“Hot in Cleveland” goes live for tonight’s season premiere

When TV Land got into the original sitcom business, it was with an eye at reviving the traditional multi-camera format and using proven comedy veterans who might not be getting a shot on network TV. In short, they were celebrating the history of the sitcom, which makes tonight’s Hot in Cleveland live episode a perfect fit.

Hot in Cleveland TV LandLive television conjures up romantic memories of TV’s golden age — much of which Hot in Cleveland star Betty White was actually around to see! She’ll be on hand tonight, still expertly mining laughs at 91, along with costars Valerie Bertinelli, Wendie Malick and Jane Leeves. Also joining the fun are guest stars William Shatner, who quipped that “At long, long last, I am working with someone who is older than me” and Brian Baumgartner, in his first gig since The Office closed shop last month.

The episode, titled “It’s Alive,” will begin where the winter season finale left off with Joy (Leeves) having discovered what dangerous and illegal activities Elka (White) and Mamie (Georgia Engel) have been up to all season. When Melanie (Bertinelli), Victoria (Malick) and Joy try to help, they reliably just end up making things worse. And more hilarious. The network says there will be mobsters, mistaken identities, special guest stars, and several twists and turns. And who knows, maybe a few blunders along the way.

The episode will be broadcast live on the East Coast, but the West Coast will see the live-to-tape version three hours later.

 It’s not the only surprise fans can expect this season. In addition to a reunion of stars from The Carol Burnett Show (Carol Burnett, Tim Conway), there will also be the much-ballyhooed reunion of the women of The Mary Tyler Moore Show — including White, Mary Tyler Moore, Valerie Harper, Cloris Leachman and Georgia Engel.