Then and Now

Bob Newhart gets candid on 'The Bob Newhart Show': 'We were the first married TV couple to have a single bed'

When Bob Newhart unveiled his sitcom “The Bob Newhart Show” in 1972, he knew the show would become a classic by breaking boundaries on television.

The series, which featured the stand-up comedian as Chicago psychologist Bob Hartley and his headstrong wife Emily (Suzanne Pleshette), continues to be in syndication even after it came to an end in 1978.

“We were the first married TV couple to have a single bed,” the 88-year-old told Closer Weekly. “I didn’t think it was risky — I just thought it was about time.”

“The Bob Newhart Show” also introduced many other firsts to audiences. The magazine added it introduced TV’s first gay character, a patient of Bob’s played by Howard Hesseman. The series also tackled mental illnesses with the help of some rising Hollywood stars.

“We had John Ritter, Sharon Gless, Loni Anderson, Morgan Fairchild, Pat Morita —and Henry Winkler, before he became the Fonz,” said Newhart. “We all liked and supported one another. It was a wonderful time.”

“The Bob Newhart Show” enjoyed a popular six-season run as part of CBS’ Saturday lineup, which also highlighted other hit shows, including “All in the Family,” “M*A*S*H,” “The Mary Tyler Moore Show,” as well as “The Carol Burnett Show.”

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“We used to call it Murderers’ Row, like the [1927] Yankees [team],” he explained.

Still, Newhart doesn’t regret ending the sitcom while it was still on top.

“I was so proud of the show, and I didn’t want it to get stale,” he said. “It was a tough decision. It’s been a great life and a great ride. And let me say, it’s not over!”