!!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]].
* TheDanza
* DeadpanSnarker
* HiddenDepths[=/=]NewPowersAsThePlotDemands: 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]].
* {{Kawaisa}}: Dave is an in-universe example of [[{{Moe}} cuteness]], much to his frustration and chagrin. He's rarely taken seriously as an authority figure because of his [[NaiveNewcomer inexperience]], [[IncorruptiblePurePureness idealism]] and [[FunSize boyishness]] -- the others largely agree that he looks like a fourteen-year-old in a business suit. A child visiting the station once calls him "the little boy in the blue suit".
** In episode 57, Dave tries to fool Andrea's polygraph test to make her think he's got a criminal record, but the test reveals he's never even thought about shoplifting, and Andrea calls him the cutest thing. He snaps back, "I am '''not''' the cutest thing!" and the polygraph goes off. Jimmy enters as Dave storms out, then Jimmy says to Andrea, "Ain't he the cutest thing?"
* 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).
* TheCharacterDiedWithHim
* 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.
* ObnoxiousSnarker: Stentorian and theatrical rather than [[DeadpanSnarker deadpan]].
* 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.

* AlliterativeName, RepetitiveName
* 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.
* BigFun
* BunnyEarsLawyer: He might be literally insane, but you can't fault his business instincts.
* 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
* ObfuscatingStupidity: Johnny Johnson certainly underestimates him.
* TheObiWan: To Dave.
* 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: Often.
* DeadpanSnarker
* FieryRedhead
* {{Moe}}: She gets upset when Lisa is voted "cutest reporter" in a magazine, because "once they start calling pretty people cute, [[InsistentTerminology it devalues the whole word]]. What's going to happen next? Cute exotic people, cute sexy people? It is [[SeriousBusiness very important]] that the word "cute" remain precise terminology to the people who truly have cuteness, like ''me''!"
* 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
* 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.
* AManIsNotAVirgin: He is, until "The Real Deal." When Dave finds this out, he drops his supportive facade and openly laughs at him: "You're twenty-eight!"
** 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.
* TheDanza
* HypocriticalHeartwarming: Like an older brother, he both [[BigBrotherBully bullies]] Matthew and [[BigBrotherInstinct protects]] him.
* PhraseCatcher: "Your last name is Garelli?"
* WhatCouldHaveBeen: Creator/RayRomano was originally cast in the role.

!!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
* MagnificentBastard: She outwits Bill more than once in {{Escalating War}}s, and she also gets the "big bonus" in season one by [[GenreSavvy pretending not to know or care that the rest of the office has been covertly competing for it]].
* MsFanservice: Not to the same extent as Beth, but she did wear some ridiculously low-cut tops.
* 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 (Jon Lovitz)

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.
* 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]].
* YouLookFamiliar: Lovitz had previously played a mental patient in the hospital Bill was committed to in "Our Fiftieth Episode" and the jumper in "Jumper."

!!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).
* AlliterativeName, RepetitiveName: As befits Jimmy James's nemesis.
* CorruptCorporateExecutive
* EvilSoundsDeep
* 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.]]