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PIONEERS OF TELEVISION: Funny Ladies (New Season Premiere)

Airs Tuesday, January 15, 2013 at 8 p.m. on KPBS TV

Above: Cast of the Mary Tyler Moore show (L-R) Gavin MacLeod, Cloris Leachman, Mary Tyler Moore, Ed Asner, Valerie Harper, Ted Knight.

Emmy-award winning radio personality, television host and producer Ryan Seacrest has signed on to narrate the third season of PIONEERS OF TELEVISION, PBS’ Emmy-nominated series that brings to life the stories of television’s most beloved stars. PIONEERS OF TELEVISION returns to PBS Tuesday, January 15, 2013, and runs through February 5. The new season’s four episodes are “Funny Ladies” (January 15), “Primetime Soaps” (January 22), “Superheroes” (January 29) and “Miniseries” (February 5).

Courtesy of PBS PIONEERS OF TELEVISION

Cloris Leachman has won more Primetime Emmy awards than any other actor.

Courtesy of PBS PIONEERS OF TELEVISION

A rare 1954 color image of Betty White, who was already a beloved TV personality.

TV Trivia

Which pioneer of television are you? Answer all 10 questions to find out which icon of television has a lot in common with you!

Stars featured in PIONEERS include Carol Burnett, Lynda Carter, Joan Collins, Diahann Carroll, Richard Chamberlain, Patrick Duffy, Lou Ferrigno, Tina Fey, Louis Gossett Jr., Larry Hagman, Cloris Leachman, Joan Rivers, Leslie Uggams, Rachel Ward, Adam West and Betty White, among many others.

In PIONEERS OF TELEVISION more than 100 stars bring their stories to life, telling backstage tales of America’s favorite shows. Each episode melds compelling new interviews with iconic clips and never-before-seen photos to offer an insider’s look at television’s biggest celebrities.

“We are thrilled to bring another season of PIONEERS OF TELEVISION to PBS,” said executive producer Steve Boettcher, who, along with producing partner Mike Trinklein, has helmed numerous acclaimed specials and series about television’s breakthrough performers. “It’s doubly exciting to have our show led by one of contemporary television’s most ubiquitous stars, as well as one of its most ardent fans and talented creators.”

"Funny Ladies" - This episode features the first standup comediennes to appear on television - legends such as Phyllis Diller and Joan Rivers.

It also looks at Lucille Ball's breakthrough on "I Love Lucy" and the sitcom stars who followed, including Mary Tyler Moore, Betty White and Marla Gibbs.

The episode covers television's most enduring variety star, Carol Burnett, and features interviews with contemporary actresses including Tina Fey and Margaret Cho.

Video

Preview: Pioneers Of Television: Funny Ladies

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Above: This episode features the first standup comediennes to appear on television - legends such as Phyllis Diller and Joan Rivers. It also looks at Lucille Ball's breakthrough on "I Love Lucy" and the sitcom stars who followed, including Mary Tyler Moore, Betty White and Marla Gibbs. The episode covers television's most enduring variety star, Carol Burnett, and features interviews with contemporary actresses including Tina Fey and Margaret Cho.

Video

Betty White on 'Life With Elizabeth'

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Above: Actress Betty White recalls how the first situation comedy that she starred in, “Life With Elizabeth,” was born.

Video

Phyllis Diller on 'The Ed Sullivan Show'

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Above: Phyllis Diller recalls trouble on the last "The Ed Sullivan Show."

Video

Betty White On Performing Live

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Above: Betty White describes what happened when she and actor Del Moore both forgot their lines on live television.

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