In the entertainment industry, writer/director/producer Hugh Wilson's name is synonymous with comedy, though in the late '90s, he turned to more dramatic subject matters. Although Wilson spent the latter part of his 20-plus-year career primarily involved in feature films, such as the hit First Wives Club (1995) (starring Goldie Hawn, Bette Midler, and Diane Keaton), Wilson is perhaps best known for his television work, notably as the creator and executive producer of the hilarious sitcom WKRP in Cincinnati (1978-1982) and the Emmy-winning comedy/drama Frank's Place which he created with former WKRP star Tim Reid.
A native of Miami, Wilson started out working as a major contributor to a newsletter for the Armstrong Cork corporation. There he met Jay Tarses and Tom Patchett. Years later, Tarses and Patchett became comedy writers for The Bob Newhart Show. Remembering that Wilson too shared a similar gift for comedy writing, they invited him to join their team. By that time, Wilson was working with an advertising firm in Atlanta. He accepted the offer and soon was writing for the classic comedy with his former colleagues. Wilson also wrote for other shows, proving he had a knack for the medium, and in the mid-'70s became a producer of The Tony Randall Show. In 1978 Wilson agreed to create a new sitcom for MTM helmer Grant Tinker. Basing the premise upon his experiences in radio and advertising in Atlanta, Wilson came up with WKRP. Set in a failing radio station, it chronicled the colorful lives of eight members of the station as they tried to cope with changing the format from elevator music to Top 40 rock & roll. Not only did Wilson create and produce the show, he also served as its head writer.