKRP is different. The music IS the show! It is about a radio station that plays rock. Much of the comedy flows from the songs. The mood of many scenes is determined by them. Dialog and music are often interwoven. The plot sometimes depends on a particular song. Tiny Dancer, Dogs.... Every real fan of this show knows exactly what I mean! To remove ALL the songs....ALL of them! To change dialog or to remove whole sections of the show because there's no easy way to excise dialog interwoven with music. To re-dub new dialog to cover-up this radical surgery. To utilize cut, awful syndicated prints because there is no other way to cover the damage. This is NOT the Complete WKRP as advertised. This is an Opera with the music removed. What are you watching when you see this? I am old enough to have loved this show in its original run. Part of the fun was the shock of hearing rock in a sitcom. And how it was so cleverly, even lovingly utilized! This bowdlerized DVD collection is NOT the complete WKRP. It is a travesty that should disappear quickly and without a trace. I canceled my pre-order, as painful as that was. I will not be a party to this constant lowering of standards. I strongly urge you to think carefully before purchasing this set.
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Format: DVD
I don't know if there's anything left to be said about this dvd release, but having recently rented and viewed all three discs (including the extras), I thought I'd reluctantly add my voice to the disgruntled chorus. Here's the breakdown:

The show: It's hard to be completely objective about a show that one grew to love during adolescence, but I'd have to say, all in all, it's still pretty great after all these years. In an admirable inverse of what usually happens with a sitcom, where characters become caricatures as mannerisms and formulas crystallize, the characters on WKRP actually acquired dimension and depth over time. Not all of the attempts at seriousness worked -- the episode where Andy reconnects with an old flame was unintentionally laughable -- but many of them did, with special kudos going to "Never Leave Me Lucille" and the episode where one of Johnny's fans leaves him her baby. In addition to a reliable reservoir of gags, these stories were genuinely (and surprisingly) moving. As for the show's most famous episode, I found "Turkeys Away" a little lackluster... there was a lengthy and relatively unfunny buildup to the punchline, but the last five minutes or so (with Les Nessman's riotous play-by-play) pretty well make up for it. "A Date with Jennifer" would probably get my vote for best episode on this set.

The dvd: The two commentaries featuring Loni Anderson, Frank Bonner and creator Hugh Wilson were enjoyable and reflected the easy-going camaraderie that seemed to exist between the cast members and crew during the show's run. The featurettes on Loni Anderson and "The Fish Story" were entertaining, but at a total of 10 minutes, a little flimsy. As others have noted, the image is, like many shows from the era shot on video, a little soft... occasionally VERY soft.
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