Carol Burnett becomes the latest great from TV’s past to enter the world of streaming on Friday with the debut of her Netflix series “A Little Help With Carol Burnett,” and the 85-year-old actress told Vulture that she prefers the streaming world to broadcast television these days, saying “there are just too many cooks now.”
“A Little Help” will see Burnett and her co-host, comedian Russell Peters, work with a group of kids to help solve the problems of celebrities including Billy Eichner, Taraji P. Henson and Mark Cuban. The show marks Burnett’s first regular return to television since CBS’ ill-fated attempt at reviving her variety series “The Carol Burnett Show” in the early 1990s. Since then, Burnett had appeared in guest spots on a handful of series including “Glee,” “Hawaii Five-O” and “Hot in Cleveland.”
So why did Burnett decide to return to the television format, particularly on streaming? Burnett told Vulture that working with Netflix reminded her of the early days of TV, where network executives weren’t as involved in the making of the shows.
“I liked it, because they stayed away,” she said of Netflix. “When I was doing my show back in the covered-wagon days, they didn’t even want to read a script.” She added that executives such as CBS’ William Paley would leave her alone. “But a lot of the networks now, they’ve got an army of people coming to comment and tell you how you should change something, and it’s very bothersome to me.”
Burnett said that shooting guest spots on a 22-minute sitcom would take up to five hours, “because everybody, after every scene, there were all these writers and network people saying ‘Oh, no. Change that line.'”
Netflix has winning over the creative community lately, luring big time TV showrunners like Ryan Murphy and Shonda Rhimes away from broadcast television.
Burnett is just the latest to praise Netflix’s hands-off approach. “They had some notes and suggestions when we were casting, and then afterwards, they left us alone,” she added.
Read the full interview with Vulture here.