Follow TV Tropes


Trivia / WKRP in Cincinnati

Go To

  • Colbert Bump: Blondie's "Heart of Glass" wouldn't have become as popular as it did if it hadn't been featured in the season 1 episode "A Commercial Break"
    • "Coward of The Country" by Kenny Rogers was used in the episode "A Family Affair". Within 2 weeks of the episode's premiere, the song had gone from #7 on the charts to #3.
    • The Pointer Sisters song "Could I Be Dreaming" went from #62 on the charts to #52 after the premier of the episode "The Baby".
    • The episode "Out To Lunch" featured "I Have The Skill" by The Sherbs. A few weeks after the premiere, the song went from #84 on the charts to #61.
    • Advertisement:
    • Eric Clapton's "I Can't Stand It" moved up from #22 to #11 on the charts after "A Simple Little Wedding's" broadcast.
    • "Just The Two Of Us" by Bill Withers and Grover Washingon Jr. was played in the episode "Nothing To Fear But..." and subsequently shot up from #27 on the charts to #7.
    • The Go-Gos song "Our Lips Are Sealed" was heard in "Rumors" and went to #26 after being at the #39 spot.
    • "Pills" had the Police song "Spirits In The Material Ward" go up to #25 from #54 after the original broadcast.
  • Creator's Favorite: During season 3 Herb appeared to become a mild case, as there were suddenly many episodes focusing on him. Otherwise, notably averted; pretty much everybody got a healthy dose of character development.
  • Dawson Casting: Arnold in "Venus and the Man" is supposed to be 16 years old, but the actor is clearly much older. Handwaved by having his mother say that he's built like "a regular man" despite his youth.
    • Totally inverted by most of the main cast. Gary Sandy, Loni Anderson, Tim Reid and Jan Smithers all looked their age, but Howard Hessman and Richard Sanders, both of whom could have passed for over 50, were 38 during the first season, and Frank Bonner, also looking somewhere in his fifties, was 36. Gordon Jump, who could have passed for 60, was 46.
  • Advertisement:
  • The Danza: In the episode "The Americanation of Ivan", character actor Sam Anderson played a local government agent named....Mr Anderson. Also counts as a You Look Familiar as he had previously played the little seen afternoon drive time dj Rex Erhart (or as Johnny calls him 'Rex Airhead') in one earlier episode.
  • Directed by Cast Member: Frank Bonner directed six episodes, while Howard Hesseman and Gordon Jump directed one episode each.
  • Dueling Works: It debuted a few months after the release of the comedy film FM, which has a similar setting and characters, but a slightly different premise.Explanation  While WKRP is sometimes called a Spiritual Adaptation of FM, the pilot was written before the film came out, and Hugh Wilson was concerned that the film might undercut the show's success.
  • Advertisement:
  • Irony as She Is Cast: Mr. Carlson, who drank fairly frequently, was played devout Mormon Gordon Jump.
  • The Other Darrin: Mama Carlson was played by Sylvia Sidney in the pilot. She declined to return and Carol Bruce portrayed Mama Carlson for the remainder of the series, including a re-shot scene from the pilot in a Perspective Flip episode. It was an unusual recasting, since Bruce was almost a decade younger than Sidney, taller than her, and had a different acting style (Sidney had been known for Melodramas in her younger days, while Bruce had been a singer and dancer who did lots of musicals).
  • Permanent Placeholder: The scat closing credits song was going to have lyrics, they just hadn't been written yet, but the producers heard the demo version and liked it just like that.
  • Referenced by...: An episode with Venus and Johnny drinking on air in a drunk test inspired The Funday Pawpet Show's Herbie to do the infamous "Drunk Show" in which the puppeteers took a shot of Rumplemintz every half hour of the four hour live netcast (and spent the night sleeping it off in the studio).
  • Screwed by the Network: CBS changed the show's time slot a dozen times in four years, leading to its early cancellation. Although the show was getting decent ratings on Monday nights at 9:30 PM following M*A*S*H, CBS moved it out of that slot as they wanted to free it up for House Calls, which starred former M*A*S*H regular Wayne Rogers, and they also felt that the rock n' roll music and the sex appeal of Loni Anderson were better-suited to an earlier slot, which at that time was thought of as mostly aimed at young people. During the third and fourth seasons, CBS continued to move the show around repeatedly, so much so that cast and crew members claimed that even they didn't know when the show aired. This time slot shuffling hurt the show's ratings and it was eventually canceled in 1982. It probably didn't help matters, however, that MTM co-founder and president Grant Tinker had left the company to become chairman and CEO of NBC the year before. Amusingly, despite all the screwing, CBS ended up commissioning another series from MTM, Newhart.
  • Throw It In!: Richard Sanders, who played Les Nessman, was injured prior to shooting the pilot and had to wear a bandage on his face. Sanders decided that this would be the character's trademark, so he's always seen with a bandage on some part of his body in subsequent episodes (later explained that it was due to a large, unseen dog that Les owned).
  • Vindicated by Reruns: WKRP did poorly in its original CBS run, but became a huge success once it went to syndication.
  • What Could Have Been:
    • David Letterman was Hugh Wilson's first choice to play Andy, but MTM Enterprises instead decided to have him co-star in Mary, a short lived variety show hosted by Mary Tyler Moore. Ironically, Letterman began his career as a local radio host in the Midwest.
    • Likewise, Roddy McDowall was the first choice to play Mr. Carlson.
    • Howard Hesseman originally was selected to play Herb Tarlek, but after reading the script he requested to play Johnny Fever instead.
    • The 5th season would've revolved around WKRP's struggles to stay a top rated station.
  • Write What You Know: Hugh Wilson used his experience working in sales at Atlanta radio station WQXI to create the series, with a number of episodes (including the "Turkeys Away" episode) based on incidents he witnessed on the job.
  • Written by Cast Member: Richard Sanders wrote five episodes, Tim Reid wrote three episodes, and Howard Hesseman wrote one episode.
  • You Look Familiar:
    • Sam Anderson appears about once a season, a different character each time.
    • Michael Des Barres guest stars as Scum of the Earth bandmember Dog in the second episode; come New WKRP Des Barres plays Jack Allen, one half of the morning DJ team Burns and Allen.

How well does it match the trope?

Example of:


Media sources: