NBC to Honor 90-Year-Old Carol Burnett with New Special Despite Her Years with CBS

In 2012, Carol Burnett appeared on a NBC TV special honoring Betty White’s 90th birthday. Next month she will be celebrating her own birthday on the same network. With a long list of guest stars appearing on the special, it should be quite the party. However, it is rather curious that the special is airing on NBC given that of all her years on TV, she is best known for The Carol Burnett Show which aired on CBS for 11 years. However, NBC is where the redheaded comedian got her start.

Left: Harvey Korman, Vicki Lawrence, Lyle Waggoner and Carol Burnett
Right: Tim Conway, Vicki Lawrence, Harvey Korman and Carol Burnett (Wikipedia)

Carol first appeared on NBC on The Paul Winchell and Jerry Mahoney Show in 1955 and she starred opposite Buddy Hackett in the short-lived sitcom, Stanley in 1956. But in 1959, she became a regular on The Garry Moore Show which aired on CBS through 1962. She also appeared on occasionally on Gomer Pyle, U.S.M.C. and Lucille Ball’s The Lucy Show and finally her own show which aired from 1967-1978, all airing on the Eye Network. The Carol Burnett Show played an instrumental role in the evolution of comedy and many years later, reruns of the show continue to make people laugh with its incredibly funny sketches, including, most notably, the hysterical Gone with the Wind satire. Many publications have listed The Carol Burnett Show as one of the greatest TV series of all time.

In 2017, CBS aired The Carol Burnett Show: 50th Anniversary Special, but on April 26, 2023, NBC will air the two-hour special, Carol Burnett: 90 Years of Laughter + Love which will give a lot of time honoring her legacy on her sketch comedy/musical show. Although Harvey Korman, Lyle Waggoner and Tim Conway have all passed away, co-star Vicki Lawrence will be in attendance for the special along with costume designer Bob Mackie.

Carol Burnett with Vicki Lawrence and Dinah Shore in the sketch, “Gone Went the Wind” (Wikipedia)

“I’m so excited NBC decided to throw me a birthday party and invited all of my closest friends,” Burnett said. “I can’t wait to look back at so many wonderful moments throughout my career, I feel so lucky to share this night with everyone.”

This year’s special will also share some of the funniest and most memorable moments of Burnett’s legendary career outside of her former CBS show. These include her Broadway debut in Once Upon a Mattress, her early appearances on The Garry Moore Show, her hit films The Four Seasons, A Wedding, Pete ‘n’ Tillie and her iconic role as Miss Hannigan in Annie.

Carol Burnett as Eunice with Madeline Khan and Harvey Korman (Wikipedia)

Special guests appearing on the special include Aileen Quinn, Amy Poehler, Bill Hader, Bob Mackie, Cher, Ellen DeGeneres, Julie Andrews, Kristen Wiig, Laura Dern, Lily Tomlin, Marisa Tomei, Sofia Vergara, Steve Carell, Susan Lucci, Tracee Ellis Ross, Vicki Lawrence, and others.

The special will also include musical performances from Bernadette Peters, Billy Porter, Jane Lynch, Katy Perry, Kristin Chenoweth and more. The musical tributes will pay homage to Carol’s renowned career performances, including: “Old Friends,” dedicated to Carol’s 60-year friendship with Julie Andrews; “Only an Octave Apart,” which Carol sang alongside Beverly Sills in the 1976 television special Sills and Burnett at the Met; Carol’s memorable songs from the hit film Annie; and of course, a tribute to her classic theme song, “I’m So Glad We Had This Time Together” from The Carol Burnett Show.

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