TV & Showbiz

TV’s Greatest Unexpected Moments

Cable network TV Land just wrapped up their countdown of the 100 Most Unexpected TV Moments, as selected by TV Guide. The list of moments is sure to bring back lots of happy memories, and I was happy to see clips from popular game shows make the list.

The 19th most unexpected moment, for instance, came on down in a 1977 episode of “The Price is Right,” in which the legendary Johnny Olson calls the name of a contestant dressed in a tube top. What happened next is something fans of the show remember to this day:

As Bob Barker puts it when telling this story, “She came on down and they came on out.”

But the number one pick was one of the greatest series finales in television history. The year was 1990, and the show was “Newhart.” Bob Newhart starred as Dick Louden, proprietor of a Vermont inn. In the final scene of the last episode, Newhart suddenly wakes up in a familiar bedroom setting in Chicago: suddenly, we realize that the entire eight years in New England was a weird dream, and he’s really Dr. Bob Hartley from the original “Bob Newhart Show.” He turns to his wife, played on “Newhart” by Mary Frann, to tell her about the dream, and the audience cheers when they see that it’s Susanne Pleshette, who played wife Emily on his original show.

It was a great way to wrap up one good series while saluting an even better one.

The weeklong series even wrapped up with what they apparently intended to come across as an unexpected moment, when their “experts,” a mix of A-list, B-list and F-list celebs were asked the ultimate in stupid questions: “What makes for a great unexpected TV moment?”

Walter Cronkite, 89, proved that his mind is still as sharp as a tack: “Well, hell, that’s your answer right there: it’s unexpected.” I wonder if CBS has thought of bringing him back to anchor their news. I’d watch.


  1. After all these years, “Uncle” Walter is still a hero of mine. And I was delighted to see my favorite WKRP moment on the list.- Karen

  2. You know; I’d watch him too (Walter Cronkite). He reported the news with dignity – can’t say that for too many these days. Not sensationalism but just the news.


  3. Bob and I used to love both of the Newhart shows. We were watching the last episode of the Newhart Show, when I had dozed off on the couch and awoke to Bob laughing hysterically telling me that I should have seen that! Needless to say we didn’t have DVR or TIVO back then, and I had to wait for the re-run in the summer to see it for myself. It wasn’t as funny knowing the ending, but still enjoyable none the less.

    I’m going to have to look for TV’s Greatest to play again and watch it for myself. Thanks for the heads up.

    Auntie Lyn

  4. That Newhart moment I can remember to this day. Absolute shock. Never saw that coming. And after realizing I saw what I saw, I laughed for a long time.

    And I’d watch Cronkite too.

  5. Hi Patrick

    I just finished watching that about an hour ago, and considered writing an entry about it! I love the classic comedy shows so much and usually try to catch the retrospectives as well. TV Land is on all the time in my home. They had several of my favorite moments. “Melrose Place” “Mash” and of course, “Newhart.”

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Patrick is a Christian with more than 29 years experience in professional writing, producing and marketing. His professional background also includes social media, reporting for broadcast television and the web, directing, videography and photography. He enjoys getting to know people over coffee and spending time with his dog.