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Category: Mary Tyler Moore

Are Amy Poehler and Tina Fey secretly channeling Valerie Harper and Mary Tyler Moore?

April 10, 2009 |  3:43 pm

Are you among the viewers who felt, like some TV critics, that the pilot episode of "Parks and Recreation" didn't live up to its promise? Relax. Give these proven geniuses a break. "Parks and Recreation" is by the same wizards who gave us "The Office" (Greg Daniels and Mike Schur) and "Saturday Night Live" (the white-hot Amy Poehler) — who need a little time to tinker with the gears of their Porsche. TV series with this potential payoff don't come around very often. It's worth hanging in there to see where this baby goes — and how fast it takes off. I have a hunch it will.

Let's assume it does and then let's assume Amy Poehler gets nominated for best comedy actress this year at the Emmys. There's a very good chance that could happen considering that the contenders will be chosen by a popular ballot and the number of nominees per category will be expanded this year to six or seven from the usual five.

Amy poehler Tina fey

If Poehler gets nominated, that means Emmy nuts like you and me can look forward to a fascinating clawfest: Poehler, the scrappy rookie, taking on heavyweight champ Tina Fey (lead actress winner, "30 Rock," 2008), who also happens to be her best friend. The two former costars are now appearing in their own TV series, slugging it out for the gold. Remind you of any parallels?

In 1975, Valerie Harper split with her former costar, Mary Tyler Moore, to launch her own spin-off sitcom "Rhoda." At the next Emmys, the onetime best pals squared off in the same kind of dishy bout. Everyone assumed that Moore — the Lucille Ball of her day — would clobber Harper. If anyone could topple the TV queen, it might be Jean Stapleton ("All in the Family"), but not Harper. Harper portrayed Rhoda as a gum-snapping wisecracker. Her character didn't have the emotional depth of Mary Richards, say, or Edith Bunker, right?

But on Emmy night all jaws— including Harper's — dropped when she pulled an Eve Harrington and nabbed the gold prize. At the podium, Harper acknowledged Moore gratefully and gleefully. The L.A. Times noted that she also "felt compelled to thank everyone profusely," including her analyst.

But Moore ended up getting a royal consolation prize at the end of the Emmy ceremony. When the last envelope of the night was opened, it revealed that the winner of best comedy series was "The Mary Tyler Moore Show." The news was trumpeted by Lucille Ball in a scene that is remembered today as one of those goose-bump times in Emmy history. When Moore arrived on stage and took the golden statuette from Ball's hand — looking wonderstruck, taking in the grand context of the scene — we saw comedy's scepter and crown being passed from one generation to another. Hail, hail TV's queens!

One more got hailed last year when "30 Rock" won best comedy series for a second time in a row and Tina Fey was handed the prize by Mary Tyler Moore and Betty White (see video below). Click HERE to KEEP READING!


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Could talkin' dirty earn Emmy queen Cloris Leachman award No. 10?

August 19, 2008 |  3:47 pm

All-time Emmy champ Cloris Leachman may be 82 but as she showed on this weekend's Comedy Central roast of Bob Saget, there is plenty of life in the ole girl yet.

Her raunchy routine caused plenty of gasps and guffaws on the dais and could well earn her another Emmy nomination. After all, two of her record eight prime-time wins were for her appearances on variety shows. And last year's roast of William Shatner got a nod as best variety, comedy or music special (it lost to "Tony Bennett: An American Classic").

Cloris_leachman

Leachman picked up the first of her 21 Emmy nods for her supporting work on "The Mary Tyler Moore Show" in 1972, just weeks after winning the supporting actress Oscar for her appearance in "The Last Picture Show." While she lost that first race to her on-screen nemesis Valerie Harper and Sally Struthers ("All in the Family") she was back the following year and won lead actress in a telefilm ("A Brand New Life," 1973). Since then, she has shown what a utility player she is with those 8 Emmy wins spread across seven categories.

For her work on "MTM," she first won supporting actress in a comedy series in 1974 and then single performance by a supporting actress in a comedy or drama series in 1975. That year Leachman also took home continuing or single performance by a supporting actress in a variety show for a guest spot on "Cher." She won the current category — individual performance in a variety program — back in 1984 for "Screen Actors Guild 50th Anniversary Celebration." More recently, she won guest actress in a drama series ("Promised Land," 1998) and guest actress in a comedy series ("Malcolm in the Middle," 2002, 2006). And if you include the Daytime Emmy Leachman won in 1983 for her performance in the children's drama "The Woman Who Willed a Miracle" her tally is a staggering nine statues.

And Leachman's closest competition? With seven wins apiece — her old boss, Mary Tyler Moore (5 lead actress in a comedy series — "The Dick Van Dyke Show," 1964, 1966 and "The Mary Tyler Moore Show," 1973, 1974, 1976; actress of the year, 1974; and supporting actress in a telefilm or mini-series, "Stolen Babies," 1993) and fellow "MTM" supporting player Ed Asner (supporting actor in a comedy series, "MTM," 1971, 1972, 1975; single performance by a lead actor, "Rich Man, Poor Man," 1976; single performance by a supporting actor, "Roots," 1977; and lead actor in a drama series, "Lou Grant," 1978, 1980).

(ATAS, Comedy Central)


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