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Andy Richter Controls the Universe
Title card
Created by Victor Fresco
Starring Andy Richter
Paget Brewster
Jonathan Slavin
James Patrick Stuart
Irene Molloy
Country of origin United States
Original language(s) English
No. of seasons 2
No. of episodes 19 (list of episodes)
Running time 20–22 minutes
Production company(s) Garfield Grove Productions
20th Century Fox Television
Paramount Television
Distributor CBS Television Distribution (U.S.)
20th Century Fox International Television (Global)
Original channel Fox
Picture format 4:3 SDTV
16:9 HDTV
Original release March 19, 2002 (2002-03-19) – January 12, 2003 (2003-01-12)

Andy Richter Controls the Universe is a sitcom which aired from 2002–2003 on the Fox network. The series was Andy Richter's first starring role after leaving NBC's Late Night with Conan O'Brien in 2000.

It ran for two seasons, totaling nineteen episodes, and was canceled due in part to poor ratings. The show was a joint production of Garfield Grove Productions and 20th Century Fox Television in association with Paramount Television. CBS Television Distribution, a parallel successor to Paramount, has distribution rights to the series in the United States while Fox retains global distribution rights.

TV Guide included the series in their 2013 list of 60 shows that were "Cancelled Too Soon".[1]


The surnames of the characters are very rarely mentioned - with the exception of Andy, most are only mentioned once in the entire series.

Andy Richter[edit]

The character, sharing his name with the actor, is an aspiring writer living in Chicago who wants to write short stories. However, he is forced to work as a technical manual writer for Pickering Industries, the fifth largest company in America, to pay the bills. Andy is shy and not good with women. He doesn't really want to be working at the company, though he is very good at his job.

Jessica Green[edit]

Played by Paget Brewster, Jessica worked with Andy for years before she became the head of Andy's department, and thus, his boss. They tried dating once, but it didn't work out. She often has to act as an intermediary between her superiors, and Andy and his co-workers, forcing her to take sides. She is fairly superficial when it comes to men.


Played by James Patrick Stuart, Keith is Andy's best friend and co-worker and one usually sticks-up for the other. He is the handsome guy in the office who has things handed to him because he's good-looking.

Wendy McKay[edit]

Played by Irene Molloy, Wendy is the receptionist at Andy's office. As of the pilot, she had only been working there a month. Andy is attracted to her, but found out that since he had not made a move in a month, Keith has started to date her.

Byron Togler[edit]

Played by Jonathan Slavin, Byron is a new illustrator who moves into Andy's office, which causes Andy annoyance in the pilot episode. Byron is fairly insecure and shy.

Other characters[edit]

Pickering Industries is founded by Mr. Pickering (John Bliss) in 1880. Despite being over 170 years old, and dead, he appears in several episodes and has discussions with Andy within his imagination. His viewpoints are typically antiquated and contrary to political correctness to an extreme degree. His comments often seem to represent a negative aspect of Andy's mind, such as guilt, or self-doubt.

Teak (Charlie Finn) and Phil (Sean Gunn) live in the same building as Andy. They had been members of the same fraternity as Andy, ten years after Andy was a member. As such, they look up to him. It is hinted that Phil might be homosexual.

Guest appearances[edit]

Conan O'Brien appears as Pickering's new CEO in the episode "Crazy in Rio." Other stars to have guest roles include Cedric Yarbrough, Jon Cryer, Molly Sims, Beth Littleford, Rick Peters, Bree Turner, Jarrad Paul, Rex Lee, Lola Glaudini, and June Lockhart, who plays Andy's grandmother.


Season Episodes Originally aired Viewers
(in millions)
Season premiere Season finale
1 6 March 19, 2002 (2002-03-19) April 23, 2002 (2002-04-23) 7.4[2] #91[2]
2 13 December 1, 2002 (2002-12-01) January 12, 2003 (2003-01-12) 7.0[3] #111[3]


The series' plots were fairly typical of sitcoms with Andy getting himself into a situation and having to find a solution. The unique aspects were several unusual devices that defined the show.

First was Richter's voiceover which essentially narrated the plot, as well as Andy's thought processes in each episode. Secondly, and connected to the first was Andy's imagination, which was presented onscreen as if it were reality until it was revealed in a smash cut accompanied by the sound of rewinding audio tape. This is often used to demonstrate alternatives to what actually happened for a given event.

A theme of the show which uses these techniques was its original working title, Anything Can Happen; a thought which Richter imparts to the audience in the narration of the opening teaser of the series premiere.


Although canceled after two mid-season runs (totaling 19 episodes), reruns currently air on HDNet. It was also shown on the Paramount Comedy Channel, the Irish network TV3 and on the Polish edition of Comedy Central.

The outside shots of Andy's office are taken from the Duke & Duke building from Trading Places.

DVD release[edit]

On March 24, 2009, CBS DVD (distributed by Paramount) released all 19 episodes of Andy Richter Controls the Universe on DVD in Region 1.[4]

20th Century Fox Home Entertainment holds the international DVD rights, but has yet to make a release anywhere.

DVD Name Ep # Release Date Additional Information
Andy Richter Controls the Universe: The Complete Series 19 March 24, 2009
  • Audio commentaries
  • How Andy Richter Controlled the Universe featurette
  • What if Andy Richter Controlled the Universe featurette


All music from the show was written by Greg Burns, Jeff Burns, and Brian Kirk. The theme song is sung by Jason Cropper, the original guitarist for Weezer. The song was written for the show, and there is not a full version beyond the short clip in the beginning. However, a slightly longer version of the song is evident on the pilot episode.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Roush, Matt (June 3, 2013). "Cancelled Too Soon". TV Guide. pp. 20 and 21
  2. ^ a b "How did your favorite show rate?". USA Today. May 28, 2002. Retrieved May 13, 2015. 
  3. ^ a b "Rank And File". Entertainment Weekly Published in issue #713 Jun 06, 2003. June 6, 2003. Retrieved May 13, 2015. 
  4. ^ TV Shows on DVD

External links[edit]

Original courtesy of Wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Andy_Richter_Controls_the_Universe — Please support Wikipedia.
This page uses Creative Commons Licensed content from Wikipedia. A portion of the proceeds from advertising on Digplanet goes to supporting Wikipedia.
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184 news items

Latin Post

Latin Post
Mon, 04 May 2015 09:32:33 -0700

Brewster also starred in the short-lived but very comical "Andy Richter Controls the Universe," which starred longtime Conan O'Brien sidekick Andy Richter, back in 2002. She also opened up about working with the showrunner, Dan Harmon. ADVERTISING.
Wed, 25 Mar 2009 23:00:39 -0700

Debuting in 2002, Andy Richter Controls the Universe provides a seamless bridge between fellow workplace comedies NewsRadio (last episode: 1999) and The Office (premiered: 2005). Richter took a big step forward from NewsRadio by transitioning from a ...
A.V. Club Austin
Tue, 24 Mar 2015 22:03:45 -0700

There's never been a better time to be a sitcom protagonist with your head in the clouds. Ever since Flight Of The Conchords cracked open the door that Louie blew right off its hinges (leaving poor Andy Richter Controls The Universe to stand by and ...


Thu, 16 Apr 2015 10:37:30 -0700

But his unique blend of irreverent madness would slowly build a dedicated fan base. It was in these years, while still hosting Late Night, that he seemed to regularly pop up on friend's television shows, from Spin City to Andy Richter Controls the ...

TV Media Insights

TV Guide
Mon, 10 Nov 2014 09:24:11 -0800

Brewster's lengthy TV resume includes Criminal Minds (which she returned to last season for one episode), Friends, Andy Richter Controls the Universe, Huff and American Dad. More recently, she was seen on Drunk History and Key and Peele.

Daily Nebraskan

Daily Nebraskan
Mon, 16 Feb 2015 01:22:30 -0800

From “Andy Richter Controls the Universe” creator Victor Fresco, “Better Off Ted” is about Ted Crisp (Jay Harrington), the crowd-pleasing head of research and development at Veridian Dynamics, a mega-corporation in the same vein as Apple or Halliburton.
Huffington Post (blog)
Wed, 08 Apr 2009 00:00:00 -0700

"He actually in a very sort of endearing way spoke of the role in the third person," says Richter who is promoting the DVD release of Andy Richter Controls The Universe:The Complete Series ($39.98; Paramount), a 2002 sitcom invariably referred to as a ...


Yahoo News
Mon, 16 Mar 2015 12:01:56 -0700

Brewster is probably best known for her long stint on Criminal Minds, but she's done much of her best work as a bristlingly intelligent comic actor, both on stage and in TV shows ranging from the wonderful Andy Richter Controls the Universe to Adult ...

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