Going Back to the Future at TV Land Awards

Hollywood is one big happy family as stars gather to honor classic shows

I’m a new-media guy. I love technology, I love change and am always looking toward the horizon, watching for the next big thing.

But I recently had a chance to celebrate some Hollywood history, and I have to say I had a blast!

I attended the TV Land Awards, and to give you an idea of what kind of day it was: At a young lady’s request, the inimitable Jack Jones sang her a few bars of the “Love Boat” theme song. Tom Cruise: great. Angelina Jolie: wonderful. Having Jack Jones personally sing the “Love Boat” to you: priceless.

One of the great things about the TV Land Awards is the relaxed, fun atmosphere before, during and after. There are no competitive categories and so everyone shows up to party, connect with old friends, make new ones and generally have a great time.

Before the show I had a chance to kibitz with some of the folks I grew up watching on TV. The film industry today is populated with remakes of classic TV shows, so I asked Richard Moll if he would shave his head again for “Night Court: The Movie.” He said he’d do it if the money was right, adding that he’d also shave his legs. Ah, Hollywood.

TV Land has recently ventured into scripted program, picking up a show called “Hot in Cleveland.” I asked its co-star Jane Leeves what it’s like working with Betty White and, tongue firmly in cheek, she replied, “Awful. Awful woman. Makes my life a misery.”

Tim Allen opened the show saying that the “Love Boat” needed, what else, more power(!), then outlined his proposal for adding a nuclear reactor.

CharoOnstage to receive the Fan Favorite Award, “Love Boat” cast member Fred Grandy said that after spending 25 years in Washington, it was good to be back in Hollywood around people he can trust, while Charo (left) thanked the late Aaron Spelling for giving her a chance as a young actress, back when her "cuchi-cuchi" was still just a "keechi-keechi."

It having been 30 years since the show aired, Jay Leno introduced “Bosom Buddies” for the Anniversary Award. Tom Hanks said the cast members remain friends and said of their director: “Joel Zwick, we owe him our careers,” adding that “all we did was laugh” on the sitcom's set. 

Billy Crystal honored two of his comedy idols, Mel Brooks and Carl Reiner, recipients of the Legend Awards. Crystal said Brooks and Reiner had changed his life and made him want to be a comedian.

Mel and Carl accepted their awards in character, Carl as straight man asked Mel’s 2,000-Year-Old Man where he’d lived his many years and the Man said, “Here and there…mostly there.” Carl then asked him where he lives today and the Man said, “Here now. If I was still there, we wouldn’t be talking.” Explaining the historical significance of Los Angeles, the 2,000-Year-Old Man said, “There’s no city — this is four Newarks pushed together.”

Paula Abdul introduced “Glee” for the Future Classic Award, saying its popularity stems from the fact that “it allows every one of us to sing and dance and express ourselves for who we really are.” Noting the elapsed time between the airing of “Bosom Buddies” and its Anniversary Award, Jane Lynch quipped, “if we have a 30-year anniversary I’ll probably be dead.”

Bob Newhart introduced “Everybody Loves Raymond” for the Impact Award, noting, “One thing I admire about [them] is that they did it in front of a live audience.” Bob then imparted some need-to-know wisdom for any decade: It’s important to do a comedy show in front of a live audience since “you don’t learn anything from a laugh track.”

The show offered a poignant tribute to a fallen Angel, the late, great Farrah Fawcett. Her longtime companion Ryan O’Neal said she was “a woman of such strength and grace under pressure, it only made her more of an angel in the end,” while co-stars Jaclyn Smith and Cheryl Ladd said, “Our show was a hit because we were a family.”

The show finale was, in a word, joyful. I won’t spoil it for you, but I will say that if you’d like to watch a group of TV legends having an absolute blast then tune in to TV Land this Sunday at 9 p.m.