This article is about the 1982–1990 television series. For the actor, see Bob Newhart. For the 1972–1978 television series, see The Bob Newhart Show.

Newhart opening title card
Created by Barry Kemp
Developed by Sheldon Bull
Starring Bob Newhart
Mary Frann
Jennifer Holmes
Julia Duffy
Tom Poston
Steven Kampmann
Peter Scolari
William Sanderson
Tony Papenfuss
John Voldstad
Theme music composer Henry Mancini
Country of origin United States
Original language(s) English
No. of seasons 8
No. of episodes 184 (list of episodes)
Executive producer(s) Barry Kemp
Mark Egan
Mark Solomon
Dan Wilcox
Producer(s) Sheldon Bull
Running time 24 minutes
Production company(s) MTM Enterprises
Distributor 20th Television
Original network CBS
Original release October 25, 1982 – May 21, 1990
Preceded by The Bob Newhart Show
Followed by Bob

Newhart is an American sitcom that aired on CBS from October 25, 1982 to May 21, 1990, with a total of 184 half-hour episodes spanning over eight seasons. The series stars comedian Bob Newhart and actress Mary Frann as an author and wife who own and operate an inn located in a small, rural Vermont town that is home to many eccentric characters. TV Guide, TV Land, and A&E named the Newhart series finale as one of the most memorable in television history. Newhart was recorded on videotape for Season 1, with the remaining seasons shot on film.


Bob Newhart plays Dick Loudon, an author of do-it-yourself books and travel books (including "Many Moods Of Minnesota" and "Captivating Kansas".) He and his wife Joanna move from New York City to a small, unnamed town in rural Vermont (possibly Norwich[1]) to operate the 200-year-old Stratford Inn.[2] Dick is a sane, mild-mannered everyman surrounded by a community of oddballs in a town which exists in an illogical world governed by rules that elude him.

Near the end of the second season, Newhart was retooled and Dick began hosting a low-rated talk show on the town's local television station. As the series progressed, episodes focused increasingly on Dick's TV career and the quirky townsfolk. As the years went by, some characters were dropped and others were added.


Regular characters

Recurring characters

Other recurring characters included:

Guest stars

In one episode, members of the Beaver Lodge are watching Gilligan's Island on the TV. When Michael Harris throws them out, one member protests that he wants to see how it ends (notwithstanding the fact that Gilligan episodes always ended with the castaways still stuck on the island). The protester was played by Russell Johnson, who portrayed the Professor on Gilligan.

During the first season, someone named Daniel J. Travanti made a reservation at the inn over the phone. The women did not know if he was the actor or not, but got dressed up just in case. When everyone thought the man was not coming, they went to bed for the night, only to have the actor walk in a few minutes later. Kirk signed him in and no one knew until after he was gone. Two more first-season guest-stars were Ruth Gordon, as Kirk's ex-con grandmother, and Jerry Van Dyke, as the owner of a travel agency, who against his better judgement, hires Joanna, only to have her quit on her first day.

Two Golden Girls cast members made appearances on Newhart. Rue McClanahan appeared in one episode as an old flame of George's; Estelle Getty appeared playing a librarian who appeared on Dick's Vermont Today show, to discuss the alternative to the Dewey decimal system that she had devised.

Another notable guest-star was actor Jack Riley, who had portrayed Elliot Carlin, the mean-spirited patient of psychologist Dr. Bob Hartley, Newhart's character in The Bob Newhart Show. Riley (possibly playing another character, but acting as Mr. Carlin) has a brief encounter with Dick Loudon, who finds him strangely familiar-looking. Dick then speaks to the man's psychologist, who complains about the terrible mental damage done to Riley by "some quack in Chicago", referring to Newhart's previous character. (Riley also appeared as a patient in the psychiatric ward on an episode of St. Elsewhere, where he told another patient he is there because his life was ruined by "a quack psychologist in Chicago!")

Another former Bob Newhart Show cast member, Bill Daily, appeared on the show as an overbearing guest who decides to move next door to the Loudons after deciding that Dick is now his best friend (which causes a bit of an uproar in the town, as several of the other residents thought Dick was actually their best friend).

Two former WKRP In Cincinnati cast members made appearances on the show. Frank Bonner (Herb Tarlek on WKRP) had a small role in one episode as a man with a phobia of hotels who decides to stay at the inn, and Richard Sanders (Les Nessman on WKRP) appeared in an episode as a man who decides to stay at the inn with his imaginary wife.

The first episode of the second season ("It Happened One Afternoon") was filmed on July 15, 1983, with Elke Sommer as the guest star; however, the version that was broadcast featured her scenes reshot with Stella Stevens in the role. The reason for the change is not known.

At the start of the third season, the characters of Kirk and Cindy were written out as having left for Europe, with a note asking Dick to sell the Minuteman Cafe, which was in dire need of repair. Ray Walston appeared as Claude Darling, a widower who initially used his life savings to buy the cafe, only to have Dick and Joanna back out of the deal when they began feeling guilty about not telling Claude about all of the cafe's many problems.

In one episode, Don Rickles, Newhart's good friend in real life, played a washed-up actor given a job as a talk show host at the television station where Dick works. Rickles' character mercilessly insulted and tormented Dick, which made the show popular, and Dick was contractually trapped as the Rickles character's stooge.

Johnny Carson appears in one episode as himself, to confirm Larry's claim that he pays their gas bills. Carson's longtime Tonight Show sidekick, Ed McMahon, also appeared on Newhart, as a guest on the previously mentioned talk show hosted by Don Rickles' character.

Henry Gibson appeared in an episode, playing a dinner theater actor who auditions for a part on a children's show Michael is producing, only to reveal that he is actually Michael's long-lost father.

Senator George McGovern and reporter/writer Edwin Newman appeared as themselves as guests on Dick's show.

Murray Matheson makes an appearance as Carl, Stephanie's much older former husband of only a few days.

Sorrell Booke (Boss Hogg on The Dukes of Hazzard) appeared in one episode as an old college friend of Dick's; similarly, Shelley Fabares made an appearance playing Dick's old college sweetheart.

Bill Maher appeared in an episode as a guest who becomes smitten with Stephanie, and proceeds to constantly hound her for a date.

Tim Conway appeared in one episode, playing a comically exaggerated version of himself as an extremely cheap and frugal poker buddy of Michael and George (who storms off in a huff, when Dick suggests raising the stakes from a nickel to a quarter).

Police Academy star G.W. Bailey appeared in an episode, playing a fellow member of George's Beaver Lodge who tries to engage Dick in a "cops and robbers"-style game. In the same episode, George Wyner played a con man who swindled Dick and Joanna and several other townspeople out of money that was intended to buy burial plots.

During a dream Larry has where he is hosting The Tonight Show, Joan Embery, Fred Travalena, and Emma Samms all make appearances as themselves, playing guests on the dream version of the show hosted by Larry. Longtime Tonight Show bandmember Tommy Newsom also appears as himself, in the dream version of the show's band as led by one of the Darryls (instead of usual bandleader Doc Severinsen).

Don Knotts made a brief appearance in the "Seein' Double" episode from the final season.

Opening credits

The iconic opening credits feature many landscape scenes to set the tone for the series, set to an original theme by Henry Mancini. Most of the scenes used in the sequence were actually leftover stock filmed for the opening sequence of the film On Golden Pond which was filmed the year before the Newhart pilot. Most of the scenes were filmed in the Squam Lake area of New Hampshire, including the town of Sandwich, while the Stratford Inn exterior shots used throughout the series were actually of the Waybury Inn in East Middlebury, Vermont.

"The Last Newhart"

(Top) Dick Loudon is hit by a golf ball. (Bottom) Dr. Robert Hartley wakes up and tells his wife about the dream he had, of living in an inn in Vermont.

The series finale of Newhart, titled "The Last Newhart", has been described as one of the most memorable in television history.[3][4] The entire town is purchased by a visiting Japanese tycoon, who turns the hamlet into a huge golf course and recreation resort. Dick and Joanna are the only townspeople who refuse to leave. The others accept huge payoffs and leave in a farewell scene which parodies Fiddler on the Roof.

Five years later, Dick and Joanna continue to run the Stratford Inn, which is now located in the middle of the golf course. The other townspeople, now richer and older than before, unexpectedly return for a reunion. The Darryl brothers also speak for the first time on screen loudly yelling "QUIET!" at their wives in unison. Dick gets frustrated with the increasingly chaotic scene, eventually storming out shouting "You're all CRAZY!" only to be knocked out by a golf ball.

The final scene takes place in a setting previously seen on The Bob Newhart Show. Bob Newhart reprises the role of Dr. Bob Hartley, with Suzanne Pleshette reprising the role of Emily, Hartley's wife. Hartley wakes and explains his weird dream, apparently revealing that the entire Newhart series was just a dream. This parodies the infamous Dallas "Dream Season" from a few years earlier, and possibly the last episode of St. Elsewhere, in which the entire series turns out to be the imagination of an autistic child. Several references are made to Newhart's former show, including the use of its theme song and credits although the Bob Newhart Show theme was missing from the final closing credit shot in the series' initial syndication run, the theme has been reinstated in the current version syndicated by 20th Century Fox Television. In the MTM logo shown after the closing credits, Mimsie the Cat says what the Darryls shouted in the series finale.[5]

Reception to the finale

Interviews with Newhart, Pleshette, and director Dick Martin[6] reveal that the final scene was kept a secret from the cast and most of the crew. A fake ending was written to throw off the tabloids that involved Bob going to heaven after being hit with a golf ball and talking to God played by George Burns or George C. Scott. Pleshette was kept hidden until her scene was shot. When the scene began, many people in the audience recognized the set as the bedroom from The Bob Newhart Show and burst into spontaneous applause. Pleshette and Newhart did the scene in one take.[6]

In 1991, the cast of The Bob Newhart Show reunited in a primetime special. One of the things they did was analyze Bob's dream. During the discussion, the Hartleys' neighbor, Howard Borden (Bill Daily), quipped, "I had a dream like that once. I dreamed I was an astronaut in Florida for five seasons", while scenes were shown from I Dream of Jeannie, which featured Daily in all five seasons. At the end of the reunion special, Dr. Bob Hartley gets on the elevator only to see three familiar workmen doing repairs in the elevator and one of them says to Bob, "Hi. I'm Larry. This is my brother Darryl and this is my other brother Darryl."

In his book I Shouldn't Even Be Doing This! And Other Things that Strike Me as Funny, Newhart stated that his wife Ginnie proposed the classic ending of Newhart. He reiterated this in a 2013 interview with director and comedian David Steinberg, saying,

That was Ginnie's idea. ... She said, 'You ought to end in a dream sequence because there was so much inexplicable about the show.' She said, 'You should wake up in bed with Susie and explain what's so—" and I said, 'What a great idea,' and I gave the idea to the writers and they fleshed it out with the Japanese buying the town and our not selling."[7]

In a letter-to-the-editor published in Entertainment Weekly, the show's executive producers, Mark Egan, Mark Solomon, and Bob Bendetson, wrote, "[T]he final episode of Newhart was not 'dreamed up' by Bob's wife, Ginny. She had absolutely no connection with the show. ... We wrote and produced the Emmy-nominated script (with special thanks to Dan O'Shannon)."[8]

In November 2005, the series finale was named by TV Guide and TV Land as the most unexpected moment in TV history. The episode was watched by 29.5 million viewers, bringing in an 18.7/29 rating/share, and ranking as the most-watched program that week.

In 2011, the finale was ranked number four on the TV Guide Network special, TV's Most Unforgettable Finales,[9] and in 2013 was ranked number 1 in Entertainment Weekly's 20 Best TV Series Finales Ever.[10]

On the February 11, 1995, episode of Saturday Night Live which was hosted by Bob Newhart, the episode's closing sketch ended with a redux of Newhart's final scene, in which Bob Hartley again wakes with wife Emily (special guest Suzanne Pleshette) and tells her that he had just had a dream of hosting SNL. Emily responds, "That show's not still on, is it?"—this during a period when SNL was heavily criticized for its declining quality.[11][12]

In 2010, Jimmy Kimmel Live! presented several parody alternate endings to the television show Lost, one of which mirrored the finale of Newhart complete with a cameo appearance by Bob Newhart and with Lost star Evangeline Lilly in place of Emily/Pleshette.[13]

The final scene with Newhart and Pleshette was later parodied in an alternate ending to the television series Breaking Bad where actor Bryan Cranston wakes from a dream next to his Malcolm in the Middle co-star Jane Kaczmarek where they assume their respective roles of Hal and Lois. Hal recounts the events of Breaking Bad in humorous fashion as though he is horrified that he could do those things (albeit as Walter White). Lois reassures him that everything is all right and the final shot is of Walter's hat.[14]

The final scene of The Late Late Show with Craig Ferguson parodied this, as well. After revealing that Bob Newhart had been playing the on-set pantomime horse Secretariat, Ferguson wakes up as his The Drew Carey Show character Nigel Wick, in bed with his co-star Drew Carey. The two then discuss the crazy possibility of Wick being a talk show host and Carey losing weight and becoming a game show host. (The shot continued with a parody of the twist ending of St. Elsewhere and then the closing song from The Sopranos finale.)


U.S. television ratings

Newhart was a solid ratings winner finishing six out of eight seasons in the Nielsen top 25 at its highest rating of number 12 for two consecutive seasons from 1986 to 1988. Despite not finishing in the top 30 for its last two seasons, Bob Newhart stated in an interview with the Archive of American Television that CBS was satisfied enough with the show's ratings to renew it for a ninth season in 1990. However, Newhart, who was anxious to move onto other projects, declined the offer, promising CBS that he would develop a new series for the network, which he was under contract to do. This resulted in the 1992 series Bob, which lasted for two seasons.

Newhart season rankings in the U.S. television market
Season Episodes Original air dates TV season Nielsen ratings
Season premiere Season finale Rank Rating Households / Viewers (in millions)
1 22 October 25, 1982 April 10, 1983 1982–1983 #12 20.0 16.66
2 22 October 17, 1983 April 16, 1984 1983–1984 #23 18.0 15.08
3 22 October 15, 1984 May 28, 1985 1984–1985 #16 18.4 N/A
4 24 September 30, 1985 May 12, 1986 1985–1986 19.6 16.84
5 24 September 29, 1986 April 13, 1987 1986–1987 #12 19.5 17.04
6 24 September 14, 1987 April 9, 1988 1987–1988 #25 16.5 N/A
7 22 October 24, 1988 May 22, 1989 1988–1989 #50 12.8
8 24 September 18, 1989 May 21, 1990 1989–1990 #48 13.1 19.34
1.^ 1982–1987.
2.^ 1989–1990.



Emmy Awards


Despite 25 nominations, Newhart never won an Emmy Award.

Golden Globe Awards

Newhart was nominated for one Casting Society of America award and nominated 25 times for Emmy Awards for acting, writing, and editing. The show also received six Golden Globes nominations, four nominations for TV Land Awards and five wins of Viewers for Quality Television Awards.

DVD releases

20th Century Fox released season one of Newhart on DVD in Region 1 in February 2008.

In November 2013, it was announced that Shout! Factory had acquired the rights to the series. As of September 13, 2016, they have released the second, third, fourth, fifth, and sixth seasons,[15]and season seven is scheduled for release on December 13, 2016.[16]

DVD Name Ep No Release Date
The Complete First Season 22 February 26, 2008
The Complete Second Season 22 February 11, 2014
The Complete Third Season 22 April 22, 2014
The Complete Fourth Season 24 August 19, 2014
The Complete Fifth Season 24 May 10, 2016
The Complete Sixth Season 24 September 13, 2016
The Complete Seventh Season 22 December 13, 2016 (expected)


  1. "TV ACRES: Real Estate > Cities and Towns > Norwich, Vermont (Newhart)". Retrieved April 20, 2015.
  2. The Waybury Inn in East Middlebury, Vermont, was used for location shots. Numerous references in the series are made to the proximity of Dartmouth College, which is located in Hanover, New Hampshire. In "The Way We Thought We Were" (season one, episode 12), Dick mentions the inn is 59 miles from Montpelier, which could put it in Norwich, Vermont, across the Connecticut River from the college.
  3. 100 most memorable TV moments
  4. Karol, Michael (July 2006). Sitcom Queens: Divas of the Small Screen. iUniverse. p. 118. ISBN 978-0-595-40251-9. Retrieved February 28, 2011.
  6. 1 2 Emmy TV Legends" "The Last Newhart"
  7. "Bob Newhart and Louis C.K.". Inside Comedy. Season 2. Episode 1. 16 February 2013. Showtime.
  8. "Mail Page". Entertainment Weekly ( June 2, 1995. Archived from the original on October 11, 2012. Retrieved March 23, 2009.
  9. "TV's Most Unforgettable Finales". May 22, 2011. TV Guide Network. Missing or empty |series= (help)
  10. "Entertainment Weekly's". Entertainment Weekly's Retrieved April 20, 2015.
  11. Newcomb, Horace (2004). Encyclopedia of Television. Fitzroy Dearborn. p. 278. ISBN 1579583946.
  12. Smith, Chris (1995-03-13). "Comedy Isn't Funny: Saturday Night Live at twenty – how the show that transformed TV became a grim joke". New York Magazine. Retrieved 2015-02-10.
  13. WSJ Staff. "'Lost' Ending: Jimmy Kimmel and the Parodies". WSJ. Retrieved April 20, 2015.
  14. Chris Harnick (2013-11-18). "Breaking Bad' Reveals Wonderful Alternate Ending With 'Malcolm In The Middle,' Jane Kaczmarek". Huffington Post.
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