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The Bob Newhart Show

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Country of origin
United States

First episode date
16 September 1972

Theme song
Home to My Emily


Opening theme
"Home to Emily"

Original language(s)

Final episode date
1 April 1978

The Bob Newhart Show wwwgstaticcomtvthumbtvbanners184178p184178

Created by
David DavisLorenzo Music

Bob NewhartSuzanne PleshetteMarcia WallacePeter BonerzBill Daily

Theme music composer
Lorenzo MusicHenrietta Music


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The Bob Newhart Show is an American sitcom produced by MTM Enterprises that aired on CBS from September 16, 1972, to April 1, 1978, with a total of 142 half-hour episodes spanning over six seasons. Comedian Bob Newhart portrays a psychologist having to deal with his patients and fellow office workers. The show was filmed before a live audience.


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The show centers on Robert Hartley, Ph.D. (Newhart), a Chicago psychologist. It divides most of its action between the character's work and his home life, with Hartley's supportive, although occasionally sarcastic, wife Emily (Suzanne Pleshette), and their friendly but inept neighbor, airline navigator Howard Borden (Bill Daily). At the medical office where Hartley had his psychology practice are Jerry Robinson, D.D.S. (Peter Bonerz), an orthodontist who also has a practice on the floor, and their receptionist, Carol Kester (Marcia Wallace), as well as a number of other doctors who appear occasionally.

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Hartley's three most frequently seen regular patients are the cynical and neurotic Elliot Carlin (Jack Riley), the milquetoast Marine veteran Emile Peterson (John Fiedler), and shy, reserved Lillian Bakerman (Florida Friebus), an elderly lady who spends most of her sessions knitting. Carlin was ranked 49th in TV Guide's List of the 50 Greatest TV Characters of All Time, and Riley reprised the character in guest appearances on both St. Elsewhere and Newhart.

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Most of the situations involve Newhart's character playing straight man to his wife, colleagues, friends, and patients. A frequent running gag on the show is an extension of Newhart's stand-up comedy routines, where Newhart played one side of a telephone conversation, the other side of which is not heard. In a nod to this, for the first two seasons, the episodes opened with Bob answering the telephone by saying "Hello?". Emily routinely acts as straight woman to slow-witted Howard, and on occasion to Bob.


The Bob Newhart Show The Bob Newhart Show Series TV Tropes

  • Bob Newhart as Dr. Robert Hartley, psychologist
  • Suzanne Pleshette as Emily (nee Harrison) Hartley, his wife, a school teacher and later assistant principal
  • Bill Daily as Howard Borden, their next-door neighbor, an airline navigator and later co-captain
  • Peter Bonerz as Dr. Jerry Robinson, Bob's friend, an orthodontist
  • Marcia Wallace as Carol Kester, their receptionist
  • Bob's patients

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  • Jack Riley as Elliot F. Carlin
  • Florida Friebus as Mrs. Lillian Bakerman
  • Renée Lippin as Michelle Nardo
  • John Fiedler as Emile Peterson
  • Oliver Clark as Ed Herd
  • Noam Pitlik as Victor Gianelli
  • Daniel J. Travanti as Victor Gianelli
  • Howard Hesseman as Craig Plager
  • Lucien Scott as Edgar T. Vickers
  • Merie Earle as Mrs. Loomis
  • Rhoda Gemignani as Joan Rossi
  • Michael Conrad as Mr. Trevesco
  • Henry Winkler as Miles Lascoe
  • Bob and Emily's relatives

  • Pat Finley as Ellen Hartley, Bob's sister
  • Martha Scott as Martha Hartley, Bob's mother
  • Barnard Hughes as Herb Hartley, Bob's father
  • John Randolph as Cornelius "Junior" Harrison, Jr., Emily's father
  • Ann Rutherford as Aggie Harrison, Emily's mother
  • Neighbors, friends and others

  • Patricia Smith as Margaret Hoover, Emily's friend
  • Tom Poston as Cliff "The Peeper" Murdock, Bob's college friend from Vermont
  • Moosie Drier as Howie Borden, Howard's son
  • Will Mackenzie as Larry Bondurant, Carol's boyfriend and later husband
  • Richard Schaal as Don Livingston (later Don Fesler), boyfriend/short-lived fiance of Carol's; in the 1st season played Chuck Brock, husband of Nancy, who was briefly engaged to Bob
  • Mariette Hartley as Marilyn Dietz, downstairs neighbor and friend of Emily's
  • Gail Strickland as Courtney Simpson, a girlfriend of Jerry's
  • Raúl Juliá as Dr. Greg Robinson, Jerry's brother
  • Heather Menzies as Debbie Borden, Howard's younger sister
  • William Redfield as Howard's brother, Gordon Borden, the game warden; the actor also appeared in the pilot episode as Margaret's husband Arthur Hoover
  • Rimpau Medical Arts Center

  • Larry Gelman as Dr. Bernie Tupperman, urologist
  • Howard Platt as Dr. Phil Newman, cosmetic surgeon
  • Shirley O'Hara as Debbie Flett, elderly, scatterbrained temp receptionist who constantly calls Bob "Dr. Ryan"
  • Gene Blakely as Dr. Ralph Tetzi, Ear/Nose/Throat specialist
  • Julie Payne as Dr. Sharon Rudell, who prefers "scream therapy" as a therapeutic device whenever she feels stressed
  • Tom Lacy as Dr. Stan Whelan
  • Paula Shaw as Dr. Tammy Ziegler
  • Ellen Weston as Dr. Sarah Harris
  • Kristina Holland as Gail Bronson, Carol's vacation replacement
  • Phillip R. Allen as Dr. Frank Walburn, another psychologist
  • Teri Garr as Miss Brennan, Dr. Walburn's receptionist
  • Episodes

    The first four seasons of The Bob Newhart Show aired on Saturday nights at 9:30 p.m. Eastern Standard Time. During the winter of the 1976–77 season, the program moved to 8:30 p.m. EST. For its final season during 1977–78, the program moved to 8:00 p.m. EST.

    The program typically aired following The Mary Tyler Moore Show, which was also produced by MTM Enterprises.

    Awards and honors

    In 1977, the show received two Emmy nominations – for "Outstanding Comedy Series" and for Pleshette for "Outstanding Continued Performance by an Actress in a Comedy Series". Newhart was nominated for Golden Globes as "Best TV Actor—Musical/Comedy" in 1975 and 1976. In 1997, the episodes "Over the River and Through the Woods" and "Death Be My Destiny" were respectively ranked No. 9 and No. 50 on TV Guide's 100 Greatest Episodes of All Time. TV Guide's 50 Greatest TV Shows of All Time listed it as No. 44. In 2007, Time magazine placed the show on its unranked list of "100 Best TV Shows of All-TIME". Bravo ranked Bob Hartley 84th on their list of the 100 greatest TV characters.

    In 2004, TV Land commemorated the show with a statue of Newhart in character as Dr. Hartley, seated and facing an empty couch, as if conducting a therapy session in his office. The statue was temporarily installed in front of 430 North Michigan Avenue, the building used for exterior establishing shots of Hartley's office. The statue is now permanently located in the sculpture park in front of Chicago's Navy Pier entertainment complex. In 2005, the TV Land Awards honored The Bob Newhart Show with its Icon Award, presented by Ray Romano.

    In 2013, TV Guide ranked the series #49 on its list of the 60 Best Series of All Time.

    Final episode

    In the show's final episode, "Happy Trails to You," Bob gives up his psychology practice and accepts a teaching position at a small college in Oregon, with the Hartleys leaving Chicago, as well as their friends and neighbors, and Bob's patients, behind them. The closing scene, in which the cast exchange tearful goodbyes and embrace before bursting into an impromptu refrain of "Oklahoma," is a wry nod to the Mary Tyler Moore Show finale (also produced by MTM) from the previous year.

    Later appearances by series characters

    St. Elsewhere (1985)

    Jack Riley reprised his Elliot Carlin role on a 1985 episode of St. Elsewhere and partnered with Oliver Clark as the amnesiac John Doe Number Six. Carlin and Doe have been committed to the hospital's mental ward, where Carlin treats Doe with the same verbal abuse he directed toward Clark's "Mr. Herd" on The Bob Newhart Show. Carlin blames his insanity on an unnamed "quack in Chicago." While Oliver Clark's recurring portrayal of John Doe Number Six is essentially identical to Mr. Herd, the two are never stated to be the same individual. In a nod to the Mary Tyler Moore Show, John Doe Number Six addresses a character played by Betty White as Sue Ann Nivens, which Betty White's character denied.

    ALF (1987)

    In the episode "Going Out of My Head Over You", Willie visits a psychologist, Dr. Lawrence "Larry" Dykstra, portrayed by Bill Daily. Jack Riley is in the waiting room, apparently portraying Elliot Carlin. Also in this episode, ALF mentions learning about psychology by watching episodes of The Bob Newhart Show.

    Newhart (1988 and 1990)

    Riley appears in a 1988 episode of Newhart, playing an unnamed character who acts very much like Mr. Carlin. This character is being treated by the same therapist in Vermont whom Dick Loudon (Bob Newhart) visits for marriage therapy. Dick feels he recognizes Riley's character, but cannot place his face; whereupon the unnamed patient insults him. Echoing Carlin's statement from the 1985 St. Elsewhere, the therapist apologizes for his patient, explaining that it has taken her "years to undo the damage caused by some quack in Chicago."

    Later, Bob Newhart and Suzanne Pleshette reprised their roles from the show for the 1990 finale of Newhart, in which it was revealed that the entire Newhart series had been just Bob Hartley's dream. Bob and Emily are shown in a room appearing to be identical to their Chicago apartment bedroom from The Bob Newhart Show.

    The Bob Newhart Show 19th Anniversary (1991)

    The entire cast assembled for the one-hour clip show The Bob Newhart Show 19th Anniversary in 1991, which finds the show's characters in the present day. This show is set in Chicago, in the same apartment and office that Bob Hartley had in his 1970s show. During the course of the show, the characters analyzed Bob's dream from the Newhart finale. At one point Howard recalled, "I had a dream like that once. I dreamed I was an astronaut in Florida for five years," as scenes from I Dream of Jeannie featuring Bill Daily as Roger Healey were shown.

    Murphy Brown (1994)

    Newhart played Bob Hartley on Murphy Brown, in the episode "Anything But Cured" (March 14, 1994) to beg Carol (Marcia Wallace reprising her role from The Bob Newhart Show) to leave her job as Murphy's secretary and come back with him to Chicago.

    Saturday Night Live (1995)

    Newhart reprised Hartley twice in the February 11, 1995 episode of Saturday Night Live. In one sketch, he appears on a satirical version of Ricki Lake, befuddled by both Ms. Lake's dysfunctional guests and Lake's armchair pop psychology. The episode ended with a repeat of Newhart’s "just a dream" scene, in which Bob Hartley again wakes up with Emily (Pleshette), and tells her that he just dreamt he had hosted SNL. Emily responds, "That show's not still on, is it?"

    George & Leo (1997)

    In the 1997 episode, "The Cameo Episode", Bill Daily makes an appearance as "The Pilot". Jack Riley also appeared on this episode, but it's unclear whom he is portraying.

    CBS at 75 (2002)

    Newhart and Pleshette, as "The Hartleys", were the hosts of a segment of the CBS at 75 broadcast.

    DVD releases

    20th Century Fox released the first four seasons of The Bob Newhart Show on DVD in Region 1 in 2005/2006.

    On February 3, 2014, it was announced that Shout! Factory had acquired the rights to the series. They subsequently released The Bob Newhart Show: The Complete Series on May 27, 2014. The fifth and sixth seasons were later released on DVD in individual sets on February 3, 2015.


    The Bob Newhart Show Wikipedia