66° Good Afternoon
66° Good Afternoon

'Hot in Cleveland' goes live for season premiere, but it's not the first

From left, Jane Leeves, Betty White, Valerie Bertinelli

From left, Jane Leeves, Betty White, Valerie Bertinelli and Wendie Malick on the set of "Hot in Cleveland." Photo Credit: TV Land

On June 19 at 10 p.m., viewers of TV Land's "Hot in Cleveland" will see a live version -- a series first and, if all works out, maybe not a last, either. It shouldn't be that hard to perform without a net: "Cleveland" will have a pair of leads who once actually starred in live TV serials -- regular Betty White and guest star William Shatner.

But "Cleveland" isn't breaking new ground here. Several other series have gone "live" for a night. (And for whatever reason, most of them aired on NBC.):

30 ROCK (NBC, Oct. 14, 2010)

The episode called (what else?) "Live Show" had a fantastical plot to do with Liz (Tina Fey) turning 40, Tracy Jordan (Tracy Morgan) channeling Carol Burnett, Jenna (Jane Krakowski) having a "wardrobe malfunction" and Jack (Alec Baldwin) struggling to stay sober.

30 ROCK (NBC, April 26, 2012)

A budget cut forces "TGS" to go live -- yeah, kind of a metaplot -- but this episode ("Live From Studio 6H") also included a spoof of "The Honeymooners" and "Amos & Andy." The list of guest stars -- who included Paul McCartney and Kim Kardashian -- especially managed to infuse this live romp with a sense of pure lunacy.

ER (NBC, Sept. 25, 1997)

The fourth-season opener, about a PBS crew taping a day in the ER, tried to mimic the taped version by deploying handheld cameras that swirled around the operating table -- managing to make a few million viewers dizzy.

WILL & GRACE (NBC, Sept. 29, 2005)

"Alive and Schticking" launched the last season with a plot that involved a secret agent played by Alec Baldwin.

THE WEST WING (NBC, Nov. 6, 2005)

"The Debate" was, yes, a debate between contenders Arnold Vinick (Alan Alda) and Matt Santos (Jimmy Smits). In a coup de self-promotion, "Wing" even made it appear as if the episode were broadcast by NBC News.

ROC (Fox, 1992-93)

The entire second season, from August 1992 to May 1993, was live! Remember? Maybe not -- it wasn't repeated the next season -- but thanks to their stage background, leads Charles Dutton and Ella Joyce pulled off this liveTVpalooza.


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