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    Frank Bonner, Brash Salesman on ‘WKRP in Cincinnati,’ Dies at 79

    He played the memorably obnoxious Herb Tarlek for all four seasons of the popular sitcom set at a radio station, and reprised the role on a sequel show a decade later.Frank Bonner, the actor best known for playing Herb Tarlek, the brash salesman with an affection for plaid polyester suits, on the popular television comedy “WKRP in Cincinnati,” died on Wednesday at his home in Laguna Niguel, Calif., south of Los Angeles. He was 79.His daughter, Desiree Boers-Kort, said the cause was complications of Lewy body dementia. He had learned he had the disease, which leads to worsening mental and physical complications, about three years ago.“WKRP in Cincinnati,” seen on CBS from 1978 to 1982, was set at a struggling radio station trying to reinvent itself with a rock format. The cast included Gary Sandy as the embattled station manager and Tim Reid and Howard Hesseman as disc jockeys. Mr. Bonner’s character, the station’s sales manager, was known for his obnoxious behavior, his general incompetence and his garish wardrobe.Loni Anderson, who played Jennifer Marlowe, the station’s super-efficient receptionist — and the frequent object of Herb’s heavy-handed flirting — said in a statement that Mr. Bonner was “one of the funniest men I had the pleasure of working with” and “the nicest man I have ever known.”Ms. Boers-Kort said that Mr. Bonner valued his time acting on “WKRP in Cincinnati” in part because it led him toward the career he preferred: directing. After serving as the director of six episodes of “WKRP,” he went on to direct episodes of more than a dozen other shows in the 1980s and ’90s, including “Who’s the Boss?,” “Saved by the Bell: The New Class” and “Just the Ten of Us” (on which he also had a recurring role).Mr. Bonner reprised the role of Herb on the syndicated sequel “The New WKRP in Cincinnati” in the early 1990s. He was also seen on “Scarecrow and Mrs. King,” “Night Court” and many other shows.Frank Bonner was born Frank Woodrow Boers Jr. on Feb. 28, 1942, in Little Rock, Ark., to Frank and Grace (Delahoussay) Boers, and raised in the city of Malvern. His Hollywood career began in 1967 and picked up steam in 1970 with roles in the film “Equinox” and on the TV series “The Young Lawyers” and “Nancy.” He appeared on “Mannix,” “Police Woman,” “Fantasy Island” and other shows before landing the career-defining role of Herb Tarlek.In addition to Ms. Boers-Kort, his daughter, Mr. Bonner is survived by his wife, Gayle Hardage Bonner. She had been his high school sweetheart in Malvern, his daughter said, and they reunited and eventually wed four decades later. His four previous marriages ended in divorce.His survivors also include two sons, Matthew and Justin; a stepdaughter, DeAndra Freed; seven grandchildren; and a great-grandchild. Another son, Michael, died before Mr. Bonner.Mr. Bonner got a kick out of Herb’s ill-advised wardrobe, his daughter said, because he knew that the character’s style was “one of the things that people loved about him.” She said he kept some of Herb’s distinctive white belts when the show ended.The New York Times contributed reporting. More

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    Comfort Viewing: 3 Reasons I Love ‘Recovery of an MMO Junkie’

    During a pandemic year in isolation, our critic found solace in this anime rom-com about the ways we avoid or ultimately give in to intimacy.At this point, I’m pretty good at faking my way through social interactions. There are no external signs of discomfort, no indications that I spent the route there debating, Hamlet-style, whether or not to bail. No evidence of the way a post-meeting panic attack can start me on an apartment cleaning spree. I’m notorious for my disappearing acts. And my apartment is always spotless. More

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    Stephen Colbert Celebrates America’s New Holiday, Juneteenth

    June 19 is “also known as Macklemore’s birthday, but haven’t Black Americans suffered enough?” Colbert joked on Thursday night.Welcome to Best of Late Night, a rundown of the previous night’s highlights that lets you sleep — and lets us get paid to watch comedy. Looking for more to watch? Here are the 50 best movies on Netflix right now.156 Years LaterStephen Colbert was among those celebrating as Juneteenth became a national holiday with President Biden’s signature on Thursday.“And long overdue,” Colbert said. “Juneteenth commemorates June 19, 1865, the day the last group of enslaved people in America learned about the signing of the Emancipation Proclamation that had taken place two and a half years earlier. Then, it only took 156 more years until the idea finally reached Washington that maybe we should celebrate this.”“My understanding is that they’re giving it the full holiday treatment — a day off, community gatherings, and, one assumes, 50 percent off all Tempur-Pedic California Kings.” — STEPHEN COLBERT“June 19, known by many names. June 19, also known as Macklemore’s birthday, but haven’t Black Americans suffered enough?” — STEPHEN COLBERTColbert and Jimmy Fallon also pointed out that the 14 Republicans who voted against the bill in the House had something in common.“That looks like the white paint sample section at Home Depot: ‘What do you think, honey, should we paint the bathroom Mike Rogers or Thomas Massie?’” — JIMMY FALLON“Ah, yes, it’s the SPF 700 club.” — STEPHEN COLBERTThe Punchiest Punchlines (Walled Off Edition)“There was a big announcement from Texas-governor-and-man-breathing-easier-thanks-to-Allegra Greg Abbott. Abbott says he’s going to solicit donations from the public to fund the construction of Texas’ border wall. Hear me out — it’s about time. Somebody’s got to keep those Texans out of the U.S. Do Florida next!” — STEPHEN COLBERT“That’s right, Texas is building a wall, and New Mexico’s going to pay for it.” — JIMMY KIMMEL“Maybe the wall is to keep Ted Cruz from fleeing to Mexico the next time there’s an emergency.” — JIMMY KIMMEL“OK, so, one state can do its own foreign policy? It reminds me of that famous headline after Pearl Harbor: ‘Delaware Declares Dela-war.’” — STEPHEN COLBERT“Abbott was clear on wanting money and wanting wall, but the other details were pretty fuzzy. As one reporter put it, ‘He says Texans can donate their private land and money to the project, but he can’t say what the project will look like, how many miles will be built or where it will be built.’ So it’s less of a border policy and more of an improv show.” — STEPHEN COLBERTThe Bits Worth Watching“The Daily Show” correspondent Jordan Klepper went inside a Wisconsin rally hosted by Mike Lindell (a.k.a. the My Pillow guy).Also, Check This OutRose Byrne stars in “Physical” as an ’80s woman who finds meaning in aerobics.Apple TV+Rose Byrne stars as a bitter woman who finds inspiration in aerobics on the new 1980s-based Apple TV+ series “Physical.” More

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    Nielsen Introduces New Ratings for Streaming Services

    The company known for measuring television ratings said Netflix and YouTube are far ahead of their digital rivals, but viewers still spend more time watching cable and network TV.Nielsen on Thursday announced that it had moved a step closer toward cracking one of the great questions of the modern entertainment world: How big, exactly, is streaming? More

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    What Is Your Favorite TV Comedy?

    This week the television critics of The New York Times shared their picks for the best American comedies of the 21st century. Did your favorites make the list?Television in the 21st century is an endless buffet, with networks and streamers serving up more tasty offerings than any one person could possibly binge. The array can be overwhelming, so every so often, those of us on the TV desk at The New York Times like to push back from the table and take a broader look at the medium and its most exceptional shows.A couple of years ago, we used the 20th anniversary of “The Sopranos” as an opportunity to assess the best dramas of the previous two decades. This week, we’re taking on comedies.Our list of the 21 best comedies of the 21st century was, like most lists, the product of much discussion, disagreement and negotiation. (In a postscript, we each named our most heartbreaking omissions.) But the result feels like a nice snapshot of the era’s defining shows and of the way cable and streaming has created room for TV comedy to become more idiosyncratic and diverse in its perspectives — a departure from the big-tent network sitcoms (many of them also great) that dominated prime-time in the 20th century.We limited our purview to American sitcoms and sketch shows — so no “Fleabag” or British “Office” or “Schitt’s Creek” — that premiered on Jan. 1, 2000, or later. Beloved comedies that aired this millennium but debuted earlier — “Friends,” “Saturday Night Live,” a hundred others — didn’t qualify. (Anyone still wanting to fight about whether the 21st century started in 2000 or 2001 can do that elsewhere.)Now it’s your turn to let us know: What did we overlook? What do we love too much? What’s your favorite American comedy of the 21st century, and why? As James Poniewozik, The Times’s chief TV critic, wrote in the intro, “We have no absolute answers, only the arguments that resulted in this list.” I’m sure you have plenty of your own, too.What is the best American comedy of the 21st century?Our critics have weighed in. Now it’s your turn. More

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    Late Night Sums Up the Biden and Putin Summit

    “I had a feeling those two weren’t going to make it to the hometown date,” Jimmy Kimmel joked after the leaders cut their meeting short.Welcome to Best of Late Night, a rundown of the previous night’s highlights that lets you sleep — and lets us get paid to watch comedy. Looking for more to watch? Here are the 50 best movies on Netflix right now.Ending Things EarlyPresident Biden’s short, tense meeting in Geneva with President Vladimir V. Putin of Russia was the talk of late night on Wednesday.“I had a feeling those two weren’t going to make it to the hometown date,” Jimmy Kimmel said in a reference to the dating show, “The Bachelor.”“The ‘Boniva in Geneva’ didn’t have to clear a very high bar. It just had to be less embarrassing than the ‘Stinky in Helsinki.’” — STEPHEN COLBERT“That’s right, President Biden and Russian President Vladimir Putin met in Geneva today for about four hours with a few breaks, but no meals because nobody would volunteer to be the food taster.” — SETH MEYERS“Biden went into the day hoping to promote ‘predictability and stability,’ also the name of the most boring Jane Austen novel.” — STEPHEN COLBERT“The meeting was expected to be five hours, but lasted only half that time. Not a great sign when your summit is barely longer than ‘Peter Rabbit 2.’” — JIMMY FALLON“It was pretty much the opposite of the ‘Friends’ reunion.” — JIMMY FALLONThe Punchiest Punchlines (‘Chicken Soup for the Russian Soul’ Edition)“‘In life there is no happiness.’ That’s basically how Russian soccer moms say ‘Live, laugh, love.’” — TREVOR NOAH, on Putin’s quoting Leo Tolstoy in a news conference.“That’s actually an excerpt from Putin’s new book, ‘Chicken Soup for the Russian Soul.’” — JIMMY FALLON“‘There’s no happiness in life’ sounds like the slogan for Russian Applebee’s.” — JIMMY FALLON“You do not want this guy giving a toast at your wedding. [imitating Putin] ‘Congratulations to Jeffrey and Diane. May the specter of happiness haunt you. Now, please have some cake. It is made of vanilla and children’s tears, for what is life but a difficult birth astride a grave? The light gleams for an instant, then it is night once more. Mazel tov!’” — STEPHEN COLBERT“I’m guessing this is probably why Putin isn’t asked to speak at a lot of graduations.” — JAMES CORDEN“There’s another expression that goes ‘If Vladimir Putin gives you pudding, don’t eat it — because it’s probably filled with plutonium.’” — JIMMY KIMMELThe Bits Worth WatchingJames Corden took the cast of “Friends” for a ride around the Warner Bros. studios, ending on their iconic set.What We’re Excited About on Thursday NightSaweetie will perform on Thursday’s “Jimmy Kimmel Live.”Also, Check This OutHBO“Curb Your Enthusiasm,” “Pen15,” and “Atlanta” are among the 21 best comedies of the 21st century (so far). More

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    Trevor Noah: Marjorie Taylor Greene Has a Lot to Learn

    Late-night hosts were unimpressed with the Georgia congresswoman’s apology for comparing pandemic restrictions to the Holocaust.Welcome to Best of Late Night, a rundown of the previous night’s highlights that lets you sleep — and lets us get paid to watch comedy. Looking for more to watch? Here are the 50 best movies on Netflix right now. More

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    Joseph Fiennes Loved the ‘Catharsis’ of the ‘Handmaid’s Tale’ Finale

    In an interview, the actor discussed the end of Season 4, the future of the show and the emotional toll of playing “an ugly, pathetic, misogynist monster.”This interview includes spoilers for the season finale of “The Handmaid’s Tale.”Praise be, at last: Fred Waterford, the inscrutably sadistic commander at the center of “The Handmaid’s Tale,” has met his demise. And Joseph Fiennes, the actor who plays him, couldn’t wait to peel off his skin. More