The murder of NewsRadio regular Phil Hartman just after filming wrapped on the season's fourth season not only enveloped the rest of the cast in grief and sorrow, but also nearly prompted NBC to cancel the show. Reportedly, the producer kept the series afloat by relinquishing a financial piece of the property to the network--but even this move did not prevent the series' fifth season from being its last. The opening episode acknowledges the loss of Hartman with an unforgettable storyline deftly blending tears with bellylaughs, as the staff of radio station WNYX reacts to the fatal heart attack that claimed the life of vainglorious news anchor Bill McNeal. Well, most of the staff, anyway: Nerdish reporter Matthew (Andy Dick) is still laboring under the misapprehension that Bill has merely relocated to Afghanistan. Shortly thereafter, Jon Lovitz joins the cast as Bill's replacement Max Lewis, a neurotic "radio gypsy" who has lost 37 jobs in the last 20 years. However, no power on earth seems capable of removing Max from the anchor desk at WNYX--not even the resentful Matthew, who cooks up a bizarre scheme to get Max canned. Other than the opener, this season is remembered for a wacked-out three-part story arc, in which WNYX owner Jimmy James (Stephen Root) is arrested on the suspicion that he is actually notorious federal fugitive D.B. Cooper. This turn of events forces news director Dave Nelson (Dave Foley) to fend off the machinations of Jimmy's evil replacement Johnny Johnson, played by the ubiquitous Patrick Warburton)--at least until Jimmy is saved by the eleventh-hour intervention of Adam West (It makes sense when you see it!) The series ends with a 2-parter, built around the staff's efforts to prevent Jimmy from retiring (as if anyone could blame him after the D.B. Cooper debacle).
- "The Lost Episode" Featurette
- Filmmaker Commentaries on Selected Episodes