Becker is an American sitcom that ran from 1998 to 2004 on CBS. Set in the New York City borough of the Bronx, the show starred Ted Danson as John Becker, a cantankerous doctor who operates a small practice and is constantly annoyed by his patients, co-workers, and friends, and practically everything and everybody else in his world. Despite everything, his patients and friends are loyal because Becker genuinely cares about them. The series was produced by Paramount Network Television.
|Created by||David Hackel|
|Country of origin||United States|
|No. of seasons||6|
|No. of episodes||129 (list of episodes)|
|Running time||approx. 22–26 minutes|
|Distributor||Paramount Domestic Television|
|Original release||November 2, 1998 –|
January 28, 2004
The show revolved around Becker and the things that annoyed him, although the members of the supporting cast also had their moments. The relationships between Becker and Reggie (later, Chris) formed the key plots of many episodes. The show tackled more serious issues as well, such as race, homosexuality, transvestism, addiction, nymphomania, schizophrenia, cerebral AVM, and political correctness.
|First aired||Last aired|
|1||22||November 2, 1998||May 17, 1999|
|2||24||September 20, 1999||May 22, 2000|
|3||24||October 9, 2000||May 14, 2001|
|4||24||October 1, 2001||May 20, 2002|
|5||22||October 6, 2002||April 20, 2003|
|6||13||October 8, 2003||January 28, 2004|
Terry Farrell had asked Paramount to be written out of Star Trek: Deep Space Nine (where she played Jadzia Dax) due to her mistreatment by one of the producers, and later left the show altogether. Soon after, Farrell got the role of Reggie. According to Farrell, the original plan was for Reggie and Becker to have a relationship with romantic tension over the course of the show; the show's ending would be them going on their first date. However, the producers became worried that this would be compared to Sam and Diane's relationship on Cheers, so they backed away from it.
At the end of season four, Nancy Travis was introduced for a short arc playing Chris, Becker's new neighbor. Chris was a cheerful and optimistic character, the opposite of Becker, and would serve as a rival for Reggie. The season ended with a cliffhanger as Reggie kissed Becker and then left. However, Farrell was dropped at the end of season four, which came as a shock to her. Creator and EP David Hackel and Farrell have both stated that it had nothing to do with Farrell supporting the cast in claims for a promised pay raise after season three. Hackel said that Chris and Becker's relationship would "shake things up a bit," which the network wanted, and that, instead of having Reggie do the usual thing and return to patch things up, she would just decide to leave.
The show was offered in syndication between 2003 and 2006, after its network run on CBS ended. In the U.S., the show aired on WGN America until 2010. ReelzChannel added the show in fall 2010. From January 2017 it is on Antenna TV.
CBS DVD (distributed by Paramount) has released all six seasons of Becker on DVD in Region 1. Season 4-6 are Manufacture-on-Demand (MOD) releases, available exclusively via Amazon.com's CreateSpace program.
On June 6, 2017, CBS DVD released Becker: The Complete Series on DVD in Region 1.
In Region 4, Paramount Home Entertainment released the first three seasons on DVD in 2008/2009. In 2013, Umbrella Entertainment acquired the rights to the series and subsequently re-released the first three seasons. Season 4 was released on February 5, 2014. Season 5 and 6 were released in August 2016.
|DVD name||Ep#||Originally aired||Release dates|
|Region 1||Region 4|
|The First Season||22||1998–1999||April 1, 2008||May 1, 2013|
|The Second Season||24||1999–2000||February 3, 2009||July 3, 2013|
|The Third Season||24||2000–2001||January 12, 2010||November 6, 2013|
|The Fourth Season||24||2001–2002||July 3, 2012||February 5, 2014|
|The Fifth Season||22||2002–2003||June 11, 2013||August 3, 2016|
|The Sixth Season||13||2003–2004||December 17, 2014||August 3, 2016|
|The Complete Series||129||1998–2004||June 6, 2017||N/A|
Becker debuted as part of CBS' highly rated Monday night lineup as a midseason replacement for the cancelled sitcom The Brian Benben Show, taking over the timeslot at 9:30 PM Eastern time. The show performed well for its first four seasons, piggybacking off the ratings of its lead-in, Everybody Loves Raymond; in its first four seasons, Becker ranked in the top 20 and peaked at #13.
Despite the ratings wins they were getting with the series, CBS decided to try to find a new home for Becker and relocated the sitcom to lead off its Sunday night lineup. The ratings unexpectedly tanked as Becker fell out of the top 50 in the ratings and CBS was set to cancel the series. The network relented and gave Becker a sixth and last season, but was only willing to order thirteen episodes and intended to air it as a midseason replacement. Once again the network changed its mind and the last season launched in the fall. Moving to Wednesday nights and airing in tandem with former Monday staple The King of Queens, Becker aired its 129th and last episode on January 28, 2004.
|Season||Episodes||Timeslot (ET)||Season premiere||Season finale||Rank||Viewers|
|November 2, 1998||May 17, 1999||#18||13.9|
|1999–2000||24||September 20, 1999||May 22, 2000||#19||15.26|
|2000–2001||24||October 9, 2000||May 24, 2001||#16||16.1|
|2001–2002||24||October 1, 2001||May 20, 2002||#13||16.3|
|2002–2003||22||Sunday 8:00 (Episodes 1-14, 21)
Sunday 8:30 (Episodes 15-20, 22)
|October 6, 2002||April 20, 2003||#51||10.43|
|October 8, 2003||January 28, 2004||#46||10.29|
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