I once asked Kim LeMasters, who ran programming for several years at CBS, if anyone ever came in, pitched him an idea and he bought it on the spot. He said it had happened twice. One was Magnum, P.I. and the other was Newhart. In both cases, the “pitcher” (in the case of Newhart, it was Barry Kemp) came in with a star the network wanted to work with and a format that was fully developed and perfect for that star. And the idea of this show, with Bob running an inn and putting up with odd neighbors and occupants, was pretty darn ideal for Mr. Newhart.

As you can see from the above ticket, it was done on Stage 17 at the CBS Radford lot, which was the same place where Bob did The Bob Newhart Show for 142 episodes. This one lasted 184, which must be some kind of industry record for one-two punches. (To balance, Newhart’s next sitcom — the one I worked on, of course — lasted 33 episodes, and the one after that lasted 22.) The early episodes of Newhart were done on videotape, as opposed to film. Bob, it turned out, decided he didn’t like the look of tape so they converted to film. If you think that sounds silly…hey, you go argue with 184 episodes.

A lot of people think the last one, in which it turned out the entire series was a dream of the character Bob played in his previous series, was one of the most daring, brilliant ideas ever on television. It’s certainly a contender.