Bruce Fretts
April 07, 1995 AT 04:00 AM EDT

The George Wendt Show

TV Show
Current Status
In Season
George Wendt

We gave it a C

After 11 years on Cheers, George Wendt is as comfortable a TV-room presence as an overstuffed armchair. Too bad his own vehicle, THE GEORGE WENDT SHOW (CBS, Wednesdays, 8-8:30 p.m.), strips the former Norm of any discernible personality traits. Ostensibly inspired by NPR’s Boston-based Car Talk, Wendt’s series — about two grease-monkey siblings with an automotive-advice radio show — is set in Madison, Wis., home of Whad’Ya Know?, another public-radio program that’s much funnier than this CBS dud.

So far the Wendt Show has dealt very little with cars and even less with talk radio. Instead, George and his dopey brother, Danny (Pat Finn), have been sidetracked by plotlines about a gambling night at their old Catholic high school and a flume ride that forced the relocation of their father’s remains. Not exactly fertile ground for comedy. Another episode with a seemingly random topic — proms — was redeemed only by bright cameos from The Brady Bunch Movie’s Jan (Jennifer Elise Cox) and Wendt’s ex-Cheers drinking buddy Paul Willson.

CBS, which hasn’t had a Wednesday-at-8 hit since The Jeffersons in 1979, hopes Wendt can turn the night around the way Kelsey Grammer’s Frasier has boosted NBC on Tuesday. The network has even advertised the lineup as ”Wendt’s Day.” It won’t last long if the show’s ratings — and its writing — don’t improve. C

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