Remember when George Burns and Gracie Allen used to plug Carnation Evaporated Milk in live TV ads during their 1950s TV series The George Burns And Gracie Allen Show? Of course you don’t! But live ads using show cast members, in character and on set, did not used to be “news” — much less a scoop in the New York Times‘ business section. And, 60 years from now, when a future generation is watching on their glasses a live broadcast of some happy-zombie-family comedy starring some Hollywood It Couple, replete with product promotions by the happy zombies, they will think back to today’s NYT report (“Commercials to Go Live With Show Cast Members”) about the airing of two whole live ads during the live season debuts of TV Land‘s Hot In Cleveland and The Soul Man, and think “How quaint.”
Betty White may have been dumped by NBC, but she’s been picked up by Guinness World Records. The 2014 edition, out September 12, has awarded the 91-year-old actress the inaugural title of “Longest TV Career For An Entertainer (Female).” The new category is in recognition of White’s 74 years in the business. The career-length category previously was non-gender specific. Brit Bruce Forsyth holds the male title also with his 74 years in the industry. White began her career in radio in 1939, and she has won Emmys, SAG Awards and Grammys while appearing decade after decade in TV series such as Life With Elizabeth, The Mary Tyler Moore Show, The Golden Girls, and The Bold And The Beautiful. Guinness likely will have to update the award next year for White as she currently stars on TV Land’s Hot In Cleveland, which has been renewed for a fifth season.
After breaking Saturday Night Live ratings barriers for NBC, taking down CBS’ insufferable reality host Jeff Probst and snagging NBC a rare Emmy nom in that category, and clocking good numbers for the network with not one but two 90th birthday parties on their air, NBC has thanked Betty White by canceling her show Betty White’s Off Their Rockers. The network has opted not to pick up the reality series, in which old people punk young ones. When NBC unveiled the show in April 2012 coinciding with the network’s first 90th birthday party for White, the reality series clocked 12 million viewers and a 2.6 rating in the 18-49 demo, though it quickly settled in lower than that. In its second season, the show averaged about 5.3 million viewers and a 1.5. On Tuesday, the season finale was down 33% in the demo compared with the year season before, though up 25% from July 2′s series low.
Perhaps not coincidentally, the news comes the same day NBC said it has ordered eight episodes of Endemol USA‘s original hourlong game show Wall Of Fame. Endemol USA (Big Brother, Wipeout, Steve Harvey) will produce the new series. On Wall Of Fame, families of four win cash by correctly answering general-knowledge questions and then identifying which celebrity on a “wall of fame” also got the right answer. Endemol USA also produced game show Deal Or No Deal, which you’ll notice is not running on NBC anymore, having debuted in 2005 before sputtering out in 2008.
After the success of last year’s Betty White’s 90th Birthday Special, NBC is making it an annual tradition. The network has set Betty White’s 2nd Annual 90th Birthday Special, a star-studded event to celebrate the in-demand actress’ 91st birthday. It will air on Tuesday, February 5 from 8-9 PM.
SAG Awards TV: ‘Modern Family’ Leads, ‘Homeland’ Lands First Noms, Alec Baldwin And Betty White Keep Rolling, Edie Falco Ties Record
More than any other awards race, the SAG Awards have proven to be a popularity contest. Alec Baldwin and Betty White have won the best actor/actress in a comedy series SAG Award every year their current shows have been on the air — a whopping six consecutive times for 30 Rock‘s Baldwin and two for Hot In Cleveland‘s Betty White. Both are nominated again, with Baldwin having a chance to complete his streak with a seventh statuette for the seventh and final season of the NBC comedy. With Baldwin and White having a stronghold on the comedy categories, awards darling Modern Family is yet to win an individual award. (It won for best comedy ensemble the past two years). The ABC comedy has three more chances this year as it once again leads the list of series nominees with four noms: best ensemble and best actor/actress mentions for Emmy winners Ty Burrell and Eric Stonestreet as well as Sofia Vergara. Two-time Emmy winner Julie Bowen, nominated last year, did not make the cut this time.
Related: SAG Awards Nominations Announced
There was very little fresh blood in the series SAG nominations — no Lena Dunham or the Girls cast, no Emmy winner Julia Louis-Dreyfus of Veep, no mention of any new broadcast series. The only first-year shows to land nominations were HBO’s The Newsroom for star Jeff Daniels and USA’s short-lived Political Animals for Sigourney Weaver in the movie/miniseries category.
But the SAG Awards did correct some anomalies from last year. The guild had many scratching their heads last December where it completely ignored Showtime’s drama Homeland, which would go on to dominate the Golden Globes and Emmy Awards. No snub this years as Homeland landed three noms — best ensemble and best actor/actress for Emmy winners Claire Danes and Damian Lewis. Despite four Emmy nominations and two wins, The Big Bang Theory‘s Jim Parsons had never received an individual SAG nomination until today. (His show nabbed its second consecutive ensemble nom.) Also, FX’s Louie finally got on the board with a first nomination for creator/star Louis C.K.
Ray Richmond is contributing to Deadline’s TV coverage
The win by Julia Louis-Dreyfus for lead actress in a comedy series sent Emmys historians scrambling to the record books to discover whether anyone had previously won trophies for regular roles in three different series — as Louis-Dreyfus now has for Seinfeld (supporting comedy actress, 1996), The New Adventures Of Old Christine (lead comedy actress, 2006) and this year for HBO’s Veep (lead comedy actress). There had been speculation that it had been done previously by Betty White for The Mary Tyler Moore Show, The Golden Girls and — way back in 1952 — something called Life With Elizabeth. But the only problem is, neither IMDb nor the TV Academy have a record of White winning for Life With Elizabeth.
Proving that it’s never too late to embrace new technology, Betty White has joined Twitter. Since sending out her first tweet two hours ago, the 90-year-old actress has amassed 3,300 followers. “Hey @RyanSeacrest,” she most recently tweeted. “My new …
NBC Enlists Pete Berg And Madonna For Series Promo Blitz During The Super Bowl
Video: NBC’s Musical Brotherhood Of Man
NBC took to the Super Bowl to promote most of its shows. It was exactly two years ago that Betty White’s appearance in a Super Bowl commercial launched the red-hot new stage of her career. NBC is hoping that her luck would rub off its reality series The Voice, whose big-budget, Pete Berg-directed Super Bowl promo featured the 90-year-old actress. Jay Leno’s Tonight Show spot with Madonna came nowhere near the fun Super Bowl spot he did for rival David Letterman two years ago. NBC also used the big game to introduce new America’s Got Talent judge Howard Stern, who behaved more like his outrageous shock jock persona than the thoughtful expert NBC brass have been touting. “Aside from his radio persona he is a very thoughtful, intelligent person,” NBC chief Bob Greenblatt said in January. “He is a huge fan of the show and wants to be a very good judge. … I don’t think he wants to be a shock jock judge. … AGT won’t become the Howard Stern Circus.” Judge for yourselves.
Diane Haithman is contributing to Deadline’s TCA coverage.
The troubled NBC network will be taking on more serious issues later in the day, but it kicked off its TCA sessions in Pasadena today with a breakfast with the ubiquitous Betty White, 89, who is adding to her work schedule on TV Land’s sitcom Hot In Cleveland by hosting and executive producing the new NBC reality show Betty White’s Off Their Rockers. The show is about the elder generation pulling pranks on unsuspecting members of the younger generation. It is adapted from the International Emmy-winning Belgium series Benidorm Bastards.
As usual, this popular member of TV’s least desirable demographic was full of quips, including this reply to a question about whether there’s anything the soon-to-be 90 actress still wants to do: “I’m not going to say Robert Redford, as much as you might expect it.” The network will celebrate White’s birthday with the previously announced 90-minute special January 16, Betty White’s 90th Birthday: A Tribute To America’s Golden Girl, followed by a sneak peak of Off Their Rockers at 9:30 PM. (The network today announced that Ellen DeGeneres, Morgan Freeman, Tina Fey and Carl Reiner are among those who have been added to the birthday salute roster, joining Mary Tyler Moore, Ed Asner and White’s fellow Hot In Cleveland cast members.)
SAG Awards TV: Rookies ‘Suits’, ‘American Horror Story’ & ‘Game Of Thrones’ Join The Fray As Betty White’s Reign Continues
Screen Actors Guild’s love affair with Betty White continues. White followed up on her SAG’s Lifetime Achievement Award in 2010 with her first SAG Award nominations, an individual and ensemble nods for Hot In Cleveland, last year, winning her first SAG Award in January in the best actress in a comedy category. This morning White got an early present for her 90th birthday in January, two individual SAG Award nominations: one for TV Land’s Hot In Cleveland and one in the longform category for her role in Hallmark Hall Of Fame’s The Lost Valentine. She is one of only 2 performers to accomplish that this year, along with Glenn Close, nominated of her series Damages and feature Albert Nobbs.
The list of SAG Award nominees in the TV series categories includes one true newcomer, surprise nominee Patrick J. Adams of USA Network’s hot new series Suits who earned his first nomination of any kind. Two other breakout shows, FX’s American Horror Story and HBO’s Game Of Thrones, were the only other freshman series to make the cut – AHS with co-star Jessica Lange, previous SAG nominee in the film and lingform TV categories, nominated for best actress in a drama series; and best series Emmy nominee GOT with a nom in the best drama series ensemble category. (Though Emmy-winning GOT co-star Peter Dinklage didn’t get an individual nomination.) Because it premiered in midseason, NBC’s sophomore Harry’s Law also earned a nomination in its first year of eligibility, a best actress in a drama series mention for star Kathy Bates. Left out was Showtime’s new drama Homeland as well as New Girl star Zooey Deschanel.
While not very welcoming to freshmen, the SAG Awards nomination field, led by Modern Family with 5 noms, includes several first-time nominees who are getting their dues after being overlooked previous years. The list includes recently minted Emmy winner Kyle Chandler, who landed Friday Night Lights‘ first (and last) SAG Award nomination in the best actor in a drama series category; fellow reigning Emmy winner Julie Bowen of Modern Family, previous Emmy winner Jon Cryer of Two And A Half Men as well as hit CBS comedy series The Big Bang Theory, which landed its first ever SAG Award nomination (individual or ensemble) in the best comedy series ensemble category. Despite Big Bang star Jim Parsons’ 2 consecutive Emmy wins, he is yet to receive a SAG Award nomination after getting snubbed again this year. Meanwhile, 30 Rock‘s Alec Baldwin, who lost to Parsons at the Emmys for the past 2 years, has a shot at continuing his remarkable string of 5 consecutive best comedy actor SAG Award wins for 30 Rock with a sixth individual nomination in a row. (The NBC series was also recognized for best comedy ensemble and best actress Tina Fey.) Parsons and Dinklage were not the only current Emmy winners left out of the SAG Awards nominations. They’re joined by Justified‘s Margo Martindale as the FX drama series is yet to get its first SAG Award nomination. Best comedy series actress Melissa McCarthy also missed the cut for her CBS series Mike & Molly but landed one on the feature side for Bridesmaids.
In between juggling five series — Family Guy, American Dad, The Cleveland Show and the upcoming Flintstones and Cosmos reboots — his first feature and emceeing duties at the Comedy Central roasts, Seth MacFarlane is fostering a budding music career. And tonight, the uber TV producer earned two Grammy nominations. One was for a song from Family Guy, Christmastime Is Killing Us, which he co-wrote, in the Best Song Written For Visual Media category. It was the only song from a TV show to make the cut. The other nod was an even bigger surprise: MacFarlane’s debut album as a singer, Music Is Better Than Words, was nominated for Best Traditional Pop Vocal Album alongside heavyweights Barbra Streisand, Tony Bennett and Harry Connick Jr. and international sensation Susan Boyle. I think it is safe to say that this is the first time MacFarlane’s name has been mentioned in the same sentence as Ms. Streisand. (Below is a snippet from one of MacFarlane’s sold-out live performances of Music Is Better Than Words, which was turned into an EPIX special.)
Emmy 2011 is officially over and those I talked to at the Governors Ball, HBO and AMC celebrations generally liked it. The consensus is that Jane Lynch was a sharp host, the pace was good and the Mark Burnett-produced show came to life enough times to make it all worthwhile despite the deja …