Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Betty White in The Betty White Show (1977)

After Mary Tyler Moore left the air in 1977 the spin-offs that hadn't already been exploited started popping up. This was one of them. Joyce Whitman (White) is an actress who plays the lead in Undercover Woman, a cop show along the lines of Police Woman. It's directed by her ex husband John (John Hillerman) and features a sexy Caren Kaye as her side kick. At home, Joyce lives with her friend Mitzi (Georgia Engle). The plots revolve around both work and home issues and find Joyce balancing her temper with her desire to get along with everyone.

This series was on for only 14 episodes, and didn't fare well in the ratings. Aside from the fact that it was scheduled against Monday Night Football it also had the problem of overcoming the acidic Sue Ann Nivens character White had played on MTM. It's difficult to make a character like that palatable as the central focus of a show, but you don't want to deviate too much from what the public knows and likes to see the actress do, so it was a fine line to walk. The episode above was the second to air in the series and features guest star Janis Page. It was uploaded to YouTube by kentgraovac.

Obscurity factor: 7 (not on DVD, known primarily for it's revival on TV Land in the 90's)


  1. I remember being disappointed with this show. It sounded better on paper than what was actually aired. "Phyllis" had a similar issue with making an annoying but very funny supporting character the lead character. They tried to soften her and make her more well-rounded, but it ended up making her kind of nondescript.

  2. Yes, Phyllis is another, more well known example of that problem.

  3. Oh, my, was this show bad. I remember catching the first episode with my parents...Mom turned to Dad, and announced, "Well, we won't be watching THAT, again."

  4. Yes, it's disappointing to see people you like in show's that aren't up to par.