Reno 911!

For the 2007 film, see Reno 911!: Miami.
Reno 911!
Created by Robert Ben Garant
Thomas Lennon
Kerri Kenney-Silver
Starring Cedric Yarbrough
Niecy Nash
Robert Ben Garant
Thomas Lennon
Carlos Alazraqui
Wendi McLendon-Covey
Kerri Kenney-Silver
Mary Birdsong
Ian Roberts
Joe Lo Truglio
Country of origin United States
No. of seasons 6
No. of episodes 88 (list of episodes)
Camera setup Videotape; Single camera
Running time 22 minutes
Production company(s) Lake Harper Productions
Comedy Partners
Original network Comedy Central
Original release July 23, 2003 (2003-07-23) – July 8, 2009 (2009-07-08)
External links
Official website

Reno 911! is an American comedy television series on Comedy Central that ran from 2003 to 2009. It is a mockumentary-style parody of law enforcement documentary shows, specifically Cops, with comic actors playing the police officers. Most of the material is improvised, using a broad outline, and with minimal scripted material. The series spawned a film, Reno 911!: Miami, featuring the same cast. Thomas Lennon, Robert Ben Garant and Kerri Kenney-Silver all starred in and are billed as creators of the series.


The show is a direct satire of the iconic Fox Television series, Cops (which follows actual police officers through their daily duties, such as chasing criminals, and intervening in domestic disputes). Reno 911! features members of the fictitious, massively inept "Reno Sheriff's Department"—distinct from the actual Reno Police Department, and, Washoe County Sheriff's Office, both of which are absent from the series. In the course of their duties patrolling both the city of Reno and the rest of Washoe County, Nevada, the deputies sometimes address the camera directly (as though being interviewed for a documentary). The show deals heavily in "politically incorrect" and racy humor, including many jokes about race, sexual orientation, substance abuse, rape, pedophilia, and mental disorders. Another main comedic aspect of the show is the outlandishly severe incompetence of the deputies—often resulting in their being outsmarted by the very criminals they are attempting to control.

Lennon and Kenney-Silver in character at Mardi Gras

Only the basic plot elements of the show are scripted, while the dialogue is improvised—enhancing the illusion of reality (a practice referred to as retroscripting). Unlike Cops, which the show parodies, Reno 911! Sheriff's deputies are constantly cursing, causing much of their dialogue to be censored for broadcast. The actors often perform their own stunts. A constantly changing cast of weirdos, prostitutes, homeless persons, survivalists, political figures, celebrities, etc. are portrayed by comedian friends of the primary cast, and the cast themselves, while disguising their voices and general appearance (and, whose faces were blurred in the style of Cops).

The show's characters occasionally refer to their own program. They insist that the show's producers told them the videotaped footage was going to be used for a Fox Television documentary series titled, Heroes on Patrol; and (often stated in frustration), that they have no control over what is aired, and that the show only seems to capture their 'moments' of incompetence. The many "good" incidents, they allege, are left out of the (show-within-a-show's) final edit. Also, some suspects in the show refer to the film crew, and the program being aired on television; occasionally, they will even attempt to get arrested just to be on TV.

Development history

In Thomas Lennon's words, Reno 911! came about, "like the best of ideas, through total desperation."[1] Following the end of Viva Variety, The State alumni worked on a series of pilots for Fox Television, one of which, after a year's worth of dedicated writing, was terminated the day before shooting. It was scheduled to begin in the fall of 2000.[1][2] With a month left before the pilot was expected to be due (and half of the budget still unused), the team asked if they could produce another pilot with the remaining resources, and the Fox executives agreed. Working quickly to take advantage of this, the initial Reno 911! pilot was conceived and shot in five days.[1] Cedric Yarbrough, who had been hired for the cast of the canceled pilot, said that the cast was advised to "come up with [their] own characters" and return for filming.[2]

As originally written, the sheriff's department material would have served as link material between traditional comedy sketches; the canceled project was being considered for the Fox Saturday lineup, and the team thought at the time that the Cops format was a natural framework for sketch comedy. However, during the shooting—and especially the editing—they realized the police element was more interesting than the sketches, and the finished pilot was, according to Robert Ben Garant, "remarkably similar" to the series that eventually aired.[1] Nevertheless, Fox turned down the completed pilot. According to Lennon, their decision not to pick the show up was influenced by a scene, preserved in the eventual Comedy Central pilot, involving Lt. Dangle passionately kissing a man.[3] It was another two years before Comedy Central greenlit the project.[2]


The establishing shots for the show were filmed in Reno, and everything else was filmed in Carson, California and some parts of Oregon. Many of the main scenes of the show were shot over the course of many hours, such as the briefing room scenes. According to the DVD commentary for season three, all morning briefing scenes for a season may be filmed on one 10-hour day with different basic plot elements to be used in different episodes. Actors would contribute their dialogue as they were inspired to do so.

The show was continued for two additional seasons with Comedy Central running a special of the show titled Reno 911!: Off Duty on March 21, 2004. The fourth season began on July 9, 2006 and comprised 14 episodes. Comedy Central aired the first seven in the fall of 2006 and the last seven in the spring of 2007. Also in early 2007, a theatrical film based upon the series entitled Reno 911!: Miami was released in North America, featuring the complete TV series cast. The Season Four spring debut drew 1.3 million viewers during the week of March 26 to April 1, 2007. Excess footage from season three was used in season four.

On October 9, 2006, Comedy Central confirmed 13 new episodes to make up Reno 911! Season Five, though the season actually contained 16 episodes. Production of Season Five started in January and wrapped up in April. Reno 911! Season Five premiered on January 16, 2008. On March 27, 2007, Superstation WGN acquired the first four seasons of the half-hour comedy for a two-year run. The syndicated Reno 911! is a part of their late night comedy block. Reruns are currently syndicated to broadcast stations. In 2007, Lennon and Garant later appeared in-character on a comedy compilation CD, Comedy Death-Ray, released on September 11, singing a song about why not to use drugs.

On November 10, 2008, Comedy Central confirmed 10 new episodes to make up Reno 911! Season Six, the final season. Principal photography was done between November and December 2008. Carmen Electra was a guest star on an episode filmed December 5, 2008 at Grant High School in Los Angeles. Season Six premiered on April 1, 2009 on Comedy Central. Season Six consisted of fifteen episodes. Cast members Carlos Alazraqui, Wendi McLendon-Covey, and Mary Birdsong did not return for the final season and their characters' absence was explained as fatalities from an explosion in the Season Five finale. In addition, actors Ian Roberts and Joe Lo Truglio were added to the principal cast as Sergeant Jack Declan and Deputy Frank Salvatore Rizzo, respectively.

On August 13, 2009, Thomas Lennon announced through Twitter that the show had ended its six-year run.[4] In response to the cancellation, residents and officials of Reno, Nevada petitioned to save the show.[5]

Discussed Netflix revival

In October 2011, a story broke that the producers of Reno 911! were in negotiations with the popular internet streaming website Netflix to revive the cancelled Comedy Central series.[6] The main reason Reno's producers wanted to revive the show was because only 88 episodes were produced, the producers and syndicating networks would have liked for the show to hit the 100 episode milestone.[7] However, at the time, Comedy Central, who still held sole rights to the show, had not been involved in any negotiations. As well, Thomas Lennon and Robert Ben Garant were attached to other projects.


Season Episodes Originally aired
First aired Last aired
1 14 July 23, 2003 October 20, 2003
2 16 June 9, 2004 September 22, 2004
3 13 June 14, 2005 September 6, 2005
4 14 July 9, 2006 May 13, 2007
5 16 January 16, 2008 July 10, 2008
6 15 April 1, 2009 July 8, 2009

Cast and characters


Cast history


Throughout the show's run, all three main cast members from Stella (who were also from The State) made appearances as characters. While Michael Showalter was the exception on the TV series, he appeared in the film, along with all of the cast members of The State.

"The State" Crossovers
Actor On Reno 911! On Reno 911: Miami
Thomas Lennon Lt. Jim Dangle Lt. Jim Dangle
Robert Ben Garant Deputy Travis Junior Deputy Travis Junior
Kerri Kenney-Silver Deputy Trudy Wiegel Deputy Trudy Wiegel
Michael Patrick Jann Director Tattoo Shop Owner #1
Joe Lo Truglio Shopkeeper (1 episode)
Deputy Frank Rizzo (recurring)
Tattoo Shop Owner #2
Ken Marino Frank

Cadet Jared Reese
Sgt. Andrew Blake

Deaf Tattoo Artist
David Wain Sensual Masseur


Breen the Plumber
Michael Ian Black Kevin the Sex Offender


Ron of Ron's Tattoo
Kevin Allison N/A Tattoo Victim
Michael Showalter N/A Paul
Todd Holoubek N/A Tattooed Guy

Main crew members

Reno 911!: Miami

Main article: Reno 911!: Miami

The series spawned a movie released in 2007. In the movie, the deputies are called in to save the day after a terrorist attack disrupts a national police convention and locks over 2000 police officers in a hotel in Miami Beach during spring break.

DVD releases

DVD Name Release date Ep # Additional information
The Complete First SeasonJune 22, 200414 Alternate Scenes, Audio Commentary from the entire cast.
The Complete Second Season Uncensored June 14, 200516 Over 90 minutes of Alternate/Deleted Scenes, Director and Cast Commentary, Drug Arrest Prevention Seminar - Live Performance from HBO's 2004 U.S. Comedy Arts Festival.
The Complete Third Season Uncensored July 11, 200613 Deleted scenes, extended outtakes, and commentary with the cast and crew.
The Complete Fourth Season Uncensored June 26, 200714 Alternate/Deleted scenes, extended outtakes, and commentary with the cast and crew.
The Complete Fifth Season Uncensored July 15, 200816 Alternate/Deleted scenes, extended outtakes, Featurette: Cop Psychology Inside the Minds of Reno's Deputies.
The Complete Sixth Season Uncensored July 7, 200915 Alternate/Deleted scenes, extended outtakes, and commentary.
DVD Name Release date Additional information
Reno 911!: Miami June 19, 2007 Audio Commentary, Alternate / Extended Scenes, Trailers, Easter Eggs, and the featurette "Making a Spoof."
Reno 911!: Miami: Unrated June 19, 2007 Audio commentary, Alternate / Extended Scenes, Trailers, Easter Eggs, Public Service Announcements, and the featurette "World Premiere."
Reno 911!: Miami: More Busted Than Ever Unrated Edition September 23, 2008 Intro to "The Lost Version", Audio commentary, Extended Scenes with optional commentary, Blooper Reel, Public Service Announcements, Theatrical Trailer, Easter Eggs.

Best of Releases

DVD NameRelease DateAdditional Information
Reno's Most Wanted Uncensored February 13, 2007 A compilation of Reno 911!'s best scenes from the first four seasons.


  1. 1 2 3 4 The Sound of Young America: Interview with Thomas Lennon, Robert Ben Garant, and Kerri Kenney-Silver, May 22, 2008.
  2. 1 2 3 Topel, Fred (2007). "One on One with Cedric Yarbrough". Retrieved April 3, 2009.
  3. Scott Aukerman (May 21, 2009). "Comedy Death Ray Radio 01". (Podcast). Indie 103. Retrieved Mar 14, 2010. External link in |website= (help)
  4. Comedy Central Cancels "Reno", Hollywood Reporter, August 13, 2009
  5. Jayne Clark. "'Reno 911!': The city it mocks tries to save it," USA Today. August 27, 2009. Retrieved 2010-06-07.
  6. Netflix looking to revive Reno 911!, "", October 9, 2011
  7. Netflix wants to Make New Episodes of Reno 911!, ""
  8. 1 2 3 Paulsen, John (April 21, 2009), Cast changes have hurt "Reno 911!"
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