WKRP In Cincinnati premiered on CBS on September 18, 1978 and ran for four seasons with 90 total episodes. The show’s last episode was April 21, 1982. WKRP in Cincinnati debuted in 1978 in CBS’s Monday 8 p.m. timeslot, competing against ABC’s Welcome Back, Kotter and NBC’s top-20 show Little House on the Prairie.

The cast of characters included Gary Sandy (Andy Travis), Howard Hesseman (Dr. Johnny Fever), Gordon Jump (Arthur Carlson), Loni Anderson (Jennifer Marlowe), Tim Reid (Venus Flytrap), Jan Smithers (Bailey Quarters), Richard Sanders (Les Nessman) and Frank Bonner (Herb Tarlek). The show would go on to 10 Emmy Award nominations while winning one in the third season.

At first, the show didn’t do too well in the ratings. In fact, the network put the show on hold after the first 8 episodes. It took the fans and good reviews to snap CBS out of it and bring the show back.

WKRP was given a new timeslot, one of the best on the network, following M*A*S*H. But, network execs just can’t help themselves, you can put them in a room with nothing in it and they’d still find something to screw up. Partway through the second season, the show was moved back to its original earlier time. Starting with the second season, CBS would constantly shift the show’s day and time around. With those genius moves, the show lost nearly 2.5 million viewers on average for each of four timeslot changes in the 1979–80 season. After the network completely destroyed the show, at the end of the fourth season, the network declined to renew the show.

Once the show’s reruns made it to ‘syndication’, it became so wildly popular that there was a spin-off series called The New WKRP in Cincinnati, which ran from 1991 to 1993.

Let’s go back to 1978 for this show’s pilot episode.

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Source: Sal Amato
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