NewsRadio: A Look Back

by Leonard Pierce

Watching NewsRadio today, fifteen years after its debut and eleven years after it went off the air, it can seem a little jarring. Sure, Dave Foley looks like a kid (a fact that’s frequently made light of on the show), but so does the rest of the cast; could Maura Tierney ever have been so young? And why did Phil Hartman have to go at what could have been the peak of his career? But aside from a few clunky references and some ‘90s-era technology, the show itself doesn’t seem dated; in fact, the humor is edgy, clever, and remarkably prescient. There are elements of NewsRadio—especially in its clever staging, its brilliant cast, and its willingness to play fast and loose with traditional sitcom tropes—that makes it seem like an early harbinger of the revolutionary single-camera comedies that rejuvenated the sitcom format in the last few years.

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