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Arts & Culture

PIONEERS OF TELEVISION: Funny Ladies (New Season Premiere)

Cast of the Mary Tyler Moore show (L-R) Gavin MacLeod, Cloris Leachman, Mary Tyler Moore, Ed Asner, Valerie Harper, Ted Knight.
Courtesy of PBS PIONEERS OF TELEVISION
Cast of the Mary Tyler Moore show (L-R) Gavin MacLeod, Cloris Leachman, Mary Tyler Moore, Ed Asner, Valerie Harper, Ted Knight.

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

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, Jan. 15, 2013, and runs through Feb. 5. The new season’s four episodes are “Funny Ladies” (January 15), “Primetime Soaps” (January 22), “Superheroes” (January 29) and “Miniseries” (February 5).

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.

Cloris Leachman has won more Primetime Emmy awards than any other actor.
Courtesy of PBS PIONEERS OF TELEVISION
Cloris Leachman has won more Primetime Emmy awards than any other actor.

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.”

A rare 1954 color image of Betty White, who was already a beloved TV personality.
Courtesy of PBS PIONEERS OF TELEVISION
A rare 1954 color image of Betty White, who was already a beloved TV personality.

The "Funny Ladies" 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.

Explore all national, state and local returns now.