Arliss (rendered in its logo as Arli$$) is an American sitcom about a sports agent. The series premiered on HBO in 1996 and ended in 2002. All episodes were available for streaming on HBO Now, HBO Go and HBO On Demand as of September 14, 2018.[1]

Series DVD cover
Created byRobert Wuhl
StarringRobert Wuhl
Sandra Oh
Jim Turner
Michael Boatman
Opening themeI Can't Help Myself by Four Tops (season 1)
I Only Want To Be With You by Dusty Springfield (seasons 2-7)
Composer(s)Ed Smart
Country of originUnited States
Original language(s)English
No. of seasons7
No. of episodes80 (list of episodes)
Camera setupSingle-camera
Running time30 minutes
Production company(s)Tollin/Robbins Productions (1996-98)
Marquee/Tollin/Robbins (1998-2002)
Original networkHome Box Office
Original releaseAugust 10, 1996 (1996-08-10) –
September 8, 2002 (2002-09-08)
External links


  • Robert Wuhl plays Arliss Michaels, the president of a sports agency who tries to cater to his clients' every need as best he can.
  • Sandra Oh plays Rita Wu, Arliss's personal assistant
  • Jim Turner plays Kirby Carlisle, a middle-aged ex-football star
  • Michael Boatman plays Stanley Babson, a conservative financial advisor

Series overviewEdit

SeasonEpisodesOriginally aired
First airedLast aired
111August 10, 1996 (1996-08-10)October 16, 1996 (1996-10-16)
210June 17, 1997 (1997-06-17)August 19, 1997 (1997-08-19)
313June 7, 1998 (1998-06-07)August 30, 1998 (1998-08-30)
412June 6, 1999 (1999-06-06)August 22, 1999 (1999-08-22)
513June 4, 2000 (2000-06-04)September 3, 2000 (2000-09-03)
610June 10, 2001 (2001-06-10)August 12, 2001 (2001-08-12)
711June 16, 2002 (2002-06-16)September 8, 2002 (2002-09-08)

Arliss on other programsEdit

In July 1999, Robert Wuhl appeared, in character as Arliss, on WCW Monday Nitro as a guest announcer, alongside Scott Hudson and Bobby Heenan.[2] He announced that "the WCW" (sic) would appear on Arliss because none of the Big Three networks would have WCW. Arliss said he was scouting Dennis Rodman, who was doing his third stint with the company. Wuhl's appearance was a cross-promotion for HBO, as both it and WCW were owned by Time Warner. In the Arliss episode entitled "To Thy Own Self Be True", WCW creative head Eric Bischoff guest starred along with wrestlers Lex Luger, Randy Savage and Gorgeous George.

In The Simpsons episode "Half-Decent Proposal", Marge, Patty and Selma are watching TV when an announcer states, "Coming up next on BHO [sic], it's Arliss!" All three then scream and reach for the remote control.

During the October 12, 2002 episode of Saturday Night Live, guest host Sarah Michelle Gellar delivered the following monologue in a fake television commercial sketch:

In the October 4, 2012, episode of 30 Rock, "The Beginning of the End," Kenneth says, in response to Tracy Jordan's marriage having lasted for over 20 years, "That's half as long as it felt Arliss was on TV!"


The show, which ran for seven seasons, has been referred to as an example of how premium cable networks take a different approach to managing their programming, because viewers specifically pay for the network. Arliss was cited by a number of HBO subscribers as the sole reason that they paid for the network, and so its relatively small fan base was able to keep the show on the air for a lengthy run.[4] The show frequently used obscure sports references, further limiting its appeal to a niche audience of sports fans. Entertainment Weekly repeatedly referred to it as one of the worst shows on television,[5] and sportswriter Bill Simmons (who would eventually work for HBO itself under his digital banner The Ringer) used Arliss as an example of what he saw as a lack of quality fictional shows about sports.[6]


  1. ^ "HBO News - Arli$$ Comes to Streaming". HBO. Retrieved 2018-09-30.
  2. ^ "Arli$$ on Nitro: Maybe If He Had Played Alexander Knox…". Retrieved 30 May 2015.
  3. ^ Saturday Night Live. Season 28. Episode 2. 12 October 2002. NBC. Saturday Night Live Transcripts.
  4. ^ "TV 101: They're Not TV Numbers. They're HBO Numbers. - Tuned In - TV Blog - Television Reviews - James Poniewozik - TIME". TIME. Archived from the original on 14 October 2007. Retrieved 25 February 2008.
  5. ^ "EW's Ken Tucker names 2002's 5 worst TV shows – Arli$ – Television Commentary – TV – Entertainment Weekly". Archived from the original on October 12, 2006.
  6. ^ " Page 2: Dear Sports Guy..." ESPN. Retrieved 12 October 2016.

External linksEdit