TV Land announced today that it will salute Lucille Ball, Roots, The Brady Bunch, Taxi and Hee Haw among others at the Fifth Annual TV Land Awards hosted by Kelly Ripa on Saturday, April 14. The gala premieres on TV Land on Sunday, April 22nd at 9 p.m. ET/PT and will be rebroadcast on TV Land's sister network, Nick at Nite that same night beginning at 11 p.m. ET/PT. M&M'S Brand Chocolate Candies is the presenting sponsor of the annual celebration that recognizes shows and stars from television's rich history.
All of this year's honorees are pop culture icons representing a cross- section of classic television that Boomers continue to love. Legendary comedienne Carol Burnett will bestow the Legacy of Laughter Award on Lucie Arnaz and Desi Arnaz, Jr. on behalf of their mother, Lucille Ball for her groundbreaking career and body of work including her enduring sitcom I Love Lucy. The cast of The Brady Bunch will be reunited on stage to accept the Pop Culture Award. The landmark mini-series Roots, which celebrated its 30th anniversary this year, will be honored for its place in television history. The Entertainer Award will be given to Hee Haw, one of television's longest running country music series. Taxi, which launched and furthered the careers of several Hollywood notables, will be awarded the Medallion Award for keeping the meter running for all these years.
TV Land will also present awards in several other categories, including the 2006 Future Classic Award - which TV Land unveiled in 1998 and is presented annually to the one new show from the previous calendar year that best exemplifies the qualities of an emerging television classic. Previous winners of the Future Classic Award include The Sopranos, Desperate Housewives, Arrested Development and Grey's Anatomy to name a few.
"Our honorees embody what Boomers really love about television - the best of comedy, drama and music," stated Larry W. Jones, President, TV Land. "From a screwball red-head to a gripping family saga to great musical performances, TV Land will celebrate the extraordinary accomplishments of this very diverse group of talented entertainers."
Among the stars scheduled to appear include:
John Amos : Roots honoree
Desi Arnaz, Jr. : Lucille Ball honoree
Lucie Arnaz : Lucille Ball honoree
Todd Bridges : Roots honoree
Carol Burnett : Presenter
LeVar Burton : Roots honoree
Roy Clark : Hee Haw honoree
Jeff Conaway : Taxi honoree
Tony Danza : Taxi honoree
Ann B. Davis : Brady Bunch honoree
Danny DeVito : Taxi honoree
Louis Gossett, Jr. : Roots honoree
Florence Henderson : Brady Bunch honoree
Judd Hirsch : Taxi honoree
Christopher Knight : Brady Bunch honoree
Mike Lookinland : Brady Bunch honoree
Maureen McCormick : Brady Bunch honoree
Susan Olsen : Brady Bunch honoree
Cicely Tyson : Roots honoree
Leslie Uggams : Roots honoree
Ben Vereen : Roots honoree
Barry Williams : Brady Bunch honoree
THE LEGACY OF LAUGHTER AWARD
This award is presented to honor an entertainer whose awe-inspiring work continues to serve as an inspiration and a guiding force: Lucille Ball. Her comedy always delivered, from the broadest slapstick to the most nuanced verbal reaction. Her gift is indeed a legacy. It serves as both an ideal for those who have followed her, and also in and of itself - timelessly providing the invigorating, healing power of laughter.
Named by TV Guide as the "Greatest TV Star of All Time", Lucille Ball's groundbreaking work in film and television continues to touch the funny bone of viewers all over the world. Lucille Ball was born in Jamestown, NY in 1911 and always wanted to make her mark in entertainment. She entered a New York City drama school and later landed a coveted RKO contract which brought her roles in Top Hat, The Big Street and Too Many Girls - the motion picture where she met and fell in love with her husband and I Love Lucy co-star Desi Arnaz. Today, I Love Lucy is one of the most successful and longest running programs in television syndication. Lucy was not only a comedy genius but a power to be reckoned with behind the camera. With her business prowess she laid the groundwork for many of today's innovative television production methods. In 1951, she became the first woman to run her own production company - Desilu -- that produced such television hits as Star Trek, The Andy Griffith Show, Mission Impossible and Mannix. From shooting I Love Lucy on film with three cameras to the creation of re-runs during her real-life pregnancy to starting a successful syndication model, she was truly one of television's first major players.
THE ANNIVERSARY AWARD
The legacy of Roots, the 1977 mini-series, hardly needs any further paeans, but it is nonetheless fitting, and TV Land's honor -- to celebrate this epic that 30 years ago gathered Americans in extraordinary numbers for an unforgettable communal television experience. A series full of anguish and terror, redemption and hope, Roots was and is extraordinary television in every way.
Alex Haley's best-selling novel which was loosely based on his family's struggle in America was brought to television in 1977, Roots remains one of the most watched programs in the history of American television. The mini- series aired on ABC over an unprecedented six nights and chronicled Haley's ancestor Kunta Kinte, who was abducted from his village home in Gambia and brought to the United States in 1767 as a slave. Roots was nominated for over 25 awards and won the 1977 Golden Globe for Best Drama Series as well as 12 Emmy Awards.
THE POP CULTURE AWARD
Presented to a show that has crossed the line from television series to pop culture phenomenon, this year's honoree is The Brady Bunch. Like almost no other show before or since, this series transcended its humble origins as a Friday night family viewing staple, to become a television touchstone for not one generation, but many.
The Brady Bunch remains one of the most beloved sitcoms in American TV history and is a true Boomer pop culture icon. The show which premiered on ABC in 1969 centered on the newly blended family of widower Mike Brady, father of three young boys and young widow, mother of three daughters, Carol. Together Mike and Carol Brady faced the everyday trials and tribulations raising six adolescent children - from first dates to braces to sibling rivalries. With the help of amazing fans, The Brady Bunch continues to hold a special place in the hearts of many Americans. Nearly 40 years after its premiere, the show can still be seen everyday on television -- somewhere in the world.
THE MEDALLION AWARD
This award is presented to a television series which has stood the test of time and ranks among the most memorable and celebrated shows in TV history. TV Land will honor Taxi as this year's recipient. At times heartfelt, at other times hilarious, the series was a prime example of the magic of a talented cast of individuals melding into an ensemble - a creative whole that was greater than the sum of its wonderful parts.
Taxi premiered on ABC in 1978 and later moved to the rival network, NBC in 1982 where it finished it run. In just five seasons on the air, Taxi garnered 14 Emmy Awards. The show followed the lives of a group of New York City cab drivers at the Sunshine Cab Company. Each cabbie had their own aspiration to do more with their lives than just drive a cab but changing their lot in life was never that easy. With a strong writing team to support them, this rich comedy ensemble cast including Danny DeVito, Judd Hirsch, the late Andy Kaufman, Marilu Henner and Tony Danza tackled many dramatic issues like failed marriages, blindness, drug addiction and sexual harassment - all from a very hilarious viewpoint.
THE ENTERTAINER AWARD
This award is presented to a television series that formed a bond with its devoted audience, becoming a cherished appointment full of characters and performances that we welcomed into our homes each week. This year the award is presented to Hee Haw. With rollicking comedy provided by the beloved cast, and musical performances by country's greatest singers and musicians, Hee Haw was truly an American original.
Hosted by Roy Clark and the late Buck Owens, Hee Haw is one of America's longest running music programs. The show premiered in June of 1969 and continued on the air in syndication through 2006. At its height, the show averaged over 27.3 million viewers, which was unheard of at the time. From Dolly Parton to Louis Nye and from Garth Brooks to Rip Taylor, Hee Haw was a perfect mixture of sketch comedy and amazing musical performances.
TV Land has also asked viewers to log on to the network's Emmy-winning website, TVLand.com to vote for select fun categories including "Favorite Lady Gumshoe," "Greatest Gear" and "Favorite Elvis Impersonation" with the winners to be announced and presented at the show. The voting is taking place on TVLand.com, and will end on April 7th.