A favorite of mine finally made it to DVD last week… Newsradio. The “Arrested Development” of its day, NewsRadio deserved from NBC the nurturing hands FOX gives “Arrested.”
What I admire the most about NewsRadio was that creator Paul Simms was exploring similar territory to “The Office”... trying to mine comedy from the workplace and real workplace issues. This focus probably came from Simms working on Larry Sanders, with it’s breakthrough focus on backstage showbiz (and sadly, repeated ad infinitum today - please stop navel gazing Hollywood).
NewsRadio was obviously a lot broader and bigger than
The Office, but it was very innovative in dealing with office politics, romances and relationships beyond the usual sitcom metaphor of coworkers as family. Concerns about downsizing, jockeying for titles and assignments and NSFW materials left in common areas were all were seeds for NewsRadio plots. For once, it felt like creators of a TV show had real jobs prior to becoming writers. (For a borderline obsessive/sweet homage to the show, check out Newsradio and the Comedic Art, which has nothing but superlatives for the show.)
In recent years, I’ve seen Simms work only occasionally in the New Yorker’s Shout and Murmurs page but not much on TV. Anyone who called NBC’s 90s-era Thursday Night Friends-Disposable Show-Seinfeld lineup a “shit sandwich” might have a hard time finding a network to love him, but Simms is a fantastic talent and if he’s still making pilots, someone should commit to a series and give him the kushy timespot denied him for so long.