- TV Series
Bill Bittinger is the egotistical host of a local daytime talk show on WBFL in Buffalo, New York, unhappy at being a big fish in a small pond but unable to break into the big leagues. Bill m... Read allBill Bittinger is the egotistical host of a local daytime talk show on WBFL in Buffalo, New York, unhappy at being a big fish in a small pond but unable to break into the big leagues. Bill makes life miserable for his crew, guests, and especially his station manager Karl Shub, wh... Read allBill Bittinger is the egotistical host of a local daytime talk show on WBFL in Buffalo, New York, unhappy at being a big fish in a small pond but unable to break into the big leagues. Bill makes life miserable for his crew, guests, and especially his station manager Karl Shub, who is constantly dodging lawsuits resulting from Bill's behavior. The one person Bill is un... Read all
Dabney Coleman is still active, God bless him, as a performer - but his really meanest days are behind him. Nowadays he can be seen playing nicer, older men. But when he started, on MARY HARTMAN, MARY HARTMAN, he was a despicable, power-hungry, lecherous creep. And he continued that persona in film and television program until about five years ago. NINE TO FIVE is the best example of this but there are other examples - his ambitious C.I.A. official in THE TALL DARK MAN WITH ONE RED SHOE (American version) is another example. And there was this show, that lasted one season only twenty three years ago.
Bill Bittinger was the host of a talk show in Buffalo who had no redeeming features at all. He had a following in Buffalo, but he never can break into national exposure - no matter what he tries. He gives agita to his producer (Max Wright) by his antics and comments that raise the hackles of various people and groups. He treats his staff (Geena Davis, John Fiedler, Charlie Robinson, Joanna Cassidy) as dirt. And he always ends up looking like an ass. Occasionally he is able to break even. In one episode he insults Fiedler, who (for some reason) really admires him. Fiedler quits, and Coleman finds he was absolutely essential to his success on the air. Fiedler, it turns out, also invested his salary wisely, and is Coleman's landlord. Coleman manages to apologize in a matter of speaking to Fiedler, which Fiedler (knowing Coleman's personality) is willing to accept.
In another episode, Coleman manages to talk himself into a corner (on "principle") that enables Wright to take him off the air. He's replaced by episodes of M.A.S.H. (which Wright likes because he likes the character of Radar). Eventually, much to Wright's surprise and dismay, Coleman manages to get back on the air by the end of the episode.
The best episode has been described - where Coleman's bigotry leads to his firing Robinson, and his having a nightmare that he is being pursued by the most violently imagined African-American stereotypes. I have never heard "Hit the Road Jack" since without thinking about this episode.
BUFFALO BILL was one of the best comedies in television history. It only lasted that one season - pity. But then television network programming executives frequently lack vision and patience - and certainly they lack pity.
- Mar 27, 2006