Infobox television
show_name = Arliss

caption = Series DVD Cover
format = situation comedy
runtime = 30 Minutes
starring = Robert Wuhl
country = USA
network = Home Box Office
first_aired = August 10, 1996
last_aired = September 8, 2002
num_episodes = 80
website =
imdb_id = 0115101
tv.com_id = 1245

"Arliss" (rendered in its logo as "Arli$$") is an American situation comedy on HBO about a sports agent and his group of associates. The series premiered in 1996 and ended in 2002. Reruns of the show air on ESPN Classic.


*"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 the best as 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 stars

Nearly every episode included 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 appearances

* Bob Costas (1996-2001) (5 episodes)
* Van Earl Wright (1997-2002) (4 episodes)
* Jerry Jones (1996-2000) (3 episodes)
* Jim Lampley (1996-1999) (3 episodes)
* Tommy Lasorda (1996-2000) (3 episodes)
* Jeremy Roenick (2000-2002) (3 episodes)

Two appearances

* Jamal Anderson (1999-2000)
* Bob Arum (1997-1999)
* Chris Berman (1997-1999)
* Al Bernstein (1996-1999)
* Barry Bonds (1996-1997)
* Gary Carter (2001)
* Roger Clemens (1997-1999)
* Norm Crosby (1997-2001)
* Oscar de la Hoya (1998-1999)
* Marshall Faulk (2000-2001)
* Ken Griffey, Jr. (1999)
* Jim Hill (1996-1999)
* Roy Jones Jr. (2000-2002)
* Eric Karros (1997-1999)
* Larry King (1997-2002)
* Jeanette Lee (1997-2000)
* Al Michaels (1996-1998)
* Gary Miller (2000-2001)
* Jon Miller (1997-2000)
* Chris Myers (1996-1999)
* Pat O'Brien (2000-2001)
* Shaquille O'Neal (1996-2001)
* Andre Rison (1998)
* Curt Schilling (1998-2002)
* Stuart Scott (1999-2000)
* Robert Shapiro (1996-2000)
* Bruce Smith (1997-2000)
* Ozzie Smith (1997-1998)
* George M. Steinbrenner III (1999)
* Katarina Witt (1997-1998)
* Dave Winfield (1998-2000)

One appearance

* Eric Bischoff (1999)
* Jay Buhner (2001)
* Kobe Bryant (1996)
* Regis Philbin
* Alex Trebek
* Amanda Bynes (1999)
* Bobby Labonte
* Kyle Petty
* Tim Duncan
* Juan Pablo Montoya
* James Coburn (2002)
* Rich Eisen (2001)
* David Falk (1997)
* Tony Gonzalez (2000)
* Michael Irvin (1998)
* Lincoln Kennedy (2000)
* Barry Larkin
* Dan Marino
* Dan Patrick (1998)
* Emmitt Smith
* Joe Theisman
* Keith Van Horn
* Kristy Wu (1999)
* Jim Edmonds

"Arliss" on other programs

In July 1999, Wuhl also appeared on World Championship Wrestling's "Monday Nitro" in the company's dying days as a guest announcer. 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. The Arliss appearance was panned by fans and wrestling critics, especially because most people didn't know what an "Arli$$" was. Wuhl appeared for cross-promotion as WCW was owned by Time Warner (and "Nitro" aired on TNT), as was HBO. At the time both shows had low ratings, it was apparently hoped that Arliss fans would watch wrestling and vice versa. Wuhl never appeared or mentioned on WCW TV again and the stunt did nothing notable to improve the ratings of either program. 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.

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:


"Arliss" never caught on with viewers and was criticized by many critics. However, the show is a prime example of how HBO differs from traditional networks due to its nature as a network its viewers specifically pay to be able to watch. "Arliss" was cited by so many viewers as the sole reason that they paid for the network that its relatively small fan base was able to keep the show on the air for a lengthy run. [cite web |url= |title=TV 101: They're Not TV Numbers. They're HBO Numbers. - Tuned In - TV Blog - Television Reviews - James Poniewozik - TIME |accessdaymonth=25 February |accessyear=2008 |work=TIME] weal Entertainment Weekly consistently referred to it as one of the worst shows on television. [ [,6115,398606_3%7C32440%7C%7C0_0_,00.html EW's Ken Tucker names 2002's 5 worst TV shows | Arli$$ | Television Commentary | TV | Entertainment Weekly ] ] Many felt that the show was subpar and that the show's frequent use of obscure sports references made the humor something only die-hard sports fans would understand. columnist Bill Simmons repeatedly wrote about how awful he felt the show was, often holding it up as Exhibit A in what the Sports Guy saw as the terrible state of sports shows on TV. Simmons also noted that HBO was forced to reschedule the show because it wasn't able to hold enough viewers before Six Feet Under.


External links

* [ HBO: Arliss]
* [ Jump The Shark - Arliss]

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