Series DVD cover
|Created by||Robert Wuhl|
I Can't Help Myself by Four Tops (season 1)|
I Only Want To Be With You by Dusty Springfield (seasons 2-7)
|Country of origin||United States|
|No. of seasons||7|
|No. of episodes||80|
|Running time||30 minutes|
|Distributor||CBS Television Distribution (2008-present, non-USA)|
|Original network||Home Box Office|
|Original release||August 10, 1996- September 8, 2002|
Nearly every episode includes one or more notable personalities, primarily from the sports industry (such as athletes, coaches, and broadcasters), appearing as themselves. Oscar-winning actor James Coburn's 2002 appearance in the episode "The Immortal" was his last television performance before his fatal heart attack in 2002.
|First aired||Last aired|
|1||11||August 10, 1996||October 16, 1996|
|2||10||June 17, 1997||August 19, 1997|
|3||13||June 7, 1998||August 30, 1998|
|4||12||June 6, 1999||August 22, 1999|
|5||13||June 4, 2000||September 3, 2000|
|6||10||June 10, 2001||August 12, 2001|
|7||11||June 16, 2002||September 8, 2002|
In July 1999, Robert Wuhl appeared, in character as Arliss, on WCW Monday Nitro as a guest announcer, alongside Scott Hudson and Bobby Heenan. He announced that "the WCW" (sic) would appear on Arliss because none of the Big Three networks would have WCW. Arliss said he was scouting Dennis Rodman, who was doing his third stint with the company. Wuhl's appearance was a cross-promotion for HBO, as both it and WCW were owned by Time Warner. In the Arliss episode entitled "To Thy Own Self Be True", WCW creative head Eric Bischoff guest starred along with wrestlers Lex Luger, Randy Savage and Gorgeous George.
In The Simpsons episode "Half-Decent Proposal", Marge, Patty and Selma are watching TV when an announcer states, "Coming up next on HBO, it's Arliss!" All three then scream and reach for the remote control.
|"||You know the feeling. Someone's about to tell a joke, and you panic. What if you start laughing? Lots of us experience slight loss of bladder control. An embarrassing accident can happen any time. Sometimes, just when laughing. That's why I watch Arliss on HBO Comedy. It's nice to know that, every weekday at midnight, I can sit down with Robert Wuhl and the gang at Arliss Michaels Sports Management, and, a half-hour later, my drawers will be as dry as a bone. And now I know I'll be able to get 100% bladder control whenever I'm feeling insecure. Because all seven seasons of Arliss are now available on DVD. That's over forty hours of keep-your-pants-dry entertainment! So, don't let slight loss of bladder control cramp your style. Watch Arliss, and take back your life. Ask your doctor if Arliss is right for you. Side effects may include nausea, depression, and slight sexual dysfunction.||"|
In the October 4, 2012, episode of 30 Rock, "The Beginning of the End," Kenneth says, in response to Tracy Jordan's marriage having lasted for over 20 years, "That's half as long as it felt Arliss was on TV!"
The show, which ran for seven seasons, has been referred to as an example of how premium cable networks take a different approach to managing their programming, because viewers specifically pay for the network. Arliss was cited by a number of HBO subscribers as the sole reason that they paid for the network, and so its relatively small fan base was able to keep the show on the air for a lengthy run. The show frequently used obscure sports references, further limiting its appeal to a niche audience of sports fans. Entertainment Weekly repeatedly referred to it as one of the worst shows on television, and sportswriter Bill Simmons (who would eventually work for HBO itself under his digital banner The Ringer) used Arliss as an example of what he saw as a lack of quality fictional shows about sports.