Tag Archives: Jane Leeves

Wendie Malick Talks ‘Hot in Cleveland’ Cross-over, Betty White’s Hot Dog Diet

Jane Leeves, Betty White, Valerie Bertinelli, Wendie Malick TV Land photo by CXraig T. Mathew

With “Hot in Cleveland” returning for its second season Wednesday (1/19) and promotional demands picking up as well, Wendie Malick acknowledges that she and Jane Leeves and Valerie Bertinelli tend to watch out for their cultural phenomenon cast mate, Betty White, who turned 89 yesterday (1/17).

“That’s kind of the rule of thumb.  We’re all here to look out for each other.  Look, we know we’re in the presence of a national treasure here, but she’s a strong one.  She’s a tough broad, I have to tell you,” Malick says.

“She’s got some kind of constitution.  The woman lives on hot dogs and french fries.  I was trying to get her to eat salad with grilled salmon and my husband said, ‘Will you stop?  Whatever she’s been doing is obviously working.’  Maybe red licorice is the secret to a long life.”

The hit status of “Hot in Cleveland”  is a welcome surprise to the series team.  “We all knew it would be a longshot because there were so few pieces about mature women.  But you had to know at some point something would have to work, because there are so many baby boomer women out there who are reinventing ourselves, who are starting new chapters of life.”

With a guest star roster including Mary Tyler Moore, Bonnie Franklin, Carl Reiner, Tim Conway, Melanie Griffith, Peri Gilpin, Joe Jonas and Jon Lovitz, the hitcom also has a few twists on the way.  Among them:  Malick’s character, ex-soap star Victoria Chase, is headed for a stint on daytime’s “All My Children” toward the end of the month in a first-of-its-kind exchange between a prime time show and a daytime show on different networks.

“It is so confusing,” says Malick — who requested being billed as Victoria Chase in “OLTL” credits, rather than as Wendie Malick.

“We’re having trouble keeping track.  Okay, this is a show within a show.  Now I’m playing a character who is playing a character.” She doesn’t know what the soap writers have in mind for her as yet.  “I’m completely putting myself at their mercy.  It will be interesting to see what they come up with, knowing the dynamic between Victoria and Susan Lucci.  She did a cameo on our show in the season finale, where she accepted an Emmy on my behalf,” reminds Malick, whose character was filled with chagrin.

She’ll be shooting “Hot in Cleveland” and “One Life to Live” at the same time, “double teaming a little.  I know they’ll try to shoot all my things at once.  I’ll rehearse a few hours on my show, then shoot a few hours with them.”

It’s a time squeeze most actors would love to have.  “Oh, yes, says Malick.  “You really want to be a little too busy.”

Jane Leeves is Getting Protective of Betty White

Jane Leeves Hot in Cleveland TV Land photo

Betty Mania continues.  TV Land’s June 16-debuting ‘Hot in Cleveland’ is in its first week of regular series production, and Jane Leeves is finding cast mate Betty White a wonder woman: ‘She’s 88 and she’s giving us a run for our money. She’s such an inspiration. No wonder everyone loves her.’

Leeves sounds a little protective of White, who plays the strange and saucy caretaker of the Ohio property rented by a group of powerful women from Los Angeles — Leeves, Valerie Bertinelli and Wendie Malick — in the show that marks TV Land’s first original sitcom. She says she found herself watching White’s ‘Saturday Night Live’ guest hosting stint feeling worried over whether she’d be overtaxed. ‘I thought they’d use her sparingly but they had her in every scene — and she killed,’ she points out with a laugh. Still, asked for her response to those now calling out for Betty to host the Oscars, the Emmys — everything — Leeves says, ‘Leave her alone.’

White, she adds, is taking it all in stride. ‘She’s so grounded.’

For Leeves, who became a beloved fixture on the TV scene herself with her 11 years on ‘Frasier,’ ‘Hot in Cleveland’ means a chance to go back to the half-hour format. ‘It’s ideal for me as a mom,’ says the British actress, whose daughter is nine now, and whose son is six. ‘It’s where I’m most comfortable. And the schedule is really great. I was looking at some hour-longs and my husband said, ‘No, please, we’d never see you.”

‘Cleveland,’ which has Sean Hayes as an executive producer, gives her the chance to play something completely different from her kind-hearted Daphne character of the past. — as cynical career woman Joy, ‘eyebrow archer to the stars.’

‘There was just something about Joy that I loved, something going on there,’ says Leeves. ‘There are a lot of layers to her, things that made her the way she is.’ At least one dark secret about the character will be revealed early on, she hints. ‘I can’t say what it is, but it’s a big one.’