The great Betty White -- whose career started in 1945 -- will finally host "Saturday Night Live" (which started in 1975).
A meeting of legends! The TV world will slow to a crawl, then stop, that night -- May 8 -- as the world gawks at this unique event.
Ah, Betty White.
USA Today reported the big coup on its Web site and in the paper Thursday:
SNL executive producer Lorne Michaels says he has "always wanted" White to host. "Years ago, I turned it down three times," White says. "It's so New York, and I'm not New York at all. "But my agent said he'd divorce me if I didn't do it, and I love my agent." (That agent, Jeff Witjas, says he was only joking, but "it's perfect timing for her career right now. I said, 'Do it now, or when you're 95.' ")
Why Betty? Why now? A Facebook campaign (I mean, how ELSE do celebrities get on to "SNL?" ). And, of course a Super Bowl appearance (commercial) that aired at the outset of the game, that reminded many millions of viewers how much they loved Rose Nylund back when they were little 'uns. A little known fact about "The Golden Girls" is that it was hugely popular with children. NBC used to pull that bit of trivia up every time anyone asked why it had stayed on the air so long -- that, along with the not-insignificant stat that "GG" was a Saturday night hit at the time when TV first started to dial back on Saturdays.
And so Betty is back on TV Saturday once again.
What's intriguing about this hosting appearance -- symbolism aside -- is that White, 88, has never done the show. She has appeared on dozens, maybe even hundreds, of talk shows, game shows and entertainment shows (not just series) going back to the early '60s.
Maybe she was just too hip for "SNL."
White is, unquestionably, an amazing lady with a TV background unlike any other. There is so much to talk about that it's best to let her talk. If you've never heard of the Archive of American Television, then I'd direct you to this treasure -- filled with thousands of hours of interviews with TV legends like White. Here she is talking about her days on "The Mary Tyler Moore Show."
Below . . . her recent acceptance speech at the SAGs for her lifetime achievement award, and finally, the commercial that started it all.