The national showbiz treasure who recently celebrated her 90th birthday launches her NBC series “Betty White’s Off Their Rockers,” a variation on “Punk’d” with senior citizens as the pranksters, tonight (Wednesday, April 4). Then later in the evening, White’s TV Land sitcom “Hot in Cleveland” — which also stars Bertinelli, Jane Leeves and Wendie Malick — runs back-to-back encore episodes.
“I said, ‘You have got to stop! Do you not know how old you are?,'” Bertinelli muses to Zap2it about White’s ongoing level of activity. “I actually did scold her a little. She’s so precious to us, we just adore her without end, and we do worry about her. But she’s like, ‘Oh, stop. I’m fine.’ And she is.
“At a certain point, the three of us got together and said, ‘Listen … Betty? You’re making us look bad. You may not be tired, but we are.’ And she said, ‘Oh, come on.’ She’s amazing.”
Bertinelli will reunite with her former “One Day at a Time” co-stars when the sitcom that made her a star gets the Innovator Award at the 10th-anniversary TV Land Awards, to be televised Sunday, April 29. She terms “Off Their Rockers” a “perfect” vehicle for White, but she adds that she and her other “Cleveland”-mates gave the former “Happy Homemaker” of “The Mary Tyler Moore Show” a related warning.
“We said, ‘Just FYI, Betty, you’re not allowed to prank us.’ We’re always teasing each other on the set, doing the ‘bunny ears’ when we take pictures, really harmless stuff. We do enjoy telling each really good jokes, though. We’re always learning those from each other.”
Several weeks of filming remain on the current Season 3 of “Hot in Cleveland,” with Kristin Chenoweth (“GCB”) guest-starring in the episode being done this week. White hadn’t signed up as a cast regular initially, but Bertinelli reflects, “I think they always wanted her for the series. In my mind, I think they [hired her for the pilot] just to get her — and to get her hooked. They were very clever in the way they went about getting Betty.”