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Bob aired from September 1992 until December 1993 on CBS.
Comedian Bob Newhart had starred in 2 highly successful ensemble comedies for CBS, The Bob Newhart Show ( 1972-1978), and Newhart ( 1982-1990)-then came Bob. With his track record critics thought he was destined for another long run, but viewers never warmed up to this show as they had with his earlier series. Part of the problem may have been the changed nature of his character. In previous incanations Bob's character had always been lovable and understanding of the foibles of others. In Bob he had a temper, railed about the shortcomings and faults of his co-workers and friends, and even threatened to microwave Otto, the family cat. This was not the same " Mr. Nice Guy" that viewers had loved for more than 20 years.
Bob McKay ( Newhart) had been working as an artist for the Chicago based Schmidt Greeting Card Company for 20 years when he thought his dream had come true. In his younger days he had created a canine comic-book character called " Mad- Dog" that had lasted for only 12 issues, and now ACE Comics wanted to revive the character. What Bob didn't realize was that Harlan ( ( John Cygan), the obnoxious, manipulative senior story editor at ACE, had taken Bob's decent superhero, and turned Mad Dog into a bloodthirsty vigilante. The President of ACE Mr. Terhorst ( Michael Cumpsty),who only communicated by phone decided that if the 2 worked together they could create a truly great comic-book hero. Theirs was an uneasy alliance, with constant bickering about the way Mad-Dog stories should go. Other eccentrics at ACE were Trisha ( Cynthia Stevenson), Bob's flaky daughter, who colored the comic frames; Albie ( Andrew Bilgore), the klutzy gofer with a crush on Trisha; Chad ( Timothy fall), the spaced-out cartoon inker; and Iris ( Ruth Kobart), the crotchety old-timer who had seen it all. Kaye ( Carlene Watkins), was Bob's sensible wife of 25 years, and Shayla ( Christine Dunford) was Harlan's bimbo girlfriend.
In the last episode of the 1992-1993 seaason, the conglomerate that owned ACE Comics sold out to a millionaire who hated comic books and the entire Mad-Dog staff, including Bob was fired. When the series returned that fall Sylvia Schmitt ( Betty White), the wife of his former boss offered Bob the Presidency of Schmitt Greetings to replace her husband who had run off with his dental hygienist. Sylvia's obnoxious son Pete ( Jerre Burns), the sales vp who had expected to take over the company and now had to work for Bob was irate. Others at Schmitt were Chris ( Megan Cavanaugh), the sarcastic bookkeeper, and Whitey( Eric allen Kramer ), a huge dumb guy from the production area who adored Bob. The changes in the cast and a soffening of Bob Newhart's character didn't help. Only 5 episodes of the " new" Bob aired before it was canceled.
A Review From The New York Times
September 18, 1992
TV Weekend; Bob Newhart as Bob Newhart, but With an Edge
By JOHN J. O'CONNOR
Bob Newhart's marathon run on CBS began in the 1970's with "The Bob Newhart Show." He played Dr. Bob Hartley, a Chicago psychologist. Then for most of the 1980's, in "Newhart," he was Dick Loudon, a Vermont innkeeper. Now, beginning tonight at 8:30, there's "Bob" and he turns up as Bob McKay, a Chicago comic-book artist. Mr. Newhart jokes that his next series will probably be titled just plain "B." No need to worry about that right now. This new series should keep him busy for much of this decade.
Created by Cheri Steinkellner, Bill Steinkellner and Phoef Sutton, formerly executive producers for "Cheers," "Bob" promises to put the familiar button-down Newhart persona on more of what television folk like to call a cutting edge. At one point tonight, he even gets to blurt, "Go to hell!" But there are obvious limits to tinkering with a comedy institution. Among the best bits in the show is a telephone routine, which except for the addition of call waiting could have been recorded in Mr. Newhart's first comedy album, in 1959.
The new situation devised for Mr. Newhart is cleverly rooted in up-to-the-minute pop culture. Years ago, Bob McKay created a comic-book hero called "Mad Dog," a mild-mannered veterinarian accidentally injected with the adrenaline of a Doberman pinscher in, Bob says, "an experiment gone awry." When Ace Comics Books suggests that "Mad-Dog" be revived, Bob wastes no time quitting his job drawing greeting cards.
But his new, younger partner at Ace turns out to be Harlan Stone (John Cygan), who immediately informs Bob that "underneath that soft, doughy exterior, you're an angry person." Viewing the 20th century as "a long, slow descent into hell," Harlan wants the new Mad Dog to be a tortured, maniacal vigilante. His teen-age sidekick, Buddy, must go, Harlan says, to avoid the distraction of homoerotic desires. "He never had any homoerotic desires," a stunned Bob says, "and if he did, he kept them to himself."
At home, Bob has a loving wife (Carlene Watkins) who spends her time working at a museum and making sure he gets a proper breakfast of scrambled-eggs substitute and soy linkies. His grown daughter (Cynthia Stevenson), who apparently has no intention of leaving home, is surprised to find, when Mad Dog re-emerges, that Dad used to be interesting. And at the Ace offices, there is an amiable collection of eccentrics, including one artist who likes to paint leeches on photos of such celebrities as Elizabeth Taylor. "It all sounds," says Bob, groping for the mot juste, "so simple." Don't believe it for a second.
The scene has been shrewdly set for Mr. Newhart to deadpan his way, inimitably, through a sitcom universe of inspired lunacies. I, for one, can't wait.
A Review From Entertainment Weekly
Reviewed by Ken Tucker
In a new fall TV schedule that seems chockablock with shows designed to showcase the antics of callow young actors with hot bods, what a relief it is to see the rumpled cardigan sweaters and deadpan middle-aged face of Bob Newhart once more. The veteran comedian's new situation comedy, Bob (CBS, Sept. 18, 9:30-10 p.m.), is a comforting paradox: It's refreshingly familiar. The Bob in Bob is a lot like the Newhart of Newhart and the Bob Newhart of The Bob Newhart Show-a quiet, decent man with a mild nutty streak, surrounded by aggressive crazies. Newhart now plays Bob McKay, an artist and cartoonist who, years ago, created a short-lived superhero comic book called Mad Dog. The comic was a flop-canceled after only 12 issues-and since then McKay has worked with increasing unhappiness in advertising. In the debut episode of Bob, McKay gets a call from a comic-book company that wants to team him with its hot young artist Harlan Stone (John Cygan) and launch a new, revived Mad Dog for the '90s. All of this sounds great to McKay and his wife Kaye (Carlene Watkins)-that is, until McKay meets Stone, a loud egomaniac who cheerfully describes himself as ''insensitive'' and ''a bully.'' One of the new breed of comic-book laborers, Stone pretentiously prefers to be called a ''graphic artist'' and is determined to bring livid realism to McKay's creation. ''You were constricted by your times!'' Stone bellows to McKay. ''Now we can unleash the beast and reveal the true Mad Dog-a tortured, maniacal vigilante!'' As you can imagine, Bob is not at all pleased by Stone's revisionist notions for his puppy-dog-like hero. In fact, it's McKay's feisty pride in Mad Dog that makes this latest version of our beloved Bob slightly different from the earlier ones. Throughout his career, Newhart has always presented himself as a calm, reasonable fellow, whether he was a stand-up comedian with a button-down mind, a pursed-lipped psychiatrist, or a bemused inn-keeper. As Bob McKay, however, New-hart gets to play a character who lets loose with a little petulant artistic temperament once in a while, and it's fun to watch him throw a fit. There's another detail that distinguishes Bob from all other Bobs. In neither of Newhart's two previous hits did he have children; here, he has a doozy: intense, neurotic, but likable Trisha, a grown-up daughter played by Cynthia Stevenson. You might recognize Stevenson as Tim Robbins' girlfriend in The Player, and she was the star of the underrated, little-seen 1990 syndicated flop My Talk Show. In the Bob pilot, the wry, resourceful Stevenson steals her main scene, a slapsticky moment in which she asks Newhart to pinch her eyeball until her itchy contact lens pops out. There's no way Stevenson's Trisha won't become a key comic element in this series. This show was cooked up by three Cheers veterans-Bob executive producers Cheri Eichen Steinkellner, Bill Steinkellner, and Phoef Sutton-and it's an extremely clever one. Putting Newhart in the world of comics gives him an interesting, novel workplace situation; how nice it is to see a sitcom that's not set in the worlds of television or show biz. The Bob premise taps into the real-life revitalization of comic books that has taken place over the past decade, as companies like DC and Marvel Comics have attracted broader audiences with new, supposedly more mature versions of old superheroes. In fact, the producers have dropped in lots of sly allusions for comics- wise viewers. The character of Harlan Stone, for example, seems like a loose cross between cartoonist Frank Miller (who a few years ago did for Batman what Stone wants to do for Mad Dog-darkening and toughening up the character) and Harlan Ellison, the science-fiction writer who occasionally writes comics scripts. And the few drawings we've seen of Mad Dog himself are crafted in the unmistakable style of Jack Kirby, the cartoonist who defined actual comics legends like Captain America and the Silver Surfer. But you don't have to pick up such references to enjoy Bob. The show gives us just about everything we want from Newhart, including a fresh variation on those halting, one-sided phone conversations he has been engaging in for more than three decades. Watch for it: This new Bob encounters the phone phenomenon we dread most in the '90s: call-waiting. A-
An Article from The New York Times
TELEVISION; Bringing Out the Beast in Bob Newhart
By ANDY MEISLER;
Published: October 11, 1992
From time to time, says the actor and comedian Bob Newhart, he has consulted a psychotherapist to work out his personal problems. Most of these encounters have been productive, he adds, but several years ago, eager to overcome a fear of flying, he visited a Beverly Hills psychiatrist with what can only be described as mixed results.
"He was on Roxbury Drive," says Mr. Newhart. "I parked inside his building, and at the end of the first session I pulled out my parking ticket. I said, 'Do you validate?' And he said, 'Well, what do you mean by that?'
"I said, 'Do you validate parking?' And he said, 'Well, do you think I should validate?'
"I told him that, uh, it wasn't really a decision I felt qualified to make. He asked me, 'Do other doctors validate?' I said I guess they don't. 'Well, then, why do you think I should validate?' Then I realized he felt threatened. He was very uptight, very insecure.
"That guy," says Mr. Newhart, with his trademark mixture of amazement, embarrassment and pure comic relish, "had an even worse problem than I did."
To hear Mr. Newhart tell this story (which he swears is neither exaggerated nor apocryphal), over a plate of shrimp and chips at the second-best table in the Paramount Studios commissary (the best table, he says, is reserved for "anybody from 'Cheers' "), is to understand many of the comedic principles behind "Bob," Mr. Newhart's newest series. In its first three weeks, the show, on CBS Fridays at 9:30 P.M., has received good ratings and generally laudatory reviews. Writing in The New York Times, John J. O'Connor called it "a sitcom universe of inspired lunacy" and predicted that the project will keep Mr. Newhart busy "for much of the decade."
But will "Bob" become the hit that everyone involved is hoping for, now that the star's comic persona has been tampered with, even given an edge?
That Mr. Newhart, at the age of 63, is around at all to lampoon the New Age is a phenomenon worthy of analysis. Most of his comedy contemporaries, like Mort Sahl, Don Rickles and Jonathan Winters, are no longer deemed popular enough to star in their own television series. You can count on the fingers of one hand the television performers who have successfully starred in three network series (Lucille Ball, Jackie Gleason and, perhaps, Michael Landon), yet Mr. Newhart's popularity has not flagged. Indeed, his appeal, the very apotheosis of unhipness, seems to defy most accepted principles of show-biz demographics.
But this time the formula is different; this guy isn't as relentlessly normal as his predecessors. In "Bob," Mr. Newhart plays an artist named Bob McKay, unhappily working for a greeting-card company, who is informed that a multinational publishing conglomerate wants to revive Mad Dog, a comic-book superhero he had created in his youth.
That's the good news; the bad news is that his new co-workers (especially Mad Dog's head writer, an absurdly ruthless, "sensitive" autocrat named Harlan Stone) want to turn Mad Dog, mankind's best friend (actually mild-mannered veterinarian Jeffrey Austin, accidentally injected with the adrenal glands of a Doberman pinscher), into a brooding neo-Batman-type antihero. Both excited and appalled, McKay resumes his old career, battling both the (two-dimensional) forces of evil and Stone's faux Tim Burton-ish excesses.
McKay is closer to the real Mr. Newhart, the actor acknowledges, than were those he played in the past. In "The Bob Newhart Show" (1972-78) and "Newhart" (1982-90), his two previous hit CBS series, he portrayed men who were almost completely reactive: islands of nervous, nearly obsessive normalcy in the middle of a sea of raging eccentricity. In "Bob," however, he is often as eccentric as his supporting players. Living among a group of wacky fellow artists and family members only too willing to "open up" to him about their bizarre problems, McKay daydreams of life on distant planets, suspects his poker buddies of trying to steal his wife and even shocks his compatriots (and longtime fans) by losing his temper from time to time. On the series pilot, he actually told his would-be collaborator to "go to hell."
Mr. Newhart says he wanted to play a character different from Dr. Robert Hartley of "The Bob Newhart Show" ("He was a psychologist. So no matter what his crazy patient Mr. Carlin said to him, he had to say, 'Go with that, Mr. Carlin.' ") and the Vermont innkeeper Dick Loudon of "Newhart" ("Well, the guests at the hotel to me represented the patients in the therapy group. No matter how outlandish they acted, you had to go along with them.").
Says Mr. Newhart of the character he may be living with for the rest of the 20th century: "He's probably more flawed than the other two people I've played. He can get angry. He can get petty. He can get very human."
Bill Steinkellner, one of the three former "Cheers" writer-producers hired by Mr. Newhart, says: "Sure, he'll always react humorously to what is going on, but it's a much stronger reaction. And he's much more involved. These aren't problems that he can just sort of watch, and get out of the way of. He's really caught in them. He has to struggle to get out." (For example, McKay may be struggling for some time to save the life of Mad Dog's sidekick, Buddy.)
Cheri Steinkellner, Mr. Steinkellner's wife and writing partner, says: "In the other shows, Bob was watching the parade of crazies. Here he's sort of leading the parade."
It doesn't take a psychiatric session on Roxbury Drive to see that Mad Dog, in both his old and new incarnations, represents Mr. Newhart's darker and wilder aspects, those not often seen on his old shows. Is he versatile enough to portray them?
"Bob's humor has always had an edge to it," says the comedian David Steinberg, a longtime friend. "He's familiar with the dark side."
He is referring primarily, he says, to Mr. Newhart's stand-up comedy. In the late 1950's, Mr. Newhart, an accountant by training, sprang to stardom on the strength of several best-selling comedy albums. Sneakily subversive, they included now-classic routines in which he portrays some rather desperate characters: a beleaguered driving instructor ("You were going 75? In your driveway?"), Abraham Lincoln's media adviser at Gettysburg ("Listen, Abe. Do the speech the way Charlie wrote it, O.K.?") and good old Charlie Bedloe, speaking at his retirement party after 50 years with the same firm ("I don't suppose it has ever occurred to you that I had to get half gassed every morning to make it down here to my crummy job") trying hilariously to deal with the irrationalities of daily life.
Mr. Steinberg, who directed several episodes of Mr. Newhart's second long-running series, sees the actor's Everyman persona and relatively straightforward humor as the secret to his appeal. "The amazing thing," he says, "is that everyone, no matter who they are, gets Bob's jokes in exactly the same way." His stand-up routines seem equally popular with the adult audiences in Las Vegas casinos as with younger crowds on college campuses, where he still performs when not filming his series.
"Our research indicates that he has a very strong male audience and a very young audience," says Jeff Sagansky, the president of CBS Entertainment, who was a college student when Mr. Newhart's first hit series went on the air. "To be honest," he adds, "we're happy to get anything he wanted to do."
The only reason Mr. Newhart's last series isn't still running is that the star himself wanted out. In 1990, temporarily tired of the sitcom grind and somewhat peeved by the fact that CBS was continually changing his time slot to shore up various portions of its prime-time schedule, Mr. Newhart, in effect, canceled himself.
"But I always knew I was coming back," he says, "because I enjoy the process. I enjoy being at home, and I enjoy the challenge and the risk." Now Carlene Watkins has succeeded Suzanne Pleshette and Mary Frann as Mr. Newhart's current television wife. John Cygan, a newcomer, plays Harlan Stone. And Cynthia Stevenson, who appeared as Tim Robbins's story editor in the film "The Player," has the distinction of portraying Mr. Newhart's first television offspring, an adult daughter who still lives at home and shows clear-cut symptoms of neurosis.
In a recent episode, Ms. Stevenson's character, Trisha, reacts with horror upon learning that her father has used a romantic crisis of hers (she has seen her boyfriend sharing a meatball sandwich with another woman) as a comic-book plot device (Mad Dog sees his girlfriend Penny sharing a sandwich with another superhero). Later, the daughter learns that the other woman is not a romantic rival. "She's a lesbian!" Trisha exclaims happily as she breezes through the living room. Bob McKay turns to his wife, Kay. "They grow up so fast, don't they?" he says.
Meanwhile, Mr. Newhart has his fear of flying under control. On the other hand, when he's on a plane he has trouble coping with the fact that his old albums are often being piped through his fellow passengers' headphones.
"I look around and try to guess which ones are listening to me," says Mr. Newhart. "And if so, why aren't they laughing?"
An Article from USA TODAY
Published on April 12, 1993
'Bob' creators get laughs out of life
By Jefferson Graham
HOLLYWOOD-Cheri and Bill Steinkellner met Phoef Sutton at the Cheers bar and became a team.
Eventually they left the Cheers gang to create Bob for CBS. The sitcom is set in a comic book office and stars Bob Newhart as Bob McKay, creator of superhero Mad Dog.
A critical favorite, Bob languished with low ratings on Friday. Tonight , Bob moves to Mondays at 8:30 ET/PT.
" We're thrilled," Cheri says. " We always felt the show belonged on Mondays. Bob ( whose Newhart ran for eight years) was a Monday fixture."
The new episodes lead up to the season-ending cliffhanger: The comic book company is sold to a corporate raider. Will the gamg survive? Whatever transpires, you can bet it'll be funny.
The Steinkellners and Sutton started as writers on Cheers, penning some of the series' most memorable episodes-the Thanksgiving food fight show where Diane ( Shelley Long) dressed as a pilgrim and the Lillith-Frasier double date with Sam and Diane when Lillith learns of Frasier's past with Diane.
The trio became executive producers during the Kirstie Alley era.
On Bob, they wrote 18 of 25 episodes this season.But they don't sit at a typewriter or computer, or put pen to paper.
Bill and Cheri, who met as members of an improv group ,and Sutton , 34, a former actor, write out loud by playing the characters, and have assistants write down their words.
" Comedy is a verbal medium," says Cheri, 37. " Actors read lines . It makes more sense to write verbally, to hear how the lines sound and get immediate feedback."
Unlike the clitche of the hotshot Hollywood producer with a cellular phone glued to one ear, the Steinkellners and Sutton are parents who hang their childrens' art on their walls and try to be home for family dinners.
Tonight's Bob spotlights daughter Trishia ( Cynthia Stevenson) frantically trying to give Bob and wife Kaye the wedding they always wanted as their 25th anniversary approaches.
" We try to take every difficult thing in our life and turn it into a funny episode," says Bill, 44. His brother was married at dawn, and has been complaining about it ever since.
Here is John Cygan's Obituary from The Hollywood Reporter
John Cygan, Actor on 'The Commish,' Dies at 63
1:56 PM PDT 5/15/2017 by Mike Barnes
He also was a prolific voice artist who could be heard in 'Cars,' 'Toy Story 3' and many video games.
John Cygan, who played Lt. Paulie Pentangeli on the 1990s ABC series The Commish and then provided his voice for dozens of films and video games, has died. He was 63.
Cygan died Saturday at his home in Woodland Hills after a long battle with cancer, Jonn Wasser of the Atlas Talent Agency told The Hollywood Reporter.
Cygan also starred opposite Bob Newhart — both played comic book artists at a Chicago-based company — on the short-lived sitcom Bob, which ran from 1992-93 on CBS.
Cygan appeared on 35 episodes of The Commish as Pentangeli, who worked for police commissioner Tony Scali (Michael Chiklis) in upstate New York. His character shot an unarmed suspect at the start of the show's second season and was fired, only to return in season four.
On Twitter, Chiklis called Cygan "one of my closest friends in the world. You are loved, adored and horribly missed, Johnny. I know this … heaven just got a lot funnier."
A native of New York, Cygan also appeared on episodes of Frasier, Diagnosis Murder, Becker, The X-Files, NYPD Blue, Judging Amy, The Shield (another Chiklis starrer) and Modern Family.
Cygan voiced characters in the Pixar films Cars (2006), WALL-E (2008), Up (2009), Toy Story 3 (2010), Monsters University (2013) and Inside Out (2015), and could also be heard in Ice Age: The Meltdown (2006), Horton Hears a Who! (2008), The Lorax (2012) and Despicable Me 2 (2013).
Cygan was the voice of Solidus Snake on two installments of Metal Gear Solid 2 and worked on video games in the Star Wars, Halo, Medal of Honor, Lord of the Rings and Grand Theft Auto franchises as well.
Survivors include his wife Cathy and children Annie and Jack.
To watch an episode of Bob go to https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZyZbBwnRMf8
For more on Bob go to http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bob_(TV_series)
For a Website dedicated to Bob Newhart go to https://web.archive.org/web/20060626035609/http://www.bobnewhart.com/televisionLG.cfm?ttlabbrv=bob
For more on Bob go to http://gdtvd.tripod.com/bob.html
For some Bob-related interview videos at the Archive of American Television go to https://interviews.televisionacademy.com/shows/bob
For a Review of Bob go to https://web.archive.org/web/20080801164213/http://www.televisionheaven.co.uk/newhart3.htm
To watch the opening credits go to https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=auVnz4AjS_c
� Date: Mon July 3, 2006 � Filesize: 40.7kb � Dimensions: 410 x 333 �
Keywords: Bob: (1992-1993) Cast Photo (Links Updated 7/24/18)