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Carol Burnett Really Wishes Variety Shows on TV Were Still a Thing

Carol Burnett paid emotional tribute to the medium that made her famous as she accepted the inaugural Golden Globe kudo for achievement in television at the 69th awards. But she also made a point of calling out major networks for failing to invest in high-end variety shows such as “The Carol Burnett Show,” which ran for 11 seasons on CBS.

“Nothing like our show, and I might add other variety shows at the time, could ever see the light of day today because the networks just wouldn’t spend the money,” Burnett said. “And because there are so many cable competitors, they are not going to take a chance. And sad to say today’s audiences might never know what they are — so here’s to reruns and YouTube.”

Burnett spoke of her childhood love of movies and her gratitude for enjoying such a long career.

“For every person who is lucky enough to be on television (there) is the belief that we’ve been given the opportunity to do something special. We have been granted a gift, a canvas to paint with our talent,” she said. “Sometimes I catch myself daydreaming about being young again and doing it all over. And then I bring myself up short when I realize how incredibly fortunate I was to be there at the right time. Because what we did then couldn’t be done today. The cost alone would be prohibitive. 28-piece, 12 dancers, average of 65 costumes a week.”

Burnett said she was also humbled that the Hollywood Foreign Press Association chose to name its TV achievement award after her. She also invoked her signature song from the series, “So Glad We Had This Time Together.”

“This award, oh my gosh, so generously named after me, is dedicated to all those who made my dreams come true, and to all those out there who share the love I have for television and who yearn to be part of this unique medium that has been so good to me,” Burnett said. “I‘m just happy that our show happened when it did. And that I can look back and say once more I am so glad we had this time together.”

Burnett has worked in entertainment since she landed her first meaty small-screen gigs in the late 1950s when she played the girlfriend of Buddy Hackett’s titular character in NBC’s sitcom “Stanley.” She soon went on to guest star in a number of other series including “The Twilight Zone,” “Get Smart” and “The Lucy Show” and appear for three years on “The Garry Moore Show.” Burnett also received a 10-year deal with CBS that included a clause saying she could do a 30-episode variety show; just five years after honing her sketch comedy chops on “The Garry Moore Show,” she took CBS up on that clause, launching “The Carol Burnett Show” in 1967.

(Danielle Turchiano contributed to this report.)

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