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Hot in Cleveland: Could the Show Survive Without Betty White?

Hot in ClevelandThere’s not much question about why viewers tuned in to see the premiere episode of Hot in Cleveland. That would be a certain 88-year-old woman named Betty White. It turns out that she isn’t really tied to the show’s future. Could the sitcom continue without her?

Hot in Cleveland is TV Land’s new original series that stars sitcom veterans Valerie Bertinelli, Wendie Malick, Jane Leeves, and Betty White. The three younger women star as ladies from L.A. who are on a flight bound for Paris, but get stranded in Cleveland. They find that they’re more appreciated by the men in the Midwest and decide to stay. They move into a house that comes with a sassy caretaker (White).

Originally, White was only set to be in the pilot episode. But, once her star got white hot earlier this year, TV Land worked to find a way to make her a series regular. They offered the octogenarian a less rigorous shooting schedule and other incentives. As White told Entertainment Weekly, “They were making all these concessions where I felt like a heel if I said no… So I guess, let’s face it: I’m easy.”

White agreed to appear in all ten of the first season’s episodes, yet isn’t obligated to return if or when there’s a second season. Most actors get locked into multiple season contracts but that’s not the case here.

The premiere attracted 4.75 million viewers, the largest audience in TV Land history. Episode two fell to 3.37 million but that’s still number that makes the cable channel execs very happy. Unless the ratings keep falling, it looks likely that the series will be renewed. Endemol recently made a deal to distribute the series internationally.

TV Land will surely want to hold onto White if they can but will have to negotiate a new contract for season two. Will the cable channel be able to afford her? At her age, will she want to do it?

What do you think? Could Hot in Cleveland survive without Betty White? If necessary, would you sacrifice Bertinelli, Malick, or Leeves to keep her?

 

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{ 16 comments… read them below or add one }

Justin November 3, 2010 at 10:13 pm

I laugh every time I read someone comparing this show to The Golden Girls, as a modern or late-day Golden Girls. Nothing is funny about Hot in Cleveland, and the comparison only serves to illuminate how far the bar has been lowered in regards to good quality tv programs, specifically sitcoms. I have sat through this show 3 times (3 is enough), and I barely ever chuckled. I have put in a dvd of Mister Ed and in one 25 minute show I find myself laughing out loud frequently. The same with Golden Girl shows which I have even seen 4 or 5 times over.
This isn’t the case with Hot in Cleveland.
Scripts are weak and punch lines are predictable. Simple as that.
By the way, I am 35 years old.

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kelly November 3, 2010 at 5:35 pm

yeah!!!!!!!!!!! I love it Hot in Cleveland is on for another season..

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Alyce Hutchison-Doss October 23, 2010 at 8:12 pm

I, my husband and our friends love this show. It is the funniest show on television, so much like the old shows we use to enjoy. Please leave it on. If Betty White continues, that’s great but the other 3 are hysterical too. It is catching on. During the last season I mentioned it to everyone and each person got hooked on it, just as we did. Please keep it on. Thanks

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LGB September 4, 2010 at 6:27 am

I doubt that it could work, what makes the show special is the relationship between all 4 women. To prove how much removing one cast member can effect a show… compare the success of Golden Girls to the failure of Golden Palace. One cast member left, the show went to hell. When you have an ensemble cast like these sitcoms do you have to keep that group together as long as you can or the show will die

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Annabeth August 18, 2010 at 12:51 pm

TV Land has been deleted from my line-up of shows and my list gets smaller and smaller. I used to LOVE it when it was in its original form like the poster above said. I Love Lucy, All In The Family, Leave It To Beaver, all those old classics were what I thought the channel was all about. Then they started adding newer shows and those IGNORANT “reality” shows and thats when I said no more, I don’t even want to see it channel surfing. So I deleted it. What a shame becase years ago it was my favorite channel. Valerie Bertinelli has never graduated from her character on ODAAT over the years so I suspect her role on this is no different, but Betty White is no doubt the ratings controller on this show. If TV Land had ANY sense they would drop all this garbage and go back to the original line up of the older shows and then I’ll gladly put them back on my selections. I’m down to 5. TV just stinks these days, plain and simple.

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David August 16, 2010 at 8:19 am

There are many things to like about Hot In Cleveland, and, correctly so, many have been written about here, and on other blogs,,, but have you ever noticed how sitcom veterans Valerie Bertinelli, Wendie Malick, and Jane Leeves seem at times to be just enjoying themsleves doing the show. Why? Watch closely. You can see that they admire and seem amazed at Betty White’s comedic timing, rich with the great kinda nice, sorta Sue Ann Nivens (from the Mary Tyler More show) but really wicked put-down lines she delivers – always with that sweet smile of hers, eg., “would everyone who has a boy friend please hold up their hand,,,” line in a recent episode. She’s a raucous mix of the Sue- Ann character and the way too sweet lovable air head on Golden Girls. I think stars Bertinelli, Malick, and Leeves see this, and as I observed, they love her, admire her, and respect her talent. How refreshing.

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Kathy July 23, 2010 at 9:35 am

I agree with you Chris. I love the show, but, I think it would do well still if Betty White didn’t return. I would love to see her return, but I think the other three actresses are very strong and would do just as well with our without her. She is great, and I love watching her, so I hope she will return.

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BJ September 7, 2010 at 1:46 pm

I c an’t find this show in my tv guide in the paper on my TV. What channel day and time can I see this show in CA.? I caught the promo this summer on the East coast. But I can’t find it here in LA.

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Betsy Jacobson July 11, 2010 at 5:34 am

I think Betty White should survive without the show which we think is awful. It’s a latter day Golden Girls. 3 ladies and an older lady. Original? No.

And the writers of the show need to be very careful about the drugs they mention. One of the ladies said she takes Cclebrex. That’s the dangerous drug that can cause heart attacks. Not very bright!

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Doug July 6, 2010 at 12:14 am

TV Land has been RUINED for a long time now, for me anyway. The original idea was a great one. To show older TV shows that were very popular at one time anyway. People really loved that format. Shows like Andy Griffith, I Love Lucy, Leave It To Beaver, Dennis The Menace”, Sanford & Son, Good Times, etc…

Some other BAD TV shows ruining the channel:

Boston Legal
Just Shoot Me
Roseanne
Scrubs
The Beverly Hillbillies

Now the good programs are either GONE or not on all that much. They were replaced with their IDIOTIC reality shows, The Cougar
Extreme Makeover: Home Edition
First Love Second Chance
High School Reunion
How’d You Get So Rich?
She’s Got The Look
etc and so on…!!!!

I hope the network goes broke showing their IDIOTIC lineup…!!!

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Teah July 5, 2010 at 11:56 am

I love Betty White; and even though I’m only 23, when I was growing up, I loved watching The Mary Tyler Moore show and Golden Girls when channels would play the syndicated episodes. However, I don’t think that she’s going to be the only reason that the shows successful. Having her attached to the show is most likely the reason why it got so much press/publicity; but Jane Leeves, Wendie Malick and Valerie Bertinelli we’re all incredible on their previously successful shows, and from what I’ve heard, they all have amazing chemistry with each other on this one. I haven’t seen it yet, since I’m in Canada, it doesn’t premiere until tonight on Global; but I’m extremely excited to check it out. I’m hoping it’s really good, I’m so pumped to see Jane Leeves on a new series every week.

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Amy July 4, 2010 at 8:04 pm

This is my new favorite show. Love Betty White and also love Jane Leeves! (BTW, they all look great! It is especially nice to see women over 45 on tv who still have long hair and also to see women who look better than most 30 something actresses! It is quite refreshing!

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chris July 2, 2010 at 12:16 am

i’m watching in ireland (illegally!)
the show is going to labour to bring betty white into it ever week, the girls are the story.
happy if she stays but not at the expense of a story assuming the characters grow to such a degree.
the show is good my GF loves it,

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Jeremy July 1, 2010 at 10:58 pm

I don’t see there being much of a contract issue with Betty returning for another season either. She comes off as a VERY polite, reasonable and unselfish person, so she probably won’t demand a ton of money to be kept around. I think Betty has so many fans because of her kind nature and would hate to lose any fans because of something as petty as greed.

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Roberta July 1, 2010 at 5:22 am

If I had to sacrifice one of the girls to keep Betty I certainly would. I would probably opt to keep Valerie and Wendy and let Jane go, however, I would love to see all four of them stay together. This show is really, really funny.

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phil June 30, 2010 at 8:44 pm

Ehh, I think they’ll need all four to make it work, it’d flow a little bit less well if only the three were there. They could probably try to pull it off, but still, Betty white sort of gives me a reason to tune in — though I forgot to watch it tonight; again.

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