© 2021 WLRN
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
Available On Air Stations

Groundbreaking Comedy Variety Show Premieres TONIGHT!

The Carol Burnett Show

One of the most popular and beloved series in the history of television, THE CAROL BURNETT SHOW premieres TONIGHT. The laughs begin at 7pm.

The Carol Burnett Show – Variety/Sketch Comedy Show

The Carol Burnett show premiered in 1967 and continued for 11 straight years, it was the ultimate variety show with music, acting, larger-than-life guest stars, and, of course, comedy.

The original cast of characters included Harvey Korman, Vicki Lawrence, Lyle Waggoner, and Tim Conway. Carol herself selected the 15 episodes in this series as among her favorites.


In the first episode, which originally aired, November 11, 1968 featured guest stars: Don Rickles, Mel Tormé, Nanette Fabray. Highlights include "Doctor’s Office," "Take a Letter Miss Jones," "The Shoe Store," and " The Tin Pan Alley Story"


· The Carol Burnett Show won 25 primetime Emmy Awards, was ranked number 16 on TV Guide's 50 Greatest TV Shows of All Time in 2002, and in 2007 was listed as one of Time's 100 Best TV Shows of All Time.

· Burnett signed a contract with CBS for 10 years, which required her to do two guest appearances and a special a year. Within the first five years of this contract, she had the option to be put on the air in 30 one-hour variety shows, pay-or-play. In the last week of the fifth year of the contract, Burnett decided to call the head of CBS Michael Dann and exercise this option. Dann, explaining that variety is a "man's genre", offered Burnett a sitcom called Here's Agnes. Burnett had no interest in doing a sitcom, and because of the contract, CBS was obliged to give Burnett her own variety show.

· At the close of each episode, Burnett tugged her ear. This silent message was meant for her grandmother, who raised her, and meant she was thinking of her at that moment.

· The show was rehearsed each day until its two Friday tapings. The second taping was fairly routine until Tim Conway came aboard, first as a recurring guest star and later a regular cast member. Conway provided unrehearsed bits to sketches that became known as "Conway's Capers". This caused the other cast members to laugh breaking character, which became a popular part of the series.

· Carol Burnett's husband and Executive Producer Joe Hamilton wrote the theme song for the show.