It’s a big gamble for a TV series to go live, which is just what TV Land’s “Hot in Cleveland” did for their Season 4 summer premiere on Wednesday (June 19). While live TV was once the norm, it’s largely become a stunt that only the most self-assured sitcoms try a handful of times in their runs. With a cast comprised of sitcom legends Betty White, Valerie Bertinelli, Jane Leeves and Wendie Malick — why not give it a shot?
The episode wasn’t without its risks, however. Chief among them? Guest star William Shatner. While our money would’ve been on Shatner to mug for the camera and break character (Why cast him otherwise?), the episode’s first, and only, flub came from an unlikely place: White, the cast member with the most live TV experience.
It was quick, but early on in the episode (which dealt with the revelation that White’s character Elka and Mamie Sue (recurring guest Georgia Engel) have been selling black-market medication from Canada to seniors) White found herself tongue-tied while delivering a line and wound up making a series of sputtering sounds. Remarkably, none of the other cast members broke and the scene carried on as if nothing had happened.
The remainder of the episode went off without a hitch, allowing for an adorable moment at the end when the cast dropped character, congratulated themselves on a job well done and took a bow before their adoring studio audience.
Did you enjoy the live summer premiere of “Hot in Cleveland”?