PASADENA, CA–Betty White turns 90 tomorrow, so NBC is throwing a party tonight.
The beloved comedienne made the TCA scene on the morning of the NBC sessions, three or four months ago it seems now. Actually it was just last week.
“Who doesn’t want to have breakfast with Betty White?” NBC Chairman Robert Greenblatt said, and ain’t it the truth. Greenblatt announced a birthday tribute special, which airs tonight at 9 ET.
Many of White’s golden years were spent at NBC, with The Golden Girls airing there from 1985 to ’92. White hosted a daily talk show for NBC way back in 1954 and also used to host the Peacock network’s coverage of the annual Tournament of Roses parade.
Greenblatt also announced Betty White’s Off Their Rockers, a reality gag show much like Just For Laughs Gags. It premieres tonight at 9:30 ET after the birthday tribute. The show features senior citizens pulling pranks on the younger generation.
“Hey–we’ve got a sense of humour too, warped as it may be,” White told critics. She looks amazing and can still zing with the best of them. Reporters who asked questions were told things like, “sorry–I was flirting with somebody over there.”
White says she deserves no credit for turning 90. “It just happened. I didn’t accomplish anything. It just came up on me. But I’m blessed with good health for which I’m deeply grateful.”
She says she’s having the time of her life working Hot in Cleveland (a fourth season was just ordered by TV Land).
“I’m the luckiest old broad on two feet,” she says, “and I don’t take it for granted for one single minute.” People marvel at her energy, to which she credits good genes. “I’m not lying about my age,” she insists. “If I were lying about my age, I would say I was 89.”
Her only regret is that former husband Allan Ludden isn’t around to share all this late life success with her.
She recently shot a Hallmark Hall of Fame TV-movie, The Lost Valentine. How does she sort through all these offers? “I have a wonderful agent,” she says. “When he brings me stuff, I say yes. If I don’t, he beats me.”
White was asked how much television had changed over her career. “I think the audience is the one that’s changed,” she says. “They’ve heard every joke. They know every plot. They know where you’re going before you even start. That’s a tough audience to surprise and a tough audience to write for.”
Not that there’s much writing on Off Their Rockers. Just a lot of laughs, and Betty White–always a golden combination.

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