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Bill Dial

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William Allen Dial (17 June 19432 June 2008; age 64), [1] better known simply as Bill Dial, was a writer, producer and occasional actor who wrote for Star Trek: Deep Space Nine and Star Trek: Voyager. He co-wrote the story (after Jim Trombetta) and wrote the teleplay for DS9: "The Alternate". He then wrote the episode "Tribunal". For Voyager, he wrote the initial teleplay for the first season episode "Eye of the Needle".

He was perhaps best known as a writer and producer on the hit CBS comedy series WKRP in Cincinnati, which revolved around the staff of a struggling radio station. Dial wrote five episodes for this series during its first season (1978-79), the most famous of which was his first, entitled "Turkeys Away." In this episode, WKRP manager Arthur Carlson drops twenty live turkeys from a helicopter over a shopping center as a publicity stunt to promote Thanksgiving. The turkeys plunge to their deaths as shoppers run for their lives, and a shaken Carlson later remarks, "As God is my witness, I thought turkeys could fly." "Turkeys Away" was named by TV Guide as the fortieth greatest episode of any series in television history. [2]

Dial also appeared in two episodes of WKRP, playing the station's beer-drinking engineer, Bucky Dornster. One of those episodes (1978's "Hold Up") featured Hamilton Camp. Dial's only other acting credit was the 1977 feature film, The Lincoln Conspiracy. This drama was directed by James L. Conway and starred John Anderson as the ill-fated Abraham Lincoln. Whit Bissell and veteran Star Trek assistant director Jerry Fleck were also part of the cast.

After WKRP, Dial became executive producer and writer on the short-lived NBC series Harper Valley P.T.A. and Legmen; the latter series starred Bruce Greenwood. Dial was also writer and creative consultant on the CBS' hit 1980s detective series Simon & Simon. He later became a producer (and, later still, a supervising producer) on this series.

In addition, Dial co-wrote and executive produced the 1985 made-for-TV movie Code Name: Foxfire, which later became a short-lived series on NBC. Both the movie and the series starred Star Trek: Enterprise guest actress Joanna Cassidy; the movie was directed by Corey Allen.

Dial also co-wrote and executive produced the 1988 TV movie remake of the film The Absent-Minded Professor. The remake was directed by Robert Scheerer and featured Ed Begley, Jr. in the cast.

Sometime during the 1980s, Dial enlisted future Enterprise guest star Jim Beaver to help create a series for CBS which would depict true stories detailing the bravery of American police officers. Ultimately, however, the show was taken out of Dial's hands and it was turned into the action series Top Cops, which aired on CBS from 1990 through 1993. [3]

Afterward, Dial became a writer and executive producer on the CBS science fiction series E.A.R.T.H. Force, starring Clayton Rohner. The series ran for three episodes in September 1990. Dial then wrote an episode of Burt Reynold's CBS comedy series, Evening Shade.

In 1991, Dial was asked to become an executive producer and writer on The New WKRP in Cincinnati, a follow-up series to the 1970s sitcom which Dial worked on over a decade earlier. The new WKRP aired in syndication for two seasons, from September 1991 through May 1993.

Dial moved on to write an episode of of the syndicated series Time Trax entitled "The Gravity of It All," which ended up guest-starring John Schuck. After his work on Deep Space Nine and Voyager, Dial and one of the writers and producers of those shows, Michael Piller, teamed up to create the 1995 UPN series Legend, which starred John de Lancie. However, this series ended after only twelve episodes, after which Dial joined the writing and production staff of the hit science fiction series Sliders. He worked on this series from 1998 until its end in 2000.

Most recently, Dial was a writer and executive consultant on the Spike TV series 18 Wheels of Justice, which aired for 44 episodes from January 2000 through June 2001. Afterward, he retired from show business and moved to Beaufort, South Carolina, where he died of a heart attack on 2 June 2008. He was 64 years old. [4] [5] [6]

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