If you’re a fan of classic television, you won’t want to miss the 2008 TV Land Awards tomorrow (Sunday) night. It’s not your typical awards program but, each year, TV Land provides the best opportunity to see stars of television shows of yesteryear. What can you expect to see this time? Well, here are a few of the highlights that make the show worth watching…
At the top of the show, many classic TV stars briefly recreate their iconic roles for a high-flying opening number that’s sung by host Vanessa Williams (Ugly Betty). Tune in to see Barry Williams (The Brady Bunch), Dawn Wells (Gilligan’s Island), Gary Coleman (Diff’rent Strokes), Bernie Kopell (The Love Boat), Ron Palillo (Welcome Back, Kotter), William Katt (The Greatest American Hero), Jimmie Walker (Good Times), Alison Arngrim (Little House on the Prairie), and Jerry Mathers (Leave It to Beaver).
Steve Carell, star of the new Get Smart movie, presents the Pop Culture Award to three of the four actresses from The Golden Girls — Bea Arthur, Betty White, and Rue McClanahan. The fourth, Estelle Getty, has unfortunately been in diminishing health for some time. Golden Girls writer Marc Cherry, who later created Desperate Housewives, is in the audience to cheer on “his girls.”
The cast of Roseanne reunites to receive the Innovator Award from Teri Hatcher (Desperate Housewives). Reuniting for the first time are Roseanne Barr, John Goodman, Sara Gilbert, Michael Fishman, Martin Mull, Johnny Galecki, and both “Beckys;” Alicia Goranson and Sarah Chalke.
Gary Marshall, the creator of an incredible number of hit sitcoms from the 1970s, is honored with the Legend Award. Dick Van Dyke (The Dick Van Dyke Show), Henry Winkler (Happy Days) Jack Klugman (The Odd Couple), Cindy Williams & Marshall’s sister, Penny (Laverne & Shirley), are all on-hand to pay tribute. (In case you’re wondering how Van Dyke fits in, Marshall wrote an episode of the Van Dyke Show and acted in a couple — including the memorable “Gunslinger” episode.)
In a related but separate award, Robin Williams pays tribute to his comic idol, Jonathan Winters. Both starred on another of Marshall’s popular sitcoms, Mork & Mindy. The still-hilarious Winters is handed the Pioneer Award.
NBC’s The Office is given the Future Classic Award by Ed Asner (Lou Grant) and William Shatner (Boston Legal). Steve Carell, Brian Baumgartner, Greg Daniels, Rainn Wilson, Oscar Nunez, Ed Helms, Leslie David Baker, Creed Bratton, and Kate Flannery come to collect.
Mike Myers picks up the Legacy of Laughter Award from his Love Guru co-star, Justin Timberlake, and Lionel Richie receives the Icon Award from Samuel L. Jackson.
Taking part in pre-taped segments are stars like Florence Henderson & Maureen McCormick (The Brady Bunch), Joan Rivers (The Late Show Starring Joan Rivers), Joyce DeWitt (Three’s Company), Lindsay Wagner (The Bionic Woman), Phyllis Diller, Sherman Hemsley (The Jeffersons), and Vicki Lawrence as her cantankerous character from Mama’s Family.
Other performers in attendance include Tina Yothers (Family Ties), Jon Provost (Lassie), Rodney Allen Rippy, Barbara Feldon (Get Smart), Jeff Conaway (Taxi), Kathy Griffin (Suddenly Susan), Gary Owens (Rowan and Martin’s Laugh-In), Kathy Garver (Family Affair), and Jack Larson (The Adventures of Superman).
The Sixth Annual TV Land Awards was recorded last Sunday and we were fortunate enough to be invited to cover the event. While there, we had a chance to talk to a few classic stars and ask them about their iconic shows. We’ll be sharing what we learned very soon so, stay tuned!
Photos courtesy G.R. Kimball, TV Land.