!!Dave Nelson (Dave Foley)

The news director at WNYX. A NaiveNewcomer in the pilot episode, he quickly realizes [[SurroundedByIdiots the kind of place he's dealing with]].

* BenevolentBoss: Most of the time. He's somewhat [[MaddenIntoMisanthropy embittered]] by the end of his tenure.
* BookDumb: He's intelligent and has a good vocabulary - enough for his "big words" to sometimes annoy the other characters - but almost all of his cultural references come from movies and TV. In conversation with Lisa he reveals that the last book he read was ''Goober in a Nutshell'', the autobiography of ''Series/TheAndyGriffithShow''s George Lindsey.
* CanadaEh: In "The Trainer," the other characters find out he was born in Canada and react accordingly. This is an ActorAllusion. (In one outtake, Dave Foley really does tack an accidental "eh" onto the end of a line.)
* TheCassandra: Dave is a terrific news director. He's tough, has foresight, good instincts and a lot of common sense, and is a BS detector. Despite this, nobody at the office ever believes his warnings and his authority is roundly dismissed, as much of the staff see him as just a [[StopHavingFunGuy killjoy]].
* CharacterDevelopment: While the other characters were pretty much [[{{Flanderization}} Flanderized]] in typical sitcom style, Dave had more of an arc: first he was alarmed by the craziness of his coworkers, then he got used to them and learned to manage them, and in the final season he simply got sick of it all until he didn't want to make the move to New Hampshire in the series finale.
* ClosetGeek: ''Stargate Defender''. Also, when Matthew buys him a sword, he waits until he's alone in the office and then pretends to be [[Franchise/StarWars Obi-Wan Kenobi]].
%%* DeadpanSnarker
* HiddenDepths: His continually growing list of secret talents was a mild RunningGag (though mostly [[CompressedVice contained]] in the episode "Stupid Holiday Charity Talent Show"). He speaks Spanish, can tapdance, was involved in 4H, starred in ''Theater/{{Grease}}'' in high school, sang in an a cappella group in college, and can throw knives [[{{Ventriloquism}} and his voice]].
* MinnesotaNice: Wisconsin. Despite the revelation of his technical Canadianness, there were many more Wisconsin jokes from the other characters over the course of the show.
* MustHaveCaffeine: When trying to get Bill to quit smoking, Dave gives up coffee at the same time to prove the point. They both fail.
%%* NiceGuy
* NotSoAboveItAll: He does become unhinged occasionally, notably in "Security Door."
%%* OnlySaneEmployee
%%* StraightMan
%%* TeamMom
* VitriolicBestBuds: With Bill, according to the letter in "Bill Moves On"
%%* {{Workaholic}}

!!Bill [=McNeal=] (Creator/PhilHartman)

The star anchor and a constant thorn in Dave's side.

* BunnyEarsLawyer: He's apparently fairly famous and his segment is the most professional-sounding bit of the show we usually hear.
* CatchPhrase: The toast "salud!" [[HisQuirkLivesOn (which makes another appearance after he dies)]] and "Good times…" (always said after telling a story that sounds like the opposite of that).
* EmbarrassingFirstName: Evelyn William [=McNeal=].
-->'''Bill:''' It's pronounced "Eeee-ve-lyn."
* TheGadfly: His main method of annoying Dave. More than once he adopts a new habit just for attention. This was also a big part of his rivalry with Catherine.
-->'''Dave:''' Why the cane?\\
'''Bill:''' What?\\
'''Dave:''' The cane. The walking stick.\\
'''Bill:''' Oh, you mean my cane!
* HilariouslyAbusiveChildhood: As revealed through the many anecdotes he mistakenly believes are heartwarming, or at least normal.
* {{Jerkass}}: [[KickTheDog Especially toward Matthew.]]
* KnowNothingKnowItAll: [[WronglyAttributed Misattributing quotations]] (thinking Keats said everything) and exhibiting GlobalIgnorance, HistoricalCharacterConfusion, and DelusionsOfEloquence, always in the most condescending tones possible.
-->"We could all be burned alive, like those people on the ''Titanic''!"
* LargeHam: No one could yell like Phil Hartman.
* PetTheDog: Very occasional and often leading to a punchline, but still, they're there.
%%* SmallNameBigEgo
* VitriolicBestBuds: With Dave, according to his final letter in "Bill Moves On"
* WaistcoatOfStyle: He usually wears a three-piece suit, which makes him look very professorial. He isn't.

!!Lisa Miller (Maura Tierney)

A reporter [[PassedoverPromotion who believed she was headed for Dave's job until he came along]]. Also his on-again-off-again love interest.

* TheBGrade: She has this attitude toward actual grades and toward life in general.
%%* BrainyBrunette
* DarkAndTroubledPast: PlayedForLaughs; she has an extensive criminal record, but it's all connected to her overachieving. She ''had'' to steal that car to get to the [=SATs=] on time.
%%* DeadpanSnarker
%%* GoGetterGirl
* GoodWithNumbers: A trait that gets brought up repeatedly. When the characters need to win Bill back because Jimmy LostHimInACardGame, they choose to teach Lisa the rules of poker rather than send someone who already knows how it works.
%%* HotScoop
* TheLancer: To Dave.
* OnlySaneEmployee: She belongs to the cast of wacky characters Dave has to manage, but only through being a neurotic perfectionist and hardworking to a fault, which makes her about a mile saner than the next sanest employee.
* SleepingWithTheBoss: Has an on-going relationship with Dave.
* {{Workaholic}}
-->'''Lisa:''' There's more to life than work!\\
'''Dave:''' No there isn't, and I wish you'd stop pretending you're any different about that than me!

!!Jimmy James (Creator/StephenRoot)

The EccentricMillionaire who owns WNYX [[OneHourWorkWeek and sure seems to devote a lot of his time to it]]. He enjoys playing God with the station and is often responsible for whatever ZanyScheme or SecretTest drives the episode, but also clearly cares for the people who work there.

* AffablyEvil: Has shades of this. He swings wildly between this, BigFun, and on the rare ocassion FauxAffablyEvil, usually depending on the writer.
* BenevolentBoss: He tries, anyway. On one occasion, after realizing he got everyone really crappy Christmas presents, he tries it again a bit more personally, but apparently runs out of steam after giving Matthew some tapes of ''Radio/FibberMcGeeAndMolly'' and just buys everyone else brand-new Mazda Miatas; in a DoubleSubversion, it turns out that in addition to the tapes, Matthew got the ''rights'' to the show. He also sometimes appears to actively seek his good-boss reputation, by making Dave make the unpopular decisions for the company.
** In Jimmy's defense of the caps, he genuinely thought they were cool (and even had one made for himself) until he tore the patch off and saw that it said "Jimmy James, Incorporated"- and agreed that would suck if he wasn't Jimmy James.
* BigFun: Usually. However, there are episodes where he can display a mean streak that would lead one to question if he was this or really just FauxAffablyEvil.
* BunnyEarsLawyer: He might be literally insane, but you can't fault his business instincts.
* CatchPhrase: GOOD!
%%* CloudCuckoolander
* CorruptCorporateExecutive: The shady nature of his business dealings and political connections is a RunningGag. If he ''had'' turned out to be D.B. Cooper, would anyone have been surprised?
* CrouchingMoronHiddenBadass: Jimmy James is not only deceptively intelligent but deceptively spry. When an ex-employee denounces him on-air, James dives across Dave's desk to hit the kill-switch button (done off-screen).
-->'''Lisa:''' ''(stunned)'' I have never seen you move that fast before.\\
'''Jimmy:''' I save energy [[CrazyPrepared for times like this]].
* LargeHam: In close competition with bill for the largest ham on the show.
* ObfuscatingStupidity: Johnny Johnson certainly underestimates him.
* RepetitiveName: James James
%%* SouthernFriedGenius
* TalksLikeASimile: With varying success.
-->'''Dave:''' Lisa has decided that she wants to have a baby, but that she doesn't want to get married. Now I know that [[ConverseWithTheUnconscious if you were awake]] you'd probably say something like, [[{{Metaphorgotten}} "Well, son, why milk the cow when you've got a fridge full of steaks?"]] And I would probably say, "That makes absolutely no sense, sir," and then you would say, "Well, it sure sounded like it made sense when that guy Chuck Connors said it in that movie ''Film/{{Chinatown}}''," and then I would be forced to say, "Sir, Chuck Connors wasn't in the movie ''Chinatown''..."
* TeamDad: Or Team CoolUncle.

!!Beth (Vicki Lewis)

Dave's assistant.

* BareYourMidriff: Many of her outfits are this.
%%* DeadpanSnarker
%%* FieryRedhead
%%* MotorMouth
* MsFanservice: Particularly of the BareYourMidriff variety.
* NoNameGiven: We never got a last name for her. In "Freaky Friday," she says she doesn't have one.
* OralFixation: Beth's perpetual gum-chewing was a RunningGag.
-->'''Dave''': Guess how many pieces of gum Beth chewed last year.\\
'''Lisa''': Seven hundred and fifty.\\
'''Dave''': One.
* ThePiratesWhoDontDoAnything: Unlike with Matthew, it remains clear ''what'' Beth's job was, but she can be spectacularly lazy about it. In the episode where Dave [[LampshadeHanging has everyone define their job]], all she comes up with is that she makes coffee in the morning and sometimes in the afternoon. When he tells her to call a staff meeting in five minutes, she tells him to add "call a staff meeting in five minutes" to the list, then flounces out yelling, "Staff meeting in twenty minutes!"
* PluckyOfficeGirl: In one DVDCommentary, the writers say they had to stop putting in references to how little money Beth made because instead of laughing, the studio audience would feel sorry for her.
* RummageSaleReject: "Dresses like a barmaid from ''Film/BladeRunner''," as Dave puts it.
* SassySecretary

!!Matthew Brock (Andy Dick)

A reporter.

%%* AdultChild
%%* ButtMonkey
* CatchPhrase: "What up?"
* CloudCuckoolander: More than anyone else in the office, which is saying a lot. [[{{Flanderization}} By the end of the series]] he believes in magical creatures such as unicorns.
%%* TheDitz
* TheKlutz: Say what you will about Andy Dick, but the guy can [[{{Pratfall}} fall down]].
* TheLoad: There was a whole arc where the other staffers [[UltimateJobSecurity tried to keep his job for him, then get it back when he lost it]], even though they could make pretty much no case that he really deserved it (and even though [[HiddenDepths he was revealed to be a qualified dentist in the meantime]]). When Jimmy did agree to take him back, it was with the reasoning that "the damage he does is pretty minimal most of the time" and with several caveats about the others cleaning up after him.
* LoveMartyr: At some point he becomes obsessed with Bill and believes he's the greatest man in the world, while Bill continues to look at him as a source of sick amusement, if at all.
* NerdsAreVirgins: {{Subverted|Trope}} in that losing his virginity doesn't make him even slightly less nerdy.
* PluckyOfficeGirl: A male example.
* WhatExactlyIsHisJob: He's a reporter, but after the first season or so you'd never know it. He himself doesn't know at one point when asked.

!!Joe Garelli (Joe Rogan)

The station's electrician.

* AlmightyJanitor: Joe is a world-class engineer, which is played entirely for laughs. He makes all of his own equipment (even duct tape) and can read binary code.
-->'''Catherine:''' Where did you find a camera small enough to fit in an action figure?\\
'''Joe:''' I made it.\\
'''Catherine:''' I mean, where'd you get the parts?\\
'''Joe:''' I made 'em!
* BunnyEarsLawyer: He's a brilliant MrFixit, otherwise a bit of a meathead.
* ConspiracyTheorist: Not unlike Joe Rogan.
* EmbarrassingLastName: It's not clear why he wouldn't like his surname, but he uses it so infrequently that "Your name is Garelli?" is a RunningGag.
* HypocriticalHeartwarming: Like an older brother, he both [[BigBrotherBully bullies]] Matthew and [[BigBrotherInstinct protects]] him.
* PhraseCatcher: "Your last name is Garelli?"
* UnmanlySecret: Joe is very concerned about maintaining his tough guy persona, and therefore does his best to hide his more caring side. When Jimmy James falls into a coma, Joe spends his turn to watch over him pouring his heart out to him, eventually holding his hand and later hugging him; when his co-workers walk in on him doing this, he immediately pretends to be explaining wrestling moves to the (still unconscious) Jimmy.

!!Catherine Duke (Khandi Alexander)

Co-anchor with Bill until she leaves for a London radio station in season four.

* DeadpanSnarker
-->'''Bill''': You like my cane, don't you, Catherine?\\
'''Catherine''': It's a cane, Bill. Who cares?
%%* TheFashionista
%%* HotScoop
* MsFanservice: Not to the same extent as Beth, but she did wear some ridiculously low-cut tops and typically [[ShesGotLegs showed a lot of leg]].
* PutOnABus: "Catherine Moves On." TheBusCameBack for the first episode of season five, to deal with Phil Hartman's death.
* SpellMyNameWithAnS: She takes offense when a magazine review spells it Katherine, as she considers Catherine regal and Katherine trashy (Dave: "Yeah, like that cheap slut Creator/KatharineHepburn").
* TokenMinority: In "Daydream," her fantasy is that there are other black people at the station.
* WorkingWithTheEx: She and Bill used to date.

!!Max Louis (Creator/JonLovitz)

The new anchor who replaces Bill in season five.

* IHaveManyNames: After he's hired, Beth finds out that he worked at all his previous radio jobs under various aliases. When confronted about this, he appears to think it's normal to adopt a different persona with each new job.
* InexplicablyIdenticalIndividuals: To Fred and Mike Johnson, both one-off characters that appeared before Max. Max's habit of [[IHaveManyNames adopting new identities every time he changes jobs]] suggest that these characters may all be one and the same, making Max more of a [[RecurringExtra Recurring]] / AscendedExtra instead.
* SuspiciouslySimilarSubstitute: Like Bill, he [[SmallNameBigEgo has an inflated opinion of himself]] and [[{{Jerkass}} alienates everyone in the office]], but the emphasis is more on his neurosis and lack of social skills whereas Bill was usually able to maintain his maddening superiority [[NotSoStoic until he inappropriately snapped]].

!!Johnny Johnson (Creator/PatrickWarburton)

A business rival of Jimmy's who takes over the station while Jimmy is briefly in jail in season five.

* AffablyEvil: Even after learning that he is evil and Mr. James' rival, everyone but Dave is still fond of him. Lisa [[spoiler:even marries him.]]
* TheAlcoholic: After being defeated, he becomes a subway-dwelling wino (their king, at that).
%%* CorruptCorporateExecutive
* EvilSoundsDeep: As befits a character played by Patrick Warburton.
* NobleDemon: When he takes over Jimmy's company (including WNYX), as a small mercy he offers to give him back a single employee from the station. Jimmy surprises everyone by picking Johnny himself (which he could do, since Johnny explicitly made himself head of the station). Instead of vetoing the obvious LoopholeAbuse, Johnny congratulates Jimmy on his quick thinking and gives back his company (much to the surprise of everyone else).
%%* ObviouslyEvil
* PokeThePoodle: Dave unhesitatingly uses the term "evil" when he finds out Johnny's real intentions, and everyone else later adopts it. [[CardCarryingVillain Even Johnny doesn't object to it.]]
* RepetitiveName: As befits Jimmy James's nemesis, his name, Johnny Johnson, is repetitive.