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PBS Sets "Carol Burnett Night"

By Rich Heldenfels Published: March 18, 2013

Reruns of two programs about Burnett air as the TV icon releases a new memoir about her daughter. The official word:

PBS announces “Carol Burnett Night,” Tuesday, April 9, 2013, featuring two shows that chronicle the longtime success of a beloved television comedy star. An encore of the 90-minute AMERICAN MASTERS “Carol Burnett: A Woman of Character” leads the night, followed by a 30-minute encore edition of the PBS series PIONEERS OF TELEVISION, called “Carol Burnett and the Funny Ladies"— in which iconic TV stars discuss Burnett’s legacy and her influence on contemporary comedy stars.

 

America in the 1960s and ‘70s was in turmoil, but at 10 o’clock every Saturday night, in dorms and dens, in living rooms and bedrooms across the country, Americans watched “The Carol Burnett Show.” For 11 years, the wacky performer yelled like Tarzan, winning — and sometimes breaking — our hearts with her edgy yet always sympathetic characters. Burnett could fall down a flight of stairs as deftly as she held her own in a duet with Julie Andrews. Her antics, her creativity and her business smarts were groundbreaking, and inspired not only her TV contemporaries, but also generations of younger comediennes who followed her.

 

“It’s hard to explain now the multilayered impact of Carol Burnett on America’s entertainment industry,” said Beth Hoppe, Chief Programming Executive and General Manager of General Audience Programming for PBS. “‘The Carol Burnett Show’ shaped how we spent our Saturday nights for the decade-plus that she reigned over television.  Her work, her humor and her fearlessness also shaped the careers of so many entertainers who followed her. I’m very happy that, on the heels of her newest book launch, we can present a night dedicated to one of the true stand-outs in television comedy,” Hoppe added.

 

AMERICAN MASTERS “Carol Burnett: A Woman of Character” airs Tuesday, April 9, 2013, 8:00-9:30 p.m. ET. The show salutes this one-woman army of comedic characters who seduced countless Saturday night friends to fall in love with her and her wacky creations. The film is directed by Kyra Thompson, who frames the 90-minute film with one of Burnett’s signature devices: the audience Q&A that faithfully opened her weekly show (which won 25 Emmy Awards from 1967 to 1978). The questions — and Burnett’s hilarious improvised responses — provide the spine for a story of her life and career. Interviews with those who knew her best reveal the personal side of the public personae.

 

Pioneers of TelevisioN “Carol Burnett and the Funny Ladies” airs from 9:30-10:00 p.m. ET, and is built around Carol Burnett, Lucille Ball and Betty White — three leading ladies of television comedy. The episode includes reflections from Carol Burnett, Betty White, Tina Fey, Dick Van Dyke, Tim Conway, Vicki Lawrence, Cloris Leachman, Joan Rivers, Margaret Cho and the late Phyllis Diller, recounting stories about the featured funny ladies and discussing their impact on American television and entertainment. The episode includes iconic clips and photos to offer an insider’s look at these beloved celebrities.

 

“Carol Burnett Night” honors the veteran funny woman as her new memoir, CARRIE AND ME: A Mother-Daughter Love Story, is released on April 9. The memoir is Burnett’s poignant tribute to her daughter Carrie Hamilton, a young woman whose zest for life was infectious. From her struggle with drug addiction as a teenager to her successful artistic career, the book reveals a woman who took advantage of every day until her death from cancer at 38. Sharing personal diary entries, photographs and correspondence, Burnett traces the mother and daughter’s journey through the ups and downs of life.

 

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