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TV Icons Are Put to Work in TV Land's Back to the Grind Premiering Wednesday, July 18
Erik Estrada, Marla Gibbs, Betty White, Mark Curry, Bea Arthur, Ed Begley Jr. and Jimmie Walker are among those featured in the new reality series.

[via press release from TV Land]

TV Icons Are Put to Work in TV Land's Back to the Grind Premiering Wednesday, July 18

Original Series Features Loni Anderson, Erik Estrada, Marla Gibbs, Sherman Hemsley, Betty White, Mark Curry, Jimmie Walker, Harry Anderson, Bea Arthur and Ed Begley Jr. Performing the Jobs Their Characters Held

NEW YORK, June 11 -- What happens when Sherman Hemsley spends the day sweating it out at a real dry cleaning establishment? Can Loni Anderson really hack it as a receptionist at a top radio station? And does the courtroom listen when Harry Anderson starts hitting the gavel? Viewers will find out when TV Land airs Back to the Grind, a new original series premiering Wednesday, July 18 at 10:30 p.m. This half-hour series challenges iconic TV performers to actually work in the jobs their TV characters held on shows like The Jeffersons, Night Court and WKRP in Cincinnati. Other performers featured in the series include Erik Estrada, Marla Gibbs, Betty White, Mark Curry, Bea Arthur, Ed Begley Jr. and Jimmie Walker. The series is executive produced by Michael Levitt and Eugene Pack.

"Back to the Grind blends popular TV personalities with fun, real life situations inspired by the plotlines of some of the best loved TV shows ever made," states Sal Maniaci, Senior Vice President of Development and Production, TV Land. "This is a light-hearted, entertaining look at performers that our audience knows and loves."

The series gives celebrated actors a fresh opportunity to reminisce, while taking on some real "work" challenges. From Betty White reliving her "Sue Ann Nivens" character's job as a cooking show host on The Mary Tyler Moore Show to Erik Estrada trying to fight crime with the real CHIPS Academy and more, the stars interact with the "real people" who do their TV jobs for a living.

The episode rollout is as follows (all times are ET/PT):


July 18, 2007, 10:30 p.m.

In the premiere episode of Back to the Grind, Loni Anderson (WKRP In Cincinnati) spends a day and a night working in live radio. She starts as a receptionist at a top radio station, then tries her hand at being a traffic reporter, a "hip hop" DJ, and she finally ends her day by screening calls at "Loveline," where she ends up on air with sex/love expert Dr. Drew Pinsky. Also in this episode, Erik Estrada (CHIPS) attempts to work the streets with the actual California Highway Patrol, but first, he has to get his motorcycle license -- and attend the CHIPS Academy which proves not to be an easy task for the star.


July 25, 2007, 10:30 p.m.

In this "Jefferson" themed episode, two stars from that classic sitcom attempt to do the jobs they did on the show for real -- Marla Gibbs finds herself working with the Merry Maids and eventually tries her hand as housekeeping supervisor at one of LA's swankiest boutique hotel. Meanwhile, Sherman Hemsley spends a day sweating it out at a real dry cleaners -- taking orders, ironing, pressing and eventually delivering the clothes in the company van.


August 1, 2007, 10:30 p.m.

Betty White attempts to host her very own cooking show for real -- like she did in her Emmy-Award winning role as "Sue Ann Nivens" on The Mary Tyler Moore Show. The only problem is that she hates spending time in the kitchen. Plus, Hanging With Mr. Cooper star Mark Curry is given the challenge of coaching an actual high school basketball team to a game day victory or defeat.


August 8, 2007, 10:30 p.m.

Like his character "JJ" on Good Times, Jimmie Walker tries his hand as a painter and takes real art classes -- painting nude models -- eventually displaying his self-portrait at an art gallery showing. He's in for a surprise when a special guest star shows up to buy his "artwork." Then, Night Court's Harry Anderson punches in at a New Orleans courthouse for a day -- attempting to learn what it takes to really be a judge. Only Harry Anderson would somehow manage to officiate a real life wedding during his tenure as a judge.


August 15, 2007, 10:30 p.m.

She played a tutor on the Golden Girls, but now Bea Arthur takes on one of the greatest roles of her illustrious career -- teaching and tutoring college SAT prep classes to a group of feisty teenagers! Then, St. Elsewhere's Ed Begley, Jr. recreates his TV job by working at St. Joseph's hospital for a day -- with tasks ranging from manning the information booth to serving lunches to patients and even conquers his biggest fear -- taking blood.

Beginning July 5, TVLand.com will feature sneak peeks of the series and classic scenes from Good Times and The Jeffersons. When the show premieres on July 18, fans can log on to watch interviews with TV icons Erik Estrada, Betty White and more, exclusive footage from the series and full episodes.

Michael Levitt is a veteran television producer whose recent projects include network specials reuniting the casts of three long running series: Knots Landing Reunion: Together Again (CBS), The Happy Days' 30th Anniversary Reunion (ABC) and Dallas Reunion: The Return To Southfork (CBS). Among his other projects, in 2003, Levitt co-created and served as executive producer for The TV Land Awards: A Celebration of Classic TV. Now in its fifth installment, Levitt presides as executive producer over the show. Over the past ten years,

Levitt has also served as Executive Producer on the Billboard Music Awards as well as producer of the Teen Choice Awards (Fox) and Scream Awards (SpikeTV). Most recently, Levitt Executive Produced Simon Cowell's Celebrity Duets for Fox and Crowned: The Mother of All Pageants for CW.

Eugene Pack is the executive producer and creator of Bravo's critically acclaimed comedy special Celebrity Autobiography: In Their Own Words based on his long-running comedy stage hit and the executive producer of the CMT series Dallas Cowboy Cheerleaders: Making The Team, now in its second season. He is an Emmy-Award nominated writer (America: A Tribute to Heroes) for Outstanding Writing for a Variety, Music, or Comedy Program. In addition, he is the writer and performer of the one man comedy show Undisputed: My Night With the Queen of Soul. Producing credits include Countdown to the Emmys (NBC), The Food Network Awards, and the VH1 comedy pilot Signs of Life. His other recent writing credits include A Home For The Holidays (CBS), Fashion Rocks (CBS), Academy of Country Music Awards (CBS) and The NFL Opening Kickoff (ABC).

About TV Land

Now seen in over 90 million U.S. homes, TV Land is dedicated to building the ultimate Baby Boomer entertainment brand on all platforms. Armed with a slate of new original programming, newly acquired Classic TV and movies, multiplatform content and Cause Change, a new pro-social initiative, the network is uniquely positioned to cater to America's 78 million Baby Boomers, the first generation of Americans who grew alongside television. TV Land's program mix features hit originals, popular dramas, sitcoms, westerns and Retromercials. TV Land's roster includes hits like All in the Family, M*A*S*H, The Andy Griffith Show and several others. Furthering the network's commitment to develop original programming that complements its roster of acquisitions, the network regularly showcases original series and specials like I Pity The Fool, Sit Down Comedy with David Steinberg, TV Land Myths and Legends, Generation Boom, TV Land Confidential and the upcoming original series High School Reunion.

MTV Networks, a unit of Viacom (NYSE: VIA, VIA.B), is one of the world's leading creators of programming and content across all media platforms. MTV Networks, with 135 channels worldwide, owns and operates the following television programming services -- MTV: MUSIC TELEVISION, MTV2, VH1, mtvU, NICKELODEON, NICK at NITE, COMEDY CENTRAL, TV LAND, SPIKE TV, CMT, NOGGIN/THE N, VH1 CLASSIC, LOGO, MTVN INTERNATIONAL and THE DIGITAL SUITE FROM MTV NETWORKS, a package of 13 digital services, all of these networks trademarks of MTV Networks. MTV Networks connects with its audiences through its robust consumer products businesses and its more than 200 interactive properties worldwide, including online, broadband, wireless and interactive television services and also has licensing agreements, joint ventures, and syndication deals whereby all of its programming services can be seen worldwide.


  [june 2007]  


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