One in a series of evenings and special screenings presented as part of The Museum of Television & Radio's William S. Paley Television Festival in Los Angeles. Held this year at the Directors Guild of America Theatre Complex, the festival celebrates the excellence and diversity of American television and is dedicated to television's creative community. This evening honors "NewsRadio," the hit situation comedy about the eccentric employees of an all-news AM-radio station in New York City.

Los Angeles Museum vice president and director Steven A. Bell opens the evening with brief comments about the Museum and the festival and then introduces series creator and executive producer Paul Simms. A shy Simms exclaims that he became a writer in order to avoid having to say funny things himself, instead putting them in the mouths of others, and he quickly introduces the two episodes of the series that will be shown: "Daydream," from the third season, and "Apartment," from the fifth season. (For synopses and credits, see T:55398 and B:55393 respectively.)

After the episodes run, Bell welcomes the following members of the creative team of "NewsRadio" to the stage: Simms; co-executive producer/writer Joe Furey; director Tom Cherones; co-executive producer/writer Josh Leib; and cast members Joe Rogan (Joe Garrelli), Vicki Lewis (Beth), Jon Lovitz (Max Lewis), Stephen Root (Jimmy James), Andy Dick (Matthew Brock), Maura Tierney (Lisa Miller), and Dave Foley (Dave Nelson).

Bell opens the seminar by asking Simms why he decided to create a situation comedy set in a workplace. Simms explains that he wanted to write a pilot that would stand out from all of the "Seinfeld" knock-offs circulating at the time -- and that no one else was pitching a workplace comedy. Nevertheless, Simms concedes, there is very little focus on work itself on "NewsRadio." "The work is the least interesting part of any job," he declares. Bell then asks Simms to discuss the way in which he went about casting the program. Simms explains that he always wanted Andy Dick, Phil Hartman, and Dave Foley and that the rest of the parts were cast through auditions. Furey interrupts to remind Simms that the part eventually played by Joe Rogan was originally given to a then unknown stand-up comic whom the producers eventually fired over creative differences: Ray Romano, who went on to star in "Everybody Loves Raymond." Simms and Rogan then discuss the improvisation-friendly, laid-back atmosphere of the set; Simms says he became comfortable with that sort of environment while working at "The Larry Sanders Show." Cherones talks about what he calls being a "traffic cop" to the wild cast, and Leib explains the way in which the show avoids typical "writer's room" group meetings. When Bell asks Lewis and Tierney to comment on the role of women in the "NewsRadio" universe, Dick jumps in and launches into a light-hearted profanity-laden dialogue with Lovitz that prompts the latter to shout out, "What kind of museum is this?!"

Bell then opens the floor to questions, and audience members ask about the secret to the cast's camaraderie ("It's my weekly prayer meeting," Foley states), as well as about Dick's attendance of a recent Marilyn Manson concert. (When the question about the infamous shock-rocker eventually turns profane, Lovitz again jumps in. "Did William S. Paley ever picture that question when he started this festival?," he laughs). As the seminar concludes, the cast members reflect on their late colleague, Phil Hartman, who played Bill McNeal until his untimely 1998 death.


  • DATE: March 15, 1999 7:00 PM
  • RUNNING TIME: 1:47:52
  • COLOR/B&W: Color
  • CATALOG ID: T:93593
  • GENRE: Seminars


  • Steven A. Bell … Moderator
  • Tom Cherones … Panelist
  • Andy Dick … Panelist
  • Dave Foley … Panelist
  • Joe Furey … Panelist
  • Josh Leib … Panelist
  • Vicki Lewis … Panelist
  • Jon Lovitz … Panelist
  • Joe Rogan … Panelist
  • Stephen Root … Panelist
  • Paul Simms … Panelist
  • Maura Tierney … Panelist
  • Phil Hartman
  • Marilyn Manson
  • Ray Romano