Home Television Drama WIOU

WIOU

1 9 9 0 – 1 9 9 1 (USA)
16 x 60 minute episodes

Hank Zaret (John Shea) was the new news director at TV station WNDY, sent by executives at the network which owned the station to bolster its sagging news ratings. Hank, who had got his start there years before, returned to a station in such financial trouble its staff had nicknamed it “WIOU”.

The principal WNDY on-camera news personnel were anchor Neal Frazier (Harris Yulin), an overbearing lothario with an inflated ego and a wandering eye; newly appointed co-anchor Kelby Robinson (Helen Shaver), a dedicated journalist who had once been Hank’s lover; weatherman Floyd Graham (Dick Van Patten), a lovable veteran who was going blind from glaucoma; reporter Eddie Brock (Phil Morris), an ambitious newsman with minimal scruples when it came to furthering his career; and reporter Taylor Young (Kate McNeil), a recent arrival from Tampa with a mindset almost identical to Eddie’s.

Others on the news staff were longtime executive producer Liz McVay (Mariette Hartley), who felt she had been passed over when Hank had been hired; committed young field producer Ann Hudson (Jayne Brook), who was dating wealthy yuppie Rick Singer (Steven Eckholdt); news intern Willis Teitlebaum (Wallace Langham), who had a crush on Ann; and unprincipled cameraman Marc Adamson (Eric Pierpoint), who worked with Taylor to further both their careers.

Tony Pro (Joe Grifasi) was WNDY’s fast-talking public relations director and Kevin Doherty (Robin Gammell) its anxiety-ridden general manager, fearful that if the ratings didn’t get better, he’d be out of a job.

Although no city was ever mentioned, with the call letters WNDY, this series could have been set in Chicago. Despite lavish praise from critics, and a cast that gave WIOU a very real look, the ratings for the series were even lower than the news ratings for fictional WNDY.

The series never found an audience and was cancelled with five episodes never aired.

Hank Zaret
John Shea
Kelby Robinson
Helen Shaver
Neal Frazier
Harris Yulin
Floyd Graham
Dick Van Patten
Liz McVay
Mariette Hartley
Taylor Young
Kate McNeil
Eddie Brock
Phil Morris
Willis Teitlebaum
Wallace Langham
Ann Hudson
Jayne Brook
Tony Pro
Joe Grifasi
Kevin Doherty
Robin Gammell
Rick Singer
Steven Eckholdt
Marc Adamson
Eric Pierpoint