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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.

Series DVD cover
Created by Robert Wuhl
Starring Robert Wuhl
Sandra Oh
Jim Turner
Michael Boatman
Opening theme I 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 origin United States
Original language(s) English
No. of seasons 7
No. of episodes 80 (list of episodes)
Camera setup Single-camera
Running time 30 minutes
Production company(s) Tollin/Robbins Productions
Marquee/Tollin/Robbins (1998-2002)
Distributor CBS Television Distribution (2008-present, non-USA)
Original network Home Box Office
Original release August 10, 1996 (1996-08-10) – September 8, 2002 (2002-09-08)
External links



  • Arliss starred Robert Wuhl, who also produced the show, as 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

Notable guest starsEdit

Nearly every episode includes one or more notable personalities, primarily from the sports industry (such as athletes, coaches, and broadcasters), appearing as themselves. Oscar-winning actor James Coburn's 2002 appearance in the episode "The Immortal" was his last television performance before his fatal heart attack in 2002.

Three-plus appearancesEdit

Two appearancesEdit

One appearanceEdit

Series overviewEdit

Season Episodes Originally aired
First aired Last aired
1 11 August 10, 1996 (1996-08-10) October 16, 1996 (1996-10-16)
2 10 June 17, 1997 (1997-06-17) August 19, 1997 (1997-08-19)
3 13 June 7, 1998 (1998-06-07) August 30, 1998 (1998-08-30)
4 12 June 6, 1999 (1999-06-06) August 22, 1999 (1999-08-22)
5 13 June 4, 2000 (2000-06-04) September 3, 2000 (2000-09-03)
6 10 June 10, 2001 (2001-06-10) August 12, 2001 (2001-08-12)
7 11 June 16, 2002 (2002-06-16) September 8, 2002 (2002-09-08)

Arliss on other programsEdit

In July 1999, Wuhl also appeared on World Championship Wrestling's Monday Nitro as a guest announcer.[2] Joining Scott Hudson and Bobby "The Brain" Heenan, Robert did not appear as himself but was named as Arliss and acted in character. He announced that "the WCW" (sic) would appear on Arliss because none of the Big Three networks would have WCW. Arliss stayed in character on color commentary as Randy Savage, Gorgeous George, and Miss Madness walked to the ring. Arliss said he was scouting Dennis Rodman, who was doing his third stint with the company. Wuhl appeared for cross-promotion as WCW was owned by Time Warner (and Nitro aired on TNT), as was HBO. In the Arliss episode entitled "To Thy Own Self Be True", WCW creative head Eric Bischoff guest stars along with wrestlers Lex Luger, Randy Savage and Gorgeous George.

On the 10th of February 2002. The 10th episode of the 13th Season of The Simpsons titled Half-Decent Proposal Marge, Patty and Selma are watching TV When the TV announcer says "Coming up next on BHO, it's ARLI$$!" and They all scream "AAAH!" in unison and all reach for remote.

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 used Arliss as an example of what he saw as a lack of quality fictional shows about sports.[6]


External linksEdit