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Betty White Returns to TV; Also to Resolve Mideast Conflict, End Unemployment

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Two decades after she was a Golden Girl, Betty White has managed to become TV’s It Girl. First she got a (prescient) career achievement award from the Television Critics Association and a lifetime achievement award from the Screen Actors Guild. Then the 88-year-old landed in one of the best Super Bowl ads (above) this year, taking a hard hit on the football field for Snickers. Then an online fan campaign got Saturday Night Live to cast her as a guest host for the May 8 episode. (She followed up by getting cast in the season finale of The Middle.)  And now she’s landed a starring role in TV Land’s first scripted live-action sitcom, Hot in Cleveland, with Valerie Bertinelli, Jane Leeves and Wendie Malick.

Bottom line: if you were planning on casting Betty White in anything, take a number. Or start looking for “a Betty White type.” Excerpts from the TV Land release after the jump:

New York, NY, March 16th, 2010 – TV Land announced today that it has signed Emmy® Award-winning and audience-adored actress Betty White to star in the highly-anticipated TV Land PRIME Original sitcom “Hot in Cleveland” scheduled to premiere in June. Betty White will take on the role of the snarky but lovable Elka Ostrovsky, property caretaker of the home that co-stars – Valerie Bertinelli, Jane Leeves and Wendie Malick – rent after their plane makes an emergency landing in Cleveland and they decide to stay. “Hot in Cleveland” is written by Emmy® Award-winning Suzanne Martin (“Frasier,” “Ellen”) and is produced by Emmy® Award-winner Sean Hayes (“Will & Grace”) and Todd Milliner of Hazy Mills Productions. “Hot in Cleveland,” a TV Land PRIME original production has been picked up for ten episodes and is the network’s first venture into scripted comedy series.

[snip]

“Hot in Cleveland” revolves around three fabulous, LA women of a certain age and best friends (Bertinelli, Leeves and Malick). Their lives are changed forever when their plane – headed for Paris – unexpectedly lands in Cleveland and they soon rediscover themselves in this new “promised land.” Loving their new home, the women find themselves living under one roof and battling the sassy caretaker of the property they have rented, played by Betty White.

Incidentally: who would have thought that a running gag in one episode of 30 Rock could sustain an entire sitcom? Yeah, me either, but we’ll see when they send the screeners out: