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
Marquee/Tollin/Robbins (1998-2002)
DistributorCBS Television Distribution (2008-present, non-USA)
Original networkHome Box Office
Original releaseAugust 10, 1996 –
September 8, 2002
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 overview

SeasonEpisodesOriginally aired
First airedLast aired
111August 10, 1996October 16, 1996
210June 17, 1997August 19, 1997
313June 7, 1998August 30, 1998
412June 6, 1999August 22, 1999
513June 4, 2000September 3, 2000
610June 10, 2001August 12, 2001
711June 16, 2002September 8, 2002

Arliss on other programs

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 HBO, 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:

You know the feeling. Someone's about to tell a joke, and you panic. What if you start laughing? Lots of us experience slight loss of bladder control. An embarrassing accident can happen any time. Sometimes, just when laughing. That's why I watch Arliss on HBO Comedy. It's nice to know that, every weekday at midnight, I can sit down with Robert Wuhl and the gang at Arliss Michaels Sports Management, and, a half-hour later, my drawers will be as dry as a bone. And now I know I'll be able to get 100% bladder control whenever I'm feeling insecure. Because all seven seasons of Arliss are now available on DVD. That's over forty hours of keep-your-pants-dry entertainment! So, don't let slight loss of bladder control cramp your style. Watch Arliss, and take back your life. Ask your doctor if Arliss is right for you. Side effects may include nausea, depression, and slight sexual dysfunction.[3]

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 links

1986 Alaska gubernatorial election

The 1986 Alaska gubernatorial election took place on November 4, 1986, for the post of Governor of Alaska. Incumbent Governor Bill Sheffield, a Democrat who was seeking re-election, was defeated by Steve Cowper in the Democratic primary election on August 26, 1986.In the general election, Democratic state Representative Steve Cowper defeated Republican candidate Arliss Sturgulewski and Alaska Independence candidate Joe Vogler.

1990 Alaska gubernatorial election

The 1990 Alaska gubernatorial election took place on November 6, 1990, for the open seat of Governor of Alaska. In 1989, incumbent Governor Steve Cowper, a Democrat, had announced that he would not seek re-election for a second term.In a rare third-party win in American politics, former Republican Governor Walter Hickel, running on the ticket of the Alaskan Independence Party, defeated Democratic candidate Tony Knowles and Republican candidate Arliss Sturgulewski.

A Man About the House

A Man About the House is a black-and-white British film directed by Leslie Arliss and released in 1947. The film is a melodrama, adapted for the screen by J. B. Williams from the 1942 novel of the same name by Francis Brett Young. A theatrical adaptation by John Perry had played London's West End in 1946, with Flora Robson as Agnes, Basil Sydney as Salvatore, and Ernest Thesiger as Sanctuary. The film was produced by Edward Black and edited by Russell Lloyd, with cinematography by Georges Périnal and music by Nicholas Brodszky.

Alexander Hamilton (film)

Alexander Hamilton is a 1931 American pre-Code biographical film about Alexander Hamilton, produced and distributed by Warner Bros. and based on the 1917 play Hamilton by George Arliss and Mary Hamlin. It was directed by John G. Adolfi and stars Arliss in the title role. It follows the attempts of Hamilton to establish a new financial structure for the United States following the Confederation Period and the establishment of a new Constitution in 1787. It is preserved at the Library of Congress.

Arliss Howard

Arliss Howard (born Leslie Richard Howard; October 18, 1954) is an American actor, writer and film director.

Arliss Sturgulewski

Jane Arliss Sturgulewski (née Wright; born September 27, 1927) is a retired businesswoman and Republican politician from the U.S. state of Alaska. In a political career in which she started appearing in the spotlight in 1975, she represented Anchorage in the Alaska Senate from 1979 to 1993. Twice during off-years in re-election to her four-year Senate term (in 1986 and 1990), she won the Republican nomination for governor of Alaska against mostly conservative opposition in blanket primaries. The second time, in 1990, she came out in third place behind Walter Hickel and runner up Tony Knowles, which was the second of three times in Alaska's history a major-party nominee placed third. She won a 2000 Anchorage Athena award.

Destination Milan

Destination Milan is a 1954 film which consists of three episodes directed by Lawrence Huntington, Leslie Arliss, and John Gilling which first appeared independently of each other on television. The producer was Tom D. Connochie.The 3 episodes of Rheingold Theatre (1953) are introduced by Douglas Fairbanks. Arliss' "Lowland Fling" is a comedic story with Cyril Cusack, John Laurie and Barbara Mullen. Gilling's "The Guilty Person" is a melodrama with Greta Gynt and Peter Reynolds as Karel, a Norwegian artist who murders his brother. Huntington's "Destination Milan" features parallel stories of travellers on the Orient Express - a circus performer's wife with circus agent Christopher Lee, and an American tourist saved from buying a fake painting by intervention of a train guard.

Disraeli (1929 film)

Disraeli is a 1929 American historical film directed by Alfred E. Green, released by Warner Bros. Pictures, Inc., and adapted by Julien Josephson (screenplay) and De Leon Anthony (titles) from the 1911 play Disraeli by Louis N. Parker.The lobby card states, "Mr. George Arliss in his greatest picture Disraeli". His performance as British prime minister Benjamin Disraeli won him the Academy Award for Best Actor in a Leading Role. The story revolves around the British plan to buy the Suez Canal and the efforts of two spies to stop it.As with the original 1911 Broadway play and its 1917 revival, and the 1921 silent film, Arliss' wife Florence appeared opposite him in the role of Disraeli's wife, Mary Anne (Lady Beaconsfield).

Doctor Syn (film)

Doctor Syn is a 1937 British black-and-white historical dramatic adventure film, directed by Roy William Neill for Gainsborough Pictures. It stars George Arliss (in his last feature film), Margaret Lockwood, Graham Moffatt and Ronald Shiner. The film is based on the Doctor Syn novels of Russell Thorndike, set in 18th century Kent. The character of Syn and the events at the film's climax were both softened considerably in comparison to Thorndike's original story.

George Arliss

George Arliss (10 April 1868 – 5 February 1946) was an English actor, author, playwright and filmmaker who found success in the United States. He was the first British actor to win an Academy Award – which he won for his performance as Victorian era British Prime Minister Benjamin Disraeli in Disraeli (1929), as well as the earliest-born actor to win the honour.

Hamilton (play)

Hamilton is a 1917 Broadway play about Alexander Hamilton, written by Mary P. Hamlin and George Arliss. It was directed by Dudley Digges and stars Arliss in the title role. It follows the attempts of Hamilton to establish a new financial structure for the United States following the Confederation Period and the establishment of a new Constitution in 1787.

Mary Hamlin, then a 46-year-old high society woman and mother of four, claimed that playwriting was her "secret desire."In 1931, the film Alexander Hamilton was released. It was based on Hamlin's play and Arliss reprised the title role.

Leslie Arliss

Leslie Arliss (6 October 1901, London – 30 December 1987, Jersey, Channel Islands) was an English screenwriter and director. He is best known for his work on the Gainsborough melodramas directing films such as The Man in Grey and The Wicked Lady during the 1940s.

Love Story (1944 film)

Love Story is a 1944 British black-and-white romance film directed by Leslie Arliss and starring Margaret Lockwood, Stewart Granger, and Patricia Roc. Based on a short story by J.W. Drawbell, the film is about a concert pianist who, after learning that she is dying of heart failure, decides to spend her last days in Cornwall. While there, she meets a former RAF pilot who is going blind, and soon a romantic attraction forms. Released in the United States as A Lady Surrenders, this wartime melodrama produced by Gainsborough Pictures was filmed on location at the Minack Theatre in Porthcurno in Cornwall, England.

Saints and Sinners (1949 film)

Saints and Sinners is a 1949 British comedy drama film directed by Leslie Arliss and starring Kieron Moore, Christine Norden and Sheila Manahan. The film follows life in small Irish town, where a man is wrongly accused of theft.

The Devil (1918 Hungarian film)

The Devil (Hungarian: Az ördög) (1918) is a Hungarian film directed by Michael Curtiz. The film was remade for American audiences by James Young in 1921, starring George Arliss in his film debut.

The Farmer's Wife (1941 film)

For other works by the same name, see The Farmer's Wife (disambiguation)

The Farmer's Wife is a 1941 British drama film directed by Norman Lee and Leslie Arliss and starring Basil Sydney, Wilfrid Lawson and Nora Swinburne. It is based on the play The Farmer's Wife by Eden Phillpotts which had previously been adapted by Alfred Hitchcock for a 1928 film of the same name.

The Green Goddess (1930 film)

The Green Goddess is a 1930 American Pre-Code film directed by Alfred E. Green. It was a remake of the 1923 silent film, which was in turn based on the play of the same name by William Archer. It was produced by Warner Bros. using their new Vitaphone sound system, and adapted by Julien Josephson.

It stars George Arliss, Alice Joyce (in her final film role), Ralph Forbes and H.B. Warner. Arliss and Ivan F. Simpson played the same parts in all three productions, while Joyce reprised her role from the earlier film. Arliss was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Actor in a Leading Role for his performance.

The Man Who Played God (1932 film)

The Man Who Played God is a 1932 American pre-Code drama film directed by John G. Adolfi and produced by Darryl F. Zanuck. George Arliss stars as a concert pianist embittered by the loss of his hearing who eventually finds redemption in helping others; it also features a then little-known Bette Davis as the much younger woman in love with the protagonist.

Warner Bros. promoted the film as an example that studios could produce motion pictures of social and moral value without the oversight of non-industry agents. It was modestly successful at the box office and was among Arliss' most popular films.

The film was a remake of a 1922 silent film of the same name, also starring Arliss, ultimately based on a 1912 short story by Gouverneur Morris. In 1955 it was again revived as Sincerely Yours with Liberace.

The Wicked Lady

The Wicked Lady is a 1945 film directed by Leslie Arliss and starring Margaret Lockwood in the title role as a nobleman's wife who secretly becomes a highwayman for the excitement. The film had one of the top audiences ever for a film of its period, 18.4 million. It was one of the Gainsborough melodramas, a sequence of very popular films made during the 1940s.

The story was based on the novel The Life and Death of the Wicked Lady Skelton by Magdalen King-Hall, which in turn, was based upon the (disputed) events surrounding the life of Lady Katherine Ferrers, the wife of the major landowner in Markyate on the main London–Birmingham road.

The film was loosely remade by Michael Winner as The Wicked Lady in 1983.

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