Betty White Previews Season 2 of “Hot in Cleveland”

By Fred Topel ‘Hot in Cleveland’ became a hit on TV Land and it’s already back for a second season this January. Betty White was at the Television Critics Association press tour on Wednesday to preview the new season, which will feature a reunion with Mary Tyler Moore.

“Well, Mary and I have stayed friends through the years of course,” White said. “We were great personal friends before I ever did her show years ago, but we haven’t worked together in 33 years so it was great fun. She’s a dynamite lady. She lives in New York and I live in Los Angeles so we don’t see each other that often. It was a great reunion.”

But White was more excited about some other plot twist. She is an animal activist, so the show is giving her a furry companion. “Can I tell you one piece of news?” White teased. “I don’t think I’m giving away a surprise. Why I love this season even better than last season is we’ve got a dog.”

After a successful career in television, White says what makes her latest show a hit is the professionalism of the cast. White costars with Valerie Bertinelli, Wendie Malick and Jane Leeves.

“I tell you what’s wonderful about working with these ladies,” White said. “They’re all pros. They’ve all come off of big, successful shows and they’re so professional about their career, unlike some of the young [actors.] My advice to young stars is: don’t believe your own publicity and don’t abuse your privileges. These girls are on the set with their lines learned with their hair done. I’m serious for a second. It’s a very important quality in a show. I think that’s why we all love each other. Nobody is holding anybody back.”

The past year has seen White return to prominence in movies and hosting Saturday Night Live. At 89, White still has hard time saying no.

“It’s hard for me to say no to a job because you spend your career thinking if you say no, they’ll never ask you again and if you don’t take the job, that may be the end of it. My mother taught me to say no when I was a girl, but that wasn’t about show business. So the result is I’m trying to cut down. I really am. When you love what you do so much, it’s a privilege.”

Being on a television comedy again brings White full circle. Everyone knows Mary Tyler Moore and The Golden Girls, but she started on Life with Elizabeth. Life with Elizabeth, we did it on one camera. Once you taste a multicamera show with a live audience, it is absolute heaven. You repace your timing. You get that rapport with the audience and it makes all the difference in the world. You learn to time yourself differently because on a one camera show, you often walk in with an [extra] line because you walk into a laugh, or you leave space for a laugh that doesn’t happen. That gets a little embarrassing.”

Hot in Cleveland returns January 19 on TV Land.

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