While lacking the name recognition of fellow sitcom auteurs like Norman Lear, Garry Marshall and James L Brooks, Jay Tarses must be counted among the major voices to emerge in the genre over the last two decades. As a writer-producer, he has worked on some of the most acclaimed sitcoms in recent memory. As few of them lasted more than a season or two, however, a typical Tarses comedy was more likely to be a critical darling or cult favorite rather than a ratings powerhouse. His most characteristic sitcoms, including "Buffalo Bill" (NBC, 1983-84) and "The Days and Nights of Molly Dodd" (NBC, 1987-89; Lifetime, 1989-91), were notable for their wry and rueful qualities as well as a relative lack of sentiment. Tarses' one great commercial (as well as critical) success was as the executive producer and sometimes writer on "The Bob Newhart Show" (CBS, 1972-78), a sitcom more memorable for its eccentric characters and absurd situation than the warm-fuzzies the genre often delivers.