R.J. Fletcher is the main antagonist of the 1989 "Weird Al" Yankovic comedy film UHF. He is the cynical and corrupt leader of VHF Channel 8 who will stop at nothing to shut down Channel 62.
He was portrayed by the late Kevin McCarthy.
Role in the film
George Newman's imagination keeps him and his friend Bob from holding a steady job. Harvey Bilchik wins the deed to Channel 62. Esther speaks him into giving control of Channel 62 to George. George and Bob meet the Channel 62 staff which is made up of Pamela Finklestein, Noodles MacIntosh, a nameless cameraman, and Philo. George attempts to introduce himself to Channel 8, but R. J. Fletcher furiously chases him out. On his way out of the station, he encounters Stanley Spadowski. George offers him a janitorial job at Channel 62.
Though George creates new original programming in an attempt to revive the station's fortunes, ratings stay flat and Bob is determining that Channel 62 is days away from insolvency after going through the station's books. George and Bob stay late at the station brainstorming ways to keep it afloat, which causes George to accidentally stand up Teri on her birthday, causing her to break up with him.
The next day, George despondently walks out in the middle of the live children's show "Uncle Nutzy's Clubhouse", so that he can go to the bar and drown his woes with a drink. He flippantly hands hosting duties to Stanley; "Stanley Spadowski's Clubhouse" becomes a massive ratings smash that saves the station from bankruptcy. Channel 62 finds success with a line up of the weirdest original shows and Spadowski as its flagship star.
Initially, Fletcher dismissively shows reports of the popularity of Channel 62. However, he is extremely angry when he learns of the upstart independent overtaking Channel 8 in the ratings and plots revenge. Bilchik then receives a call from his bookie, informing him that he lost all of his bets on that day's horse race; consequently, Bilchik has $75,000 of gambling debt that he must reimburse within 48 hours. Fletcher offers Bilchik the $75,000 to buy out Channel 62. George learns of the deal and calls his Aunt Esther.
Late that night, the officers of Channel 8 are wiretrapped by Philo, in order to keep tabs on Fletcher and his goons. George tries to take out the most common form of loan capital for a business to cover his uncle's debt and save the station, but to no avail; the bank president denies him the loan while a traitorous thug watches with interest.
George is despondent and worried as to how to raise the money, until he immediately hits on an impressive idea: the station will air a telethon offering the people of the community a chance to buy stock in Channel 62. The goal is to sell 7,500 shares at $10 apiece to the people by 10 PM this Friday evening, and if they succeed, Channel 62 will become a publicly owned station.
Led by Stanley's unlimited energy, the telethon gets off to a quick start but grinds to a suspension of movement after a group of Channel 8 henchman captured him. Eventually, Philo furtively observes Stanley on the screen, therefore officially confirming everyone's suspicions: the Channel 8 news goons abduct Stanley. Fletcher airs an editorial criticizing Channel 62 as counter programming to the telethon, which Philo replaces with a recording of when Fletcher was insulting the townspeople to Teri earlier in the movie through broadcast signal intrusion.
In spite of Stanley's return, the telethon ends with the station $2,000 short of its goal, and Fletcher arrives to pay off Big Louie, but their deal is deliberately caused by the timely arrival of a bum that Fletcher spoke in a scornfully abusive manner earlier in the film, who buys every remaining share, thereby allowing George to pay off Big Louie instead, and Channel 62 is not only saved, it officially becomes a publicly owned company.
The bum later explains to Fletcher that the penny that he mockingly gave him earlier was a rare 1955 doubled die cent worth a considerable fortune, which explains how he could buy the remaining $2,000 worth of Channel 62 shares, while public backlash from the candid video of Fletcher causes the FCC to put an end to the validity of the broadcast license of Channel 8. George and Teri finally rekindle their relationship, while the rest of the employees and fans of Channel 62 celebrate.
- According to "Weird Al" Yankovic, G.W. Bailey and Art Metrano auditioned and were seriously considered for the role of Fletcher, which ultimately went to the late Kevin McCarthy.
- Kevin McCarthy was born on February 15, 1914 in Seattle, Washington, 75 years before the film's release.