On 50th anniversary of The Carol Burnett Show, MeTV will honor the comedian’s ongoing legacy with a weeklong programming tribute.
From Tina Fey to Amy Schumer, Burnett “paved the way for today’s brilliant women in sketch comedy,” said Neal Sabin, vice chairman of MeTV owner Weigel Broadcasting Co., said in a statement. “That is a cultural milestone worth celebrating.”
As part of Carol Burnett’s Golden Anniversary, each night from September 11-15, MeTV will air an episode featuring a different iconic character or skit that demonstrates just how Burnett helped define the future of sketch comedy.
“Carol Burnett had already proven herself as a great talent on The Garry Moore Show and in her own television specials,” Sabin said. “And yet, she ran into resistance when she wanted to host and star in her own weekly sketch comedy and variety show. The industry at the time considered variety comedy a ‘male genre.’ She refused to take no for an answer – and the result was a groundbreaking hit, 25 Emmy Awards, a successful spin-off, and decades of timeless, memorable entertainment.”
Burnett has also been honored by the Kennedy Center and is a recipient of the Mark Twain Prize for American Humor.
When recognized at The Paley Center’s Women in Television Gala earlier this year, Burnett recalled that at the beginning of her career, Lucille Ball was the only fellow female comedian on television.
When The Carol Burnett Show premiered in 1967, the network worried it wouldn’t last a season, and instead it aired for more than a decade, ending in 1978. After its conclusion, four postscript episodes aired in 1979 under the title Carol Burnett and Friends, which became the name of the original show in syndication.
The show’s cast included famous comedians Harvey Korman, Vicki Lawrence, Lyle Waggoner, Ernie Anderson and Tim Conway. Guests ranged from Lynn Redgrave and Peter Lawford, to Steve Martin and The Jackson 5.
Through her outlandish characters and recurring sketches; her candid Q&A sessions with her studio audience and her personal touch, Burnett developed a close relationship with her viewers.
MeTV will air episodes featuring Carol Burnett’s Golden Anniversary at 11 p.m. each weeknight next week. Here’s the schedule:
Monday, September 11
My, those draperies look fetching. Carol and the gang parody the classic film Gone with the Wind with Carol playing Scarlet O’Hara in “Went with the Wind.”
Tuesday, September 12
Carol’s sweet niece visits only to discover she’s possessed in this parody of The Exorcist in the recurring sketch “As the Stomach Turns.”
Wednesday, September 13
Mr. Tudball (Tim Conway) tries to teach Mrs. Wiggins (Carol Burnett) how to use the intercom.
Thursday, September 14
Eunice, Ed, and Mama play the game “Sorry!” in “In the Family,” the sketch that gave birth to the successful spin-off Mama’s Family.
Friday, September 15
In “Nora Desmond,” Carol plays a washed-up silent film star doing a bug-spray commercial.