Created by
Theme music composerBob James
Opening theme"Angela"
Country of originUnited States
Original languageEnglish
No. of seasons5
No. of episodes114 (list of episodes)
Executive producers
  • James L. Brooks
  • Stan Daniels
  • Ed. Weinberger
  • David Davis
Production locationsStage 23, Paramount Studios, Hollywood, California
Camera setupMultiple-camera
Running time24 minutes
Production companies
Original release
  • ABC (1978–1982)
  • NBC (1982–1983)
ReleaseSeptember 12, 1978 (1978-09-12) –
June 15, 1983 (1983-06-15)

Taxi is an American sitcom that originally aired on ABC from September 12, 1978, to May 6, 1982, and on NBC from September 30, 1982, to June 15, 1983. The series won 18 Emmy Awards, including three for Outstanding Comedy Series. It focuses on the everyday lives of a handful of New York City taxi drivers and their abusive dispatcher. Taxi was produced by the John Charles Walters Company, in association with Paramount Network Television, and was created by James L. Brooks, Stan Daniels, David Davis, and Ed. Weinberger, all of whom have been brought on board from working on The Mary Tyler Moore Show.

For most of the run of the show, the ensemble cast consisted of taxi drivers Alex Reiger (Judd Hirsch), Bobby Wheeler (Jeff Conaway), Elaine Nardo (Marilu Henner), Tony Banta (Tony Danza), and "Reverend" Jim Ignatowski (Christopher Lloyd), along with their dispatcher Louie De Palma (Danny DeVito) and mechanic Latka Gravas (Andy Kaufman).

The show was a critical and commercial success, having been nominated for 34 Emmy Awards and winning 18, including three straight years winning Outstanding Comedy. It has remained in syndicated reruns ever since the series ended.

Premise and themes

The show focuses on the employees who work the night shift at the fictional Sunshine Cab Company, and its principal setting is the company's fleet garage in Manhattan. Among the drivers, only Alex Reiger, who is disillusioned with life, considers cab driving his profession. The others view it as a temporary job.

Elaine Nardo is a single mother working as a receptionist at an art gallery. Tony Banta is a boxer with a losing record. Bobby Wheeler is a struggling actor. John Burns (written out of the show after the first season) is working his way through college. All take pity on "Reverend Jim" Ignatowski, an aging hippie minister, who is burnt out from drugs, so they help him become a cabbie. The characters also include Latka Gravas, their innocent, wide-eyed mechanic from an unnamed foreign country, and Louie De Palma, the despotic dispatcher.

A number of episodes involve a character having an opportunity to realize their dream to move up in the world, only to see it yanked away. Otherwise, the cabbies deal on a daily basis with their unsatisfying lives and with Louie's abusive behavior and contempt (despite being a former cab driver himself). Louie's assistant, Jeff Bennett, is rarely heard from at first, but his role increases in later seasons.

Despite the humor of the show, Taxi often tackles such dramatic life issues as drug addiction, single parenthood, blindness, obesity, dissociative identity disorder, animal abuse, homosexuality, racism, teenage runaways, divorce, nuclear war, sexual harassment, premenstrual mood disorders, gambling addiction, and grief.

Cast and characters


Character Actor Seasons
1 2 3 4 5
Alex Reiger Judd Hirsch Main
Bobby Wheeler Jeff Conaway Main Recurring[a]
Louie De Palma Danny DeVito Main
Elaine O'Connor Nardo Marilu Henner Main
Anthony Mark "Tony" Banta Tony Danza Main
Latka Gravas Andy Kaufman Main
John Burns Randall Carver Main
Reverend Jim "Iggy" Ignatowski Christopher Lloyd Guest Main
Simka Gravas Carol Kane Guest Recurring Main
  1. ^ Conaway is credited alongside the main cast for two episodes, which were held over from season 3, and makes one further appearance credited as a special guest star.
Cast of the debut season (ABC, 1978–79). From left to right: (back) Marilu Henner, Judd Hirsch; (front) Andy Kaufman, Jeff Conaway, Randall Carver, Danny DeVito, Tony Danza
Cast of the final season (NBC, 1982–83). From left to right: (back) Kaufman, Carol Kane, DeVito, Hirsch; (front) Danza, Henner, Christopher Lloyd



Among the many guest stars, Ruth Gordon won an Emmy Award for her guest portrayal of Dee Wilcox in "Sugar Mama" (1979), and Eileen Brennan was nominated for an Emmy for her guest portrayal of Mrs. McKenzie in "Thy Boss's Wife" (1981). Actresses Marcia Wallace and Penny Marshall, psychologist Dr. Joyce Brothers, cookie entrepreneur Wally "Famous" Amos, newscaster Edwin Newman, and ring announcer Jimmy Lennon portrayed themselves in separate episodes.

George Wendt and Ted Danson, who appeared in separate episodes, went on to star in primary Taxi director Jim Burrows' next series, Cheers, as did recurring Taxi performer Rhea Perlman. Tom Selleck and Mandy Patinkin had memorable guest appearances, each constituting one of the memorable fares of Cab 804 (in "Memories of Cab 804: Part 2"), while Tom Hanks portrayed Reverend Jim's college roommate in the flashback episode "The Road Not Taken, Part 1".

WBC world welterweight champion Carlos Palomino appeared in the episode "One-Punch Banta" as himself (season 1, episode 2, original air date September 19, 1978). In that episode, Palomino accidentally punched Danza in the face during a brief fight scene. Allan Arbus, who portrayed US Army psychiatrist Dr. Sidney Freedman in M*A*S*H, played his manager in the episode. Football player-turned-actor Bubba Smith appeared in one episode. Newscaster Eric Sevareid played himself in a fantasy sequence. Martial artist and professional wrestler Gene LeBell played himself in multiple episodes as the referee for Tony Banta's boxing matches. In one episode, Martin Short played a TV network executive who takes advantage of Jim's ability to see glimpses of the future for his own career advancement; in response, Jim demonstrates superior ethical standards along with remarkable cleverness.


Main article: List of Taxi episodes

SeasonEpisodesOriginally aired
First airedLast airedNetwork
122September 12, 1978 (1978-09-12)May 15, 1979 (1979-05-15)ABC
224September 11, 1979 (1979-09-11)May 13, 1980 (1980-05-13)
320November 19, 1980 (1980-11-19)May 21, 1981 (1981-05-21)
424October 18, 1981 (1981-10-18)May 6, 1982 (1982-05-06)
524September 30, 1982 (1982-09-30)June 15, 1983 (1983-06-15)NBC

Awards and nominations

Taxi is one of television's most lauded shows. During its run, the sitcom was nominated for 31 Emmy Awards and won 18, including three for Outstanding Comedy Series. It was also nominated for 25 Golden Globes, with four wins (three for Best TV Series – Musical/Comedy). In 1979, it received the Humanitas Prize in the 30 minute category. It was also ranked 48th in TV Guide's 50 Greatest TV Shows of All Time. In 1997, two of the show's episodes, "Latka the Playboy" and "Reverend Jim: A Space Odyssey" were respectively ranked #19 and #63 on TV Guide's 100 Greatest Episodes of All Time.[9] In 2013, the series was ranked #35 on TV Guide's 60 Best Series of All Time[10] and #19 by the Writers Guild of America on their list of the 101 Best Written TV Series.[11] In 2023, Variety ranked Taxi #75 on its list of the 100 greatest TV shows of all time.[12]

Emmy Awards

Wins in bold

Golden Globe Awards

Wins in bold


Taxi was inspired by the non-fiction article "Night-Shifting for the Hip Fleet" by Mark Jacobson, which appeared in the September 22, 1975, issue of New York magazine.[13] This article helped suggest the idea for the show to James L. Brooks and David Davis, though nothing from the article was used directly.[14] The article was a profile of several drivers who worked the night shift for a New York cab company.

The series was produced on Stage 23 at Paramount Studios in Los Angeles, California, from July 5, 1978, to February 18, 1983.

When the series was cancelled by ABC, it seemed for a time that the premium cable television network HBO would pick up the series. When it did not, the series was picked up by NBC, which at first kept it on at its ABC time slot of Thursday 9:30 p.m following the first season of Cheers. An NBC promo for Taxi's move to the network featured Danny DeVito in character as Louie saying "Same time, better station!"[15]

The taxicabs shown in the show are Checker A11s.

Opening and closing sequence

The opening titles show a Checker cab driving east across the Queensboro Bridge. The footage originally was intended as a "bridge" between scenes and is only about fifteen seconds long; parts of it are repeated to fill the opening. Driving the vehicle is cast-member Tony Danza.[16] The closing version consisted of a cab driving into the night.

Theme music

Bob James wrote the opening theme, "Angela", which had been intended for a sequence in episode #3 ("Blind Date"). The producers liked this slower, more melancholic tune better than the up-tempo opening theme they had originally chosen ("Touchdown"), and were able to make the switch before the first episode aired. Both songs are on James's 1978 album, Touchdown.

It uses the "Sunny" chord progression.[17]

In 1983, James released The Genie, an LP containing much of the incidental music he had written for Taxi during its run.


Reruns of Taxi began airing in syndication in 1983 on 64 television stations immediately after NBC cancelled the program. It has been airing in syndication every year since. The program also aired on Nick at Nite from 1994 to 2001. Taxi currently reruns Sunday nights on MeTV as part of the "Last Laughs" block. Hulu, Pluto and Amazon Prime have all the seasons, but as of February 2023, only Paramount Plus has every episode, including some available with their original music for the first time outside of the original and syndicated runs. In the UK, Taxi aired on BBC1 with repeats airing on Paramount Comedy 2 and CBS Drama. As of 2020, the series has been airing weeknights on Decades (later re-named Catchy Comedy) as part of their “Smart Coms Across The Decades” block (later re-named as the "Smart and Catchy Comedy" block). Decades and Catchy Comedy have also aired Taxi as a "Weekend Binge" (later re-named the "Catchy Binge"), most recently on June 10–11, 2023.

Cast reunions

Danny DeVito hosted an episode of Saturday Night Live (on NBC) soon after Taxi was canceled after the fourth season. During the opening monologue, DeVito read a letter supposedly from his mother asking God to forgive ABC for cancelling the show, adding that "but I'll understand if you don't." A filmed bit had him driving around New York looking morose until inspiration strikes, and he blows up the ABC building. In addition, the Taxi cast members were given an opportunity for closure, which up to that point had been denied for them due to the abrupt cancellation. The actors took their "final" bows during DeVito's opening monologue, only to have NBC (which aired SNL) pick up the show.

Decades later, most of the cast returned to play their younger selves and briefly re-enact scenes for the Kaufman biopic Man on the Moon. Judd Hirsch, Marilu Henner, Jeff Conaway, Carol Kane, Randall Carver, J. Alan Thomas and Christopher Lloyd all reprised their roles. The only two living members of the principal cast who did not were Danny DeVito, who produced and co-starred in the film as Kaufman's manager George Shapiro, and Tony Danza, who at the time of filming was performing in A View from the Bridge on Broadway.[18]

Several of the cast members (along with cast members from other Judd Hirsch and Bob Newhart vehicles) reunited in different roles for an episode of the Judd Hirsch/Bob Newhart series George & Leo.

In January 2009, Danny DeVito mentioned wanting to make a Taxi reunion movie.[19][20][21]

Home media

All five seasons of Taxi have been released from Paramount Home Entertainment. The first three seasons of Taxi were released on DVD in Region 1 between 2004 and 2005. It took almost four years until Paramount released The Fourth Season on September 22, 2009, and The (Fifth &) Final Season on December 22, 2009 (the last two seasons were released through CBS Home Entertainment). As of October 2014, all seasons have been released in Germany (Region 2).

On November 11, 2014, CBS Home Entertainment released Taxi- The Complete Series on DVD in Region 1. All 114 episodes are featured on a 17-disc collection.[22]

DVD Name Ep # Release dates
Region 1 Region 2
The Complete First Season 22 October 12, 2004 April 28, 2008
The Complete Second Season 24 February 1, 2005 February 9, 2009
The Complete Third Season 20 September 13, 2005 TBA[contradictory]
The Fourth Season 24 September 22, 2009 TBA[contradictory]
The (Fifth &) Final Season 24 December 22, 2009 TBA[contradictory]
The Complete Series 114 November 11, 2014 May 30, 2016


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  11. ^ "101 Best Written TV Series". Writers Guild of America West. June 2, 2013.
  12. ^ "The 100 Greatest TV Shows of All Time". Variety. December 20, 2023.
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  14. ^ Jeff Sorensen, The Taxi Book, St. Martin's Press, 1987, p. 3.
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  16. ^ "15 Behind-the-Scenes Facts About Taxi". 12 September 2018. Archived from the original on 1 April 2020. Retrieved 9 February 2020.
  17. ^ Cleary, Tom (2019-11-26). "A history of the chord progression from Bobby Hebb's 'Sunny', and an original tune based on it ('Eye On The Sky')". BirdFeed. Archived from the original on 2024-01-15. Retrieved 2024-01-15.
  18. ^ ""Man On The Moon" shoot starts". 8 August 1998. Archived from the original on 29 January 2015. Retrieved 29 January 2015.
  19. ^ "Danny Devito—Devito Calls For Taxi Movie". Archived from the original on 2010-12-22. Retrieved 2010-02-26.
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