WKRP in Cincinnati (1978–1982)
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Pilot: Part 1 

Andy Travis joins the WKRP staff as program director and institutes sudden changes that most of the eccentric staff and the station's cantankerous owner don't immediately like.


Jay Sandrich


Hugh Wilson (created by), Hugh Wilson




Episode complete credited cast:
Gary Sandy ... Andy Travis
Gordon Jump ... Arthur Carlson
Loni Anderson ... Jennifer Marlowe
Richard Sanders ... Les Nessman
Tim Reid ... Venus Flytrap
Frank Bonner ... Herb Tarlek
Jan Smithers ... Bailey Quarters
Howard Hesseman ... Dr. Johnny Fever
Sylvia Sidney ... Lillian Carlson


Andy Travis joins the crew at WKRP in Cincinatti as Program Manager from Santa Fe and decides to shake things up. First, he changes the music format from Muzak slash Swing to Rock, Punk and Top 40. DJ Johnny Caravella morphs into Dr. Johnny Fever, to dispense the perfect prescription for his "fellow babies." Next, Andy hires night-time sensation, Dr. Venus Flytrap, from New Orleans...probably away from 870 AM. Written by LA-Lawyer

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis









Release Date:

18 September 1978 (USA) See more »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs


Sound Mix:




Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
See full technical specs »

Did You Know?


Howard Hesseman, who played DJ Johnny Fever, enjoyed working on the show but--having had some experience working in radio early in his professional career--always noted the ways it was very fictionalized. In particular, real-life DJs loved the show and would compliment Hesseman for the varied playlists Johnny Fever was able to use; Hesseman would explain to them that WKRP wasn't a real radio station and that a real-life Johnny Fever would have to play the kind of music the station management ordered. See more »


Carlson picks up his fishing rod as Andy leaves the office, but in the next shot he's grabbing at his pants by the knees as he sits down. See more »


Andy Travis: Sunshine. Haven't I heard of you?
Johnny Caravella: You're not a cop, are ya?
Andy Travis: [shakes his head] Johnny Sunshine... Johnny Sunshine! I remember, yeah! It was Los Angeles in the late 60s, Johnny Sunshine Boss Jack! You were uh, you were very hot, man.
Johnny Caravella: Yeah.
Andy Travis: Something happened there though. Station fired you for some reason.
Johnny Caravella: Well, I'll tell you something, baby. They all fire ya sooner or later.
Andy Travis: Yeah, I know, but this was something that you uh, something you did.
Johnny Caravella: Yeah, well, we all do things, right?
Andy Travis: Uh-huh. It was ...
See more »

Alternate Versions

"Queen of the Forest" by Ted Nugent (the very first rock song Johnny Fever plays on WKRP) is replaced with generic music on the 90's redistribution package and 2007 DVD release. Interestingly, though, except on the 2007 DVD release, the Nugent song is intact when the scene is repeated in two other episodes, which proves nothing except that the process of licensing music for this package was pretty haphazard. At least that's Howard Hesseman's real voice saying "booger". In the tag, the song Venus plays, "Dance, Dance, Dance" by Chic, has been replaced. (Both songs have been restored on the 2014 DVD.) See more »


Featured in WKRP in Cincinnati: The Creation of Venus (1982) See more »


(You're) Having My Baby
Written by Paul Anka
Performed by chorus
[The song Johnny plays by the Hallelujah Tabernacle Choir when Bailey is in the control booth with him]
See more »

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User Reviews

Jan, not Loni
11 September 2017 | by RavenGlamDVDCollectorSee all my reviews

I've waited a long time before starting to add WKRP IN CINCINNATI to my collection. I remember it as not only funny, but crazy and loony and daft and such like, you know, fun. But that was years ago, and memories fade, and I'm really on about actresses. And I was never really a Loni Anderson fan, I mean, not in any exceptional way like the way the media back then kicked up one helluva fuss about her. No, thinking back (donkey years) I remembered that I was more impressed with quiet, understated Jan Smithers (demure Bailey Quarters).

Problem was, doing research, everything on Wikipedia pointed to Bailey being totally mousy, and a downloaded bit illustrated this very well, and, yes, I remembered that Bailey wasn't as va- va-voom as her counterpart...

Fortunately, I took the plunge, and started out with the first two seasons. Began watching tonight. You know, I saw this stuff back in the day, and some of it even comes back to me just as it starts to unfold.

But the nicest surprise was Bailey Quarters. Yes, Jan has the smallest part, but she is the innocently charming girl as opposed to Loni Anderson's overly confident and mega- voluptuous Jennifer.

But Jennifer hasn't stood the test of time. Her hairstyle seems like a sprayed wig that looks frozen solid. And while being full of figure OBVIOUSLY appealed to galleries of salivating men, Bailey is clearly the far cuter one.

Unfortunately, Loni Anderson's Jennifer isn't even really va-va-voom, certainly not by today's standards, but not even by Eighties standards.

Which is why I was never ga-ga about her.

Okay, as for the episode itself: Travis has intentions of turning a dreary old radio station into a rock & roll beacon. Take a listen to those commercials. The clients were, well, basically one step away from being funeral homes. The new appointment threatens the old order of things. There's sleepy Dr. Johnny Fever who can't give a damn, but then there's ol' Herb Tarlek, the self-important sales manager buffoon (with his dismal preferences in leisure suits) and nerdy, no, King of the Nerds, aptly-named Les Nessman (wordplay on "less" and "newsman"), the insecure whiny little dude who fakes helicopter traffic reports by imitating rotor blades with his hands slapping his chest... aw you will have to watch yourself, you can't do this old classic justice by retelling it in mere words, these guys do magnificent character acting...

Has the show itself stood the test of time? I doubt it will win favor in the eyes of new generations. Very unlikely. But if you were a fan back then, this one is a must. Definitely.

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