Air Dates: October 25, 1982–May 21, 1990
Stars: Bob Newhart, Mary Frann, Jennifer Holmes, Julia Duffy, Tom Poston, Steven Kampmann, Peter Scolari, William Sanderson
When creating his eponymous CBS sitcom Newhart, veteran comedian Bob Newhart followed the model perfected by John Cleese's British series Fawlty Towers: Have a seemingly normal married couple (in this case, played by Newhart and Mary Frann) live in and operate a hotel that regularly hosts eccentrics of all kinds. It's a dynamite method for situational madness, with recurring side characters popping in and out of any given episode.
Newhart's creative team took full advantage of the format's looseness all the way through to its daring, unforgettable series finale in 1990, which posited the show's entire eight-season run as one long dream had by Newhart's character on his original sitcom, The Bob Newhart Show (1972-1976). —MB