Tim Reid

Actor / Producer / Director / Writer


The Academy of Television Arts & Sciences Foundation Presents

02:26

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About
About this interview

In his three-hour remote TheirStory interview, Tim Reid talks about his childhood in Virginia and becoming active in the Civil Rights Movement. He recalls meeting Martin Luther King, Jr. and attending the March on Washington, and speaks of his time at Norfolk State University. He discusses how he partnered with Tom Dreesen to form the comedy duo Tim & Tom, and describes how they developed their act and why they eventually parted ways. He shares how he was cast on The Richard Pryor Show and what it was like to work with Pryor. He recalls how he was cast as "Venus Flytrap" on WKRP in Cincinnati, outlines the changes he brought to the character, and talks about the "Who is Gordon Sims?", "A Family Affair," and "In Concert" episodes of the show. Reid speaks about the show's cancellation and legacy and recounts how he and WKRP in Cincinnati creator Hugh Wilson created Frank's Place. He talks about his research for the show, William Paley's remarks on the program, and how he learned the real reason for the cancellation of Frank's Place. He briefly touches on developing and starring in the CBS drama Snoops, speaks of retiring and then coming out of retirement to work on Sister, Sister, and talks of working with his Sister, Sister castmates. Reid then describes how he started his own studio in Petersburg, VA, talks of launching (during the COVID-19 pandemic) LGCYTV.com, a streaming service designed by and for the African diaspora, and discusses founding the Legacy Media Institute and the importance of training the next generation of filmmakers and storytellers. He offers advice to aspiring film and television professionals, details what production has been like during the COVID-19 pandemic, comments on the value of oral history interviews, and describes a dream project he would love to work on. Adrienne Faillace conducted the interview in partnership with the American Comedy Archives at Emerson College on May 20, 2021.

All views expressed by interviewees are theirs alone and not necessarily those of the Television Academy.

"'What are you saying with the show?' I always thought about it in everything I did. Every joke that Tom [Dreesen] and I wrote, everything that I had the pleasure of writing or producing or being a part of as an actor, I always thought about that. 'What’s my purpose? What am I saying to people like me who stood in front of the black and white television when I was twelve and thirteen, looking to see if I can find a Black face on television that I could relate to?'" 

People Talking About ...
Highlights
Tim Reid on "The First Black President" sketch on The Richard Pryor Show
00:38
Tim Reid on working with Hugh Wilson to create the character of "Venus Flytrap" on WKRP in Cincinnati
02:44
Tim Reid on developing Frank's Place with Hugh Wilson
02:05
Tim Reid on the storylines on Sister, Sister and working with his castmates
01:39
Tim Reid on launching LGCYTV.com, a streaming service designed by and for the African diaspora, during the COVID-19 pandemic and on fostering young talent
07:32
Tim Reid on advice to aspiring film and television professionals
07:54
Full Interview

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Chapter 1

On his childhood and early years growing up in Virginia; on being raised by his mother and grandmother; on meeting Martin Luther King, Jr. and the impact he had on him; on attending the March on Washington and his involvement with the Civil Rights Movement; on graduating from Norfolk State University
On how he got involved with acting and performing; on meeting and becoming comedy partners with Tom Dreesen; on developing a stand-up comedy act with Tom Dreesen and honing their act; on addressing race head-on in his stand-up material with Tom Dreesen; on the end of his partnership with Tom Dreesen
On leaving his day job at DuPont to pursue a career in entertainment; on parting with Tom Dreesen on good terms; on comedians today that push boundaries; on the impact of seeing Richard Pryor, Leslie Uggams, Stevie Wonder, Nat King Cole, and Harry Belafonte on television; on meeting and working with Black performers he'd grown up respecting; on the power of comedy and storytelling
On seeing Richard Pryor perform at Mister Kelly's in Chicago and the impact the performance had on him; on working with Richard Pryor on The Richard Pryor Show; on how the writing on the show worked

Chapter 2

On how he was cast as "Venus Flytrap" on WKRP in Cincinnati; on being told he wasn't "Black enough" in his portrayal of a character on the show Looking Good; on Hugh Wilson being open to his ideas for changes to "Venus Flytrap's" character on WKRP in Cincinnati and fighting for Tim to play the role; on working with Hugh Wilson to create the character of "Venus Flytrap" -- on the character's musical tastes, clothes, earring, and beard
On the "Who is Gordon Sims?" episode of WKRP in Cincinnati and how it impacted the series; on breaking Bob Marley's music in America on WKRP in Cincinnati; on the impact of WKRP in Cincinnati; on writing the episode "A Family Affair"; on the "In Concert" episode about a tragedy at The Who concert in Cincinnati; on the legacy of WKRP in Cincinnati and on the show earning two gold records for breaking music
On developing Frank's Place with Hugh Wilson after Reid had worked on Simon & Simon; on pitching Frank's Place with Hugh Wilson and doing research for the show; on the quality of the show; on William Paley's comments about Frank's Place; on dealing with serious subjects on "The Bridge" and the "Frank Joins the Club" episodes of Frank's Place; on the cancellation and legacy of Frank's Place
On developing and starring in the CBS drama Snoops; on retiring from the industry and then returning to be part of Sister, Sister

Chapter 3

On how he became involved with Sister, Sister; on working with producer Suzanne de Passe; on what he loves about the Netflix show Queen Sono; on the storylines on Sister, Sister and working with his castmates; on fighting with the writers, working with guest stars, and mentoring his younger castmates on Sister, Sister
On learning a valuable lesson from Jack Benny about performing; on learning from those who came before and passing on advice to others; on his respect for and working with Paul Mooney
On starting a studio in Petersburg, Virginia; on producing and shooting the Showtime show Linc's at his studio; on his business model for the studio; on owning a substantial amount of content; on launching LGCYTV.com, a streaming service designed by and for the African diaspora, during the COVID-19 pandemic; on founding the Legacy Media Institute and the importance of training the next generation of filmmakers and storytellers
On advice to aspiring film and television professionals; on production during the COVID-19 pandemic; on missing international travel during the COVID-19 pandemic; on how opportunities in the television industry have changed since he first started in the business; on the value of oral history interviews; on his proudest career achievement; on a dream project he would love to do; on career regrets; on how he'd like to be remembered
Shows

Frank's Place

View Show Page
Tim Reid on developing Frank's Place with Hugh Wilson
02:05
Tim Reid on how he came to develop Frank's Place with Hugh Wilson after Reid had worked on Simon & Simon
02:19
Tim Reid on pitching Frank's Place with Hugh Wilson and doing research for the show; on the quality of the show
01:12
Tim Reid on William Paley's comments about Frank's Place
05:19
Tim Reid on dealing with serious subjects on "The Bridge" and the "Frank Joins the Club" episodes of Frank's Place
04:21
Tim Reid on the cancellation of Frank's Place
04:25
Tim Reid on the legacy of Frank's Place
01:17

Linc's

View Show Page
Tim Reid on producing and shooting the Showtime show Linc's at his Petersburg, Virginia studio
00:33

Queen Sono

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Tim Reid on what he loves about the Netflix show Queen Sono
02:13

Richard Pryor Show, The

View Show Page
Tim Reid on working with Richard Pryor on The Richard Pryor Show
01:04
Tim Reid on how the writing worked on The Richard Pryor Show
03:02
Tim Reid on "The First Black President" sketch on The Richard Pryor Show
00:38

Simon & Simon

View Show Page
Tim Reid on how he came to develop Frank's Place with Hugh Wilson after Reid had worked on Simon & Simon
02:05

Sister, Sister

View Show Page
Tim Reid on coming out of retirement to be part of Sister, Sister
00:30
Tim Reid on how he became involved with Sister, Sister
04:08
Tim Reid on the storylines on Sister, Sister and working with his castmates
01:39
Tim Reid on fighting with the writers on Sister, Sister and on working with guest stars
03:45

Snoops

View Show Page
Tim Reid on developing and starring in the CBS drama Snoops
07:57

WKRP in Cincinnati

View Show Page
Tim Reid on how he was cast as "Venus Flytrap" on WKRP in Cincinnati
04:10
Tim Reid on working with Hugh Wilson to create the character of "Venus Flytrap" on WKRP in Cincinnati
02:44
Tim Reid on the "Who is Gordon Sims?" episode of WKRP in Cincinnati and how it impacted the series
03:50
Tim Reid on breaking Bob Marley's music in America on WKRP in Cincinnati
00:34
Tim Reid on the impact of WKRP in Cincinnati; on writing the episode "A Family Affair" which dealt with race
06:09
Tim Reid on the WKRP in Cincinnati episode "In Concert" about The Who concert in Cincinnati that resulted in the deaths of several attendees
04:09
Tim Reid on the legacy of WKRP in Cincinnati and on the show earning two gold records for breaking music
01:07
Topics

Advice

View Topic
Tim Reid on advice to aspiring film and television professionals
07:54

Censorship / Standards & Practices

View Topic
Tim Reid on writing the WKRP in Cincinnati episode "A Family Affair" which dealt with race
05:39

Characters & Catchphrases

View Topic
Tim Reid on working with Hugh Wilson to create the character of "Venus Flytrap" on WKRP in Cincinnati -- on the character's musical tastes, clothes, earring, and beard
02:44

Civil Rights Movement

View Topic
Tim Reid on attending the March on Washington and his involvement with the Civil Rights Movement
03:13
Tim Reid on addressing race head-on in his stand-up comedy act with Tom Dreesen
06:23

Classic TV series episodes

View Topic
Tim Reid on writing the WKRP in Cincinnati episode "A Family Affair" which dealt with race
05:39
Tim Reid on the WKRP in Cincinnati episode "In Concert" about The Who concert in Cincinnati that resulted in the deaths of several attendees
04:09
Tim Reid on dealing with serious subjects on "The Bridge" and the "Frank Joins the Club" episodes of Frank's Place
04:21

Creative Influences and Inspiration

View Topic
Tim Reid on the impact that comedian Richard Pryor had on him
00:16
Tim Reid on launching LGCYTV.com, a streaming service designed by and for the African diaspora, during the COVID-19 pandemic and on fostering young talent
07:32

Historic Events and Social Change

View Topic
Tim Reid on attending the March on Washington and his involvement with the Civil Rights Movement
03:13
Tim Reid on addressing race head-on in his stand-up comedy act with Tom Dreesen
06:23
Tim Reid on working with Richard Pryor on The Richard Pryor Show
04:05
Tim Reid on being told he wasn't "Black enough" in his portrayal of a character
01:20
Tim Reid on the "Who is Gordon Sims?" episode of WKRP in Cincinnati
03:50
Tim Reid on the impact of WKRP in Cincinnati; on writing the episode "A Family Affair" which dealt with race
06:09
Tim Reid on the representation of a Black couple on Snoops and fighting for the representation he wanted
01:22
Tim Reid on dealing with serious subjects on "The Bridge" and the "Frank Joins the Club" episodes of Frank's Place
04:21
Tim Reid on pitching Frank's Place with Hugh Wilson and doing research for the show; on the quality of the show
01:12
Tim Reid on launching LGCYTV.com, a streaming service designed by and for the African diaspora, during the COVID-19 pandemic and on fostering young talent
07:32
Tim Reid on production during the COVID-19 pandemic
02:04
Tim Reid on missing international travel during the COVID-19 pandemic
01:01
Tim Reid on how opportunities in the television industry have changed since he first started in the business
04:55

Memorable Moments on Television

View Topic
Tim Reid on the WKRP in Cincinnati episode "In Concert" about The Who concert in Cincinnati that resulted in the deaths of several attendees
04:09

Natural Disasters

View Topic
Tim Reid on production during the COVID-19 pandemic
02:04
Tim Reid on missing international travel during the COVID-19 pandemic
01:01

New Media

View Topic
Tim Reid on launching LGCYTV.com, a streaming service designed by and for the African diaspora, during the COVID-19 pandemic and on fostering young talent
07:32

Pivotal Career Moments

View Topic
Tim Reid on the impact that comedian Richard Pryor had on him
00:16
Tim Reid on launching LGCYTV.com, a streaming service designed by and for the African diaspora, during the COVID-19 pandemic and on fostering young talent
07:32

Pop Culture

View Topic
Tim Reid on working with Hugh Wilson to create the character of "Venus Flytrap" on WKRP in Cincinnati -- on the character's musical tastes, clothes, earring, and beard
02:44
Tim Reid on writing the WKRP in Cincinnati episode "A Family Affair" which dealt with race
05:39
Tim Reid on the WKRP in Cincinnati episode "In Concert" about The Who concert in Cincinnati that resulted in the deaths of several attendees
04:09
Tim Reid on breaking Bob Marley's music in America on WKRP in Cincinnati
00:34
Tim Reid on WKRP in Cincinnati earning two gold records for breaking music on the show
00:45
Tim Reid on dealing with serious subjects on "The Bridge" and the "Frank Joins the Club" episodes of Frank's Place
04:21

Representation on Television

View Topic
Tim Reid on working with Richard Pryor on The Richard Pryor Show
04:05
Tim Reid on being told he wasn't "Black enough" in his portrayal of a character
01:20
Tim Reid on the impact of WKRP in Cincinnati; on writing the episode "A Family Affair" which dealt with race
06:09
Tim Reid on the representation of a Black couple on Snoops and fighting for the representation he wanted
01:22
Tim Reid on dealing with serious subjects on "The Bridge" and the "Frank Joins the Club" episodes of Frank's Place
04:21
Tim Reid on pitching Frank's Place with Hugh Wilson and doing research for the show; on the quality of the show
01:12
Tim Reid on launching LGCYTV.com, a streaming service designed by and for the African diaspora, during the COVID-19 pandemic and on fostering young talent
07:32
Tim Reid on how opportunities in the television industry have changed since he first started in the business
04:55

Television Industry

View Topic
Tim Reid on writing the WKRP in Cincinnati episode "A Family Affair" which dealt with race
05:39
Tim Reid on the representation of a Black couple on Snoops and fighting for the representation he wanted
01:22
Tim Reid on the problem of "Hollywood culture"
02:05
Tim Reid on starting a studio in Petersburg, Virginia
03:51
Tim Reid on launching LGCYTV.com, a streaming service designed by and for the African diaspora, during the COVID-19 pandemic and on fostering young talent
07:32
Tim Reid on advice to aspiring film and television professionals
07:54
Tim Reid on how opportunities in the television industry have changed since he first started in the business
04:55
Tim Reid on the value of oral history interviews
02:36

Underrepresented Voices

View Topic
Tim Reid on working with Richard Pryor on The Richard Pryor Show
04:05
Tim Reid on being told he wasn't "Black enough" in his portrayal of a character
01:20
Tim Reid on the impact of WKRP in Cincinnati; on writing the episode "A Family Affair" which dealt with race
06:09
Tim Reid on the representation of a Black couple on Snoops and fighting for the representation he wanted
01:22
Tim Reid on dealing with serious subjects on "The Bridge" and the "Frank Joins the Club" episodes of Frank's Place
04:21
Tim Reid on pitching Frank's Place with Hugh Wilson and doing research for the show; on the quality of the show
01:12
Tim Reid on launching LGCYTV.com, a streaming service designed by and for the African diaspora, during the COVID-19 pandemic and on fostering young talent
07:32
Tim Reid on how opportunities in the television industry have changed since he first started in the business
04:55

Vietnam War

View Topic
Tim Reid on the "Who is Gordon Sims?" episode of WKRP in Cincinnati
03:50

War

View Topic
Tim Reid on the "Who is Gordon Sims?" episode of WKRP in Cincinnati
03:50
Professions

Actor

View Profession
Tim Reid on how he got involved with acting and performing
02:00
Tim Reid on how he got involved with acting and performing
02:00
Tim Reid on teaching his younger castmates valuable lessons about performing on an episode of Sister, Sister (possibly with guest star, Milton Berle)
03:14

Comedian

View Profession
Tim Reid on meeting and becoming comedy partners with Tom Dreesen
04:09
Tim Reid on developing a stand-up comedy act with Tom Dreesen; on honing their act
02:54
Tim Reid on addressing race head-on in his stand-up comedy act with Tom Dreesen
06:23
Tim Reid on the end of his partnership with Tom Dreesen
01:27
Tim Reid on comedians today that push boundaries and the power of comedy and storytelling
08:20
Tim Reid on learning a valuable lesson from Jack Benny about performing
03:15
Tim Reid on learning from those who came before and passing on advice to others
03:49

Executives

View Profession
Tim Reid on starting a studio in Petersburg, Virginia
01:57
Tim Reid on his business model for his Petersburg, Virginia studio and on owning a substantial amount of content
01:53
Tim Reid on launching LGCYTV.com, a streaming service designed by and for the African diaspora, during the COVID-19 pandemic and on fostering young talent
07:32

Performer

View Profession
Tim Reid on learning a valuable lesson from Jack Benny about performing
03:15

Performers

View Profession
Tim Reid on meeting and becoming comedy partners with Tom Dreesen
04:09
Tim Reid on developing a stand-up comedy act with Tom Dreesen; on honing their act
02:54
Tim Reid on addressing race head-on in his stand-up comedy act with Tom Dreesen
06:23
Tim Reid on the end of his partnership with Tom Dreesen
01:27
Tim Reid on comedians today that push boundaries and the power of comedy and storytelling
08:20
Tim Reid on William Paley's comments about Frank's Place and how they impacted him as a storyteller
05:19
Tim Reid on teaching his younger castmates valuable lessons about performing on an episode of Sister, Sister (possibly with guest star, Milton Berle)
03:14
Tim Reid on mentoring his younger castmates on Sister, Sister
02:10
Tim Reid on learning a valuable lesson from Jack Benny about performing
03:15

Writers

View Profession
Tim Reid on William Paley's comments about Frank's Place and how they impacted him as a storyteller
05:19
Genres

Comedy Series

View Genre
Tim Reid on working with Richard Pryor on The Richard Pryor Show
04:05
Tim Reid on how he was cast as "Venus Flytrap" on WKRP in Cincinnati, developing his character, memorable episodes, and the cancellation and legacy of the show
22:45
Tim Reid on developing and pitching Frank's Place with Hugh Wilson, memorable episodes, and the cancellation and legacy of the show
21:05
Tim Reid on how he became involved with Sister, Sister; on working with producer Suzanne de Passe; on the storylines on Sister, Sister and working with his castmates; on fighting with the writers, working with guest stars, and mentoring his younger castmates on Sister, Sister
18:09
Tim Reid on producing and shooting the Showtime show Linc's at his Petersburg, Virginia studio
00:33

Drama Series

View Genre
Tim Reid on developing and pitching Frank's Place with Hugh Wilson, memorable episodes, and the cancellation and legacy of the show
21:05
Tim Reid on developing and starring in Snoops, fights with the network, and cancellation of the show
07:57
People

Harry Belafonte

View Person Page
Tim Reid on the impact of seeing Leslie Uggams, Stevie Wonder, Nat King Cole, and Harry Belafonte on television
00:07

Jack Benny

View Person Page
Tim Reid on learning a valuable lesson from Jack Benny about performing
03:15

Milton Berle

View Interview Page
Tim Reid on teaching his younger castmates valuable lessons about performing on an episode of Sister, Sister (possibly with guest star, Milton Berle)
03:15

Dave Chappelle

View Person Page
Tim Reid on comedians today that push boundaries
01:50

Nat King Cole

View Person Page
Tim Reid on the impact of seeing Leslie Uggams, Stevie Wonder, Nat King Cole, and Harry Belafonte on television
00:07

Walter Cronkite

View Interview Page
Tim Reid on learning the real reason behind the cancellation of Frank's Place
04:05

Tom Dreesen

View Person Page
Tim Reid on meeting and becoming comedy partners with Tom Dreesen
04:09
Tim Reid on developing a stand-up comedy act with Tom Dreesen; on honing their act
02:54
Tim Reid on addressing race head-on in his stand-up material with Tom Dreesen
06:23
Tim Reid on the end of his partnership with Tom Dreesen
01:27
Tim Reid on parting with Tom Dreesen on good terms
01:06

Jackee Harry

View Person Page
Tim Reid on working with his castmates on Sister, Sister
01:15

Lena Horne

View Person Page
Tim Reid on the impact of Lena Horne in his life
00:49

Martin Luther King, Jr.

View Person Page
Tim Reid on meeting Martin Luther King, Jr. and the impact he had on him; on attending the March on Washington
05:30

Bob Marley

View Person Page
Tim Reid on being honored to receive a positive review in Variety alongside reviews of Bob Marley and Chuck Mangione
00:38
Tim Reid on breaking Bob Marley's music in America on WKRP in Cincinnati
00:34

Paul Mooney

View Person Page
Tim Reid on Paul Mooney inviting him to become part of the ensemble comedy troupe for The Richard Pryor Show
01:04
Tim Reid on his respect for and working with Paul Mooney
02:27

Mary Tyler Moore

View Interview Page
Tim Reid on Mary Tyler Moore's reaction to the "Who is Gordon Sims?" episode of WKRP in Cincinnati
00:22

Tia Mowry

View Person Page
Tim Reid on working with his castmates on Sister, Sister
00:16
Tim Reid on teaching his younger castmates valuable lessons about performing on an episode of Sister, Sister (possibly with guest star, Milton Berle)
03:15
Tim Reid on mentoring his younger castmates on Sister, Sister
02:10

Tamera Mowry

View Person Page
Tim Reid on working with his castmates on Sister, Sister
00:16
Tim Reid on teaching his younger castmates valuable lessons about performing on an episode of Sister, Sister (possibly with guest star, Milton Berle)
03:15
Tim Reid on mentoring his younger castmates on Sister, Sister
02:10

William S. Paley

View Person Page
Tim Reid on William Paley's comments about Frank's Place
05:19

Suzanne de Passe

View Person Page
Tim Reid on how he became involved with Sister, Sister
04:08
Tim Reid on producer Suzanne de Passe's strengths
01:51

Richard Pryor

View Person Page
Tim Reid on the impact that comedian Richard Pryor had on him
00:13
Tim Reid on seeing Richard Pryor perform at Mister Kelly's in Chicago and the impact the performance had on him
03:51
Tim Reid on Paul Mooney inviting him to become part of the ensemble comedy troupe for The Richard Pryor Show
01:04
Tim Reid on how the writing worked on The Richard Pryor Show
03:01

Della Reese

View Interview Page
Tim Reid on working with Della Reese
00:07

Daphne Maxwell Reid

View Person Page
Tim Reid on developing and starring in the CBS drama Snoops
07:57

Leslie Uggams

View Interview Page
Tim Reid on the impact of seeing Leslie Uggams, Stevie Wonder, Nat King Cole, and Harry Belafonte on television
00:05

Hugh Wilson

View Interview Page
Tim Reid on Hugh Wilson being open to his ideas for changes to "Venus Flytrap's" character on WKRP in Cincinnati and on fighting for Tim Reid to play the role
02:21
Tim Reid on working with Hugh Wilson to create the character of "Venus Flytrap" on WKRP in Cincinnati -- on the character's musical tastes, clothes, earring, and beard
02:44
Tim Reid on making Frank's Place with Hugh Wilson
05:38

Stevie Wonder

View Person Page
Tim Reid on the impact of seeing Leslie Uggams, Stevie Wonder, Nat King Cole, and Harry Belafonte on television
00:18

All Interviews

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