Older stars golden for TV Land shows

 

The network that built its reputation on recycling vintage sitcoms is now recycling vintage TV and film stars. Such veteran actors as Betty White, George Segal and Jessica Walter are starri...

The network that built its reputation on recycling vintage sitcoms is now recycling vintage TV and film stars.

Such veteran actors as Betty White, George Segal and Jessica Walter are starring in new half-hour comedies made in the old-school style.

TV Land's Hot in Cleveland, co-starring White and Valerie Bertinelli, became a surprise hit for the niche network last season. The show just returned with new episodes. It's followed by a new sitcom, Retired at 35, which co-stars Segal and Walter as a retired couple in Florida with a 35-year-old son who moves back in just as they are splitting up.

In addition to these senior citizen regulars, there are guest stars from TV history. Shelley Long (Cheers) showed up briefly on Retired at 35 as a date for Segal's character. Mary Tyler Moore was a guest on Hot in Cleveland, too.

John Schneider (Dukes of Hazzard) and Bonnie Franklin (One Day at a Time) also had guest roles on Hot. The episode was a reunion for Franklin and Bertinelli, who played Franklin's daughter on One Day at a Time.

Hot stars Bertinelli, 50, Wendie Malick, 60 (Just Shoot Me), and Jane Leeves, 49 (Frasier), as three aging beauties from Los Angeles who have relocated to Cleveland where they are still considered hotties. White, 89, is their sassy and eccentric housekeeper.

The show is fun to watch because of the bawdy double-entendres, White's wisecracks and stories that celebrate older women.

Hot and Retired are aimed at cashing in on baby boomers' nostalgia. But Retired comes up short because it doesn't celebrate older folks. It makes fun of them.

Segal plays Alan, a befuddled coot who is thrown back on the dating scene when his wife, Elaine (Walter), decides life with him is no longer interesting. They split just as their son leaves New York City to move into their Florida retirement community. David is trying to reconcile his parents and deal with his father reverting to juvenile behavior.

-- WALT BELCHER

Tampa Tribune

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