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It’s Valerie Harper Week On Broadcast TV

In what was supposed to be a big fat plug for NBC, Meredith Vieira and Today, that network announced this morning that Valerie’s Story: A Meredith Vieira Special, will premiere Thursday. Harper will be a guest on NBC’s Today that morning. Valerie Harper Week actually begins tonight with her debut on ABC’s Dancing With The Stars. NBC’s Harper special is airing at 10 PM Thursday, so as to enjoy that huge lead-in audience watching the finale of Million Second Quiz right earlier in primetime that night. Oh — nevermind. On her Today appearance that morning, we presumably will learn whatever shred of information Harper did not already divulge over at ABC when that network announced she had been declared well enough to compete on Dancing this fall.

Related: ‘Dancing’ Cast Reveal On Track To Top Weekly Morning Ratings

Harper, 74, had previously battled lung cancer and, this past March, announced she’d been diagnosed with leptomeningeal carcinomatosis, a rare, terminal cancer and given 3-6 months to live. When ABC named her to the new cast of Dancing, on Good Moring America, and a few days later on ABC’s The View, Harper explained doctors had told her she was “close to remission” and therefore well enough for the rigorous competition. NBC, however, stuck to its guns and insisted it had the remission news first, on Today.

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‘Dancing’ Cast Reveal On Track To Top Weekly Morning Infotainment Ratings

Based on preliminary stats, Good Morning America’s Wednesday announcement of the new Dancing With The Stars cast is on track to have scored the biggest morning infotainment-show audience this week – about 5.3 million viewers. Demo-wise, it’s the same story, only with 2.2 million viewers 25-54.  Still, Wednesday’s Dancing cast reveal did not match the nearly 6 million who’d watched GMA unveil Dancing‘s most recent previous lineup, and ABC was trying hard to get the biggest crowd tune in possible as it looked to resuscitate the stumbled franchise. Maybe that’s why the network is said to be investigating who leaked so many of the names to TMZ in advance of Wednesday’s announcement, cutting at least 20% of the drama. Among the names TMZ spoiled was Valerie Harper, who was supposed to be the Big Surprise, what with her battling cancer that has moved to her brain, and Harper having said in January that doctors had given her three to six months to live. With Harper’s participation a foregone conclusion by the time of the Wednesday reveal — ditto multiple sclerosis patient Jack Osbourne, former The Talk co-host Leah Remini, Glee’s Amber Riley, and others  — The Reporters Who Cover Television were left scrambling to name a  “big surprise” in their coverage of Wednesday’s casting news. Several went with Bill Nye the Science Guy.
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‘Dancing With The Stars’ Cast: Valerie Harper, Leah Remini, Jack Osbourne, Bill Nye Among Competitors

From the brave to the blah, Mary Tyler Moore Show/Rhoda actress Valerie Harper and a mess of Disney alums were this morning revealed on the next round of ABC’s struggling dance competition series Dancing With The Stars. Harper was diagnosed with terminal brain cancer in January and given three to six months to live but is now said to be “nearing remission,” as she and her doctor explained it to NBC’s Today recently while plugging Valerie’s Story — A Meredith Vieira Special, set to air September 19 on that network. Speaking of NBC, Sharon Osbourne’s son Jack — who was yanked from a reality competition series on that network when he was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis — is joining Harper on Dancing. His sister Kelly was a finalist on the show in 2009.

Related: ‘Dancing With The Stars’ At A Casting Crossroads

Many of the celeb dancers’ names had been leaked before this morning’s reveal on ABC’s morning infotainment show Good Morning America. Bill Nye the Science Guy was in none of those reports and he’s maybe the morning’s biggest surprise. Not at all surprising was Leah Remini, whose name was first leaked. Remini, maybe best known for starring in CBS’ sitcom King Of Queens has more recently been making headlines for her exit from Scientology. She appeared on this morning’s reveal via satellite, looking very subdued. Glee’s Amber Riley, no longer a regular on that Fox series, is looking for her next career move on Dancing; ditto Jersey Shore alum Snooki and The Voice social media correspondent Christina Milian. Ironically, it’s The Voice’s move to Dancing’s time slot that’s been giving it such a ratings headache the past several seasons. Read More »

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Big ‘Mary Tyler Moore’ Reunion On ‘Hot In Cleveland’: Moore, Valerie Harper & Cloris Leachman Join Betty White & Georgia Engel

By | Thursday March 21, 2013 @ 5:34pm PDT
Nellie Andreeva

EXCLUSIVE: The ladies of The Mary Tyler Moore Show are back together on a sitcom stage. I’ve learned that Mary Tyler Moore, Valerie Harper and Cloris Leachman will join their MTM co-stars Betty White and Georgia Engel in an episode of White’s TV Land comedy series Hot In Cleveland, on which Engel has been recurring. For Harper, the guest stint follows her recent announcement that she has a terminal brain cancer.

Related: Valerie Harper Explains Showbiz Absence

In the Hot In Cleveland episode, which tapes April 5, I hear Elka (White) and Mamie Sue (Engel) decide to get their bowling team, named GLOB: The Gorgeous Ladies of Bowling, back together. They reunite with former team members Diane (Moore), Peg (Leachman) and Angie (Harper). The quintet had a falling-out after their championship season went to their heads.

This is believed to be the first time the five former castmates will act in front of a camera since taping the MTM finale in 1977. It’s also Moore’s second visit to Cleveland — she previously played Elka’s cellmate in a Season 2 episode. Shows like The Mary Tyler Moore Show paved the way for female driven comedies like Hot In Cleveland. Hot In Cleveland, toplined by White, Valerie Bertinelli, Jane Leeves and Wendie Malick, returns for its summer season with a live episode June 19. The series Read More »

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Valerie Harper Explains Showbiz Absence

By | Wednesday March 6, 2013 @ 8:32am PST

Valerie Harper has announced to People magazine that she was diagnosed with terminal brain cancer on January 15th. The 73-year-old TV and stage actress is best known for playing Rhoda Morgenstern during the 1970s on The Mary Tyler Moore Show and her own spinoff Rhoda. She also starred in the late 1980s sitcom Valerie and Valerie’s Family later retitled The Hogan Family after Harper was written out of the show due to a dispute with the producers Miller-Boyett. In more recent years she has been a busy and award-winning actress in theater productions on both coasts. She also was a Screen Actors Guild activist, running for SAG president in 2001 but losing to Melissa Gilbert. In the People issue appearing on newstands Friday, Harper said she is suffering from leptomeningeal carcinomatosis and may have just three months to live. Harper had been publicizing her new memoir I, Rhoda and dealing with her illness privately until now.

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