“Hot in Cleveland” goes global

Good news for overseas readers: TV Land’s Hot in Cleveland has just been picked up for international distribution.

Given the fact that the first episode got the highest ever ratings for TV Land — some 5 million viewers — a global deal isn’t surprising. The pilot got mixed reviews, though, so whether high ratings will continue remains to be seen. (Although not much remains to be seen of Jane Leeves’ legs.)

Hot in Cleveland has the main ingredients of a good comedy: sit-com veterans Leeves, Valerie Bertinelli, and Wendie Malick plus the hotter-than-hot Betty White. But White’s appearances were the only thing close to LOL funny in the first episode. And her part is humorous mostly because she’s Betty White. The series trailer gives a pretty good idea of the tone of the show.

The leads seem to have good chemistry and their comedy series experience shows in their snappy delivery and timing. But the writing needs a boost. This clip from Episode 2 gives me pause.

I sincerely hope White’s character is not going to be a one trick pony (pun intended) given to calling the other women “hookers” at ever opportunity. But so far, she manages to be funny despite her dialogue.

The good news is that our witty friend Liz Feldman is on the writing team (update your IMDb page, Liz!), so we have reason to expect an increase in laughs per minute — and not just because of the laugh track.

The bottom line for me is that Hot in Cleveland is, at the moment, an OK show that I’ll watch for Betty White. But it’s going to have to get a whole lot better to make me a fan when White’s episodes are over. At least, in this case, our international viewers will get a chance to decide for themselves if the show is worth watching.

What do you think? If you watched Hot in Cleveland, what did you think? Will you keep watching?

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