What happens when Sherman Hemsley spends the day sweating it out at a real dry cleaning establishment? Can Loni Anderson really hack it as a receptionist at a top radio station? And does the courtroom listen when Harry Anderson starts hitting the gavel? Viewers will find out when TV Land airs Back to the Grind, a new original series premiering Wednesday, July 18 at 10:30 p.m. This half-hour series challenges iconic TV performers to actually work in the jobs their TV characters held on shows like The Jeffersons, Night Court and WKRP in Cincinnati. Other performers featured in the series include Erik Estrada, Marla Gibbs, Betty White, Mark Curry, Bea Arthur, Ed Begley Jr. and Jimmie Walker.
"Back to the Grind blends popular TV personalities with fun, real life situations inspired by the plotlines of some of the best loved TV shows ever made," states Sal Maniaci, Senior Vice President of Development and Production, TV Land. "This is a light-hearted, entertaining look at performers that our audience knows and loves."
The series gives celebrated actors a fresh opportunity to reminisce, while taking on some real "work" challenges. From Betty White reliving her "Sue Ann Nivens" character's job as a cooking show host on The Mary Tyler Moore Show to Erik Estrada trying to fight crime with the real CHiPs Academy and more, the stars interact with the "real people" who do their TV jobs for a living.
The episode rollout is as follows (all times are ET/PT):
LONI ANDERSON AND ERIK ESTRADA
July 18, 2007, 10:30 p.m.
In the premiere episode of Back to the Grind, Loni Anderson (WKRP in Cincinnati) spends a day and a night working in live radio. She starts as a receptionist at a top radio station, then tries her hand at being a traffic reporter, a "hip hop" DJ, and she finally ends her day by screening calls at "Loveline," where she ends up on air with sex/love expert Dr. Drew Pinsky. Also in this episode, Erik Estrada (CHiPs) attempts to work the streets with the actual California Highway Patrol, but first, he has to get his motorcycle license -- and attend the CHIPS Academy which proves not to be an easy task for the star.
MARLA GIBBS & SHERMAN HEMSLEY
July 25, 2007, 10:30 p.m.
In this The Jeffersons themed episode, two stars from that classic sitcom attempt to do the jobs they did on the show for real -- Marla Gibbs finds herself working with the Merry Maids and eventually tries her hand as housekeeping supervisor at one of LA's swankiest boutique hotel. Meanwhile, Sherman Hemsley spends a day sweating it out at a real dry cleaners -- taking orders, ironing, pressing and eventually delivering the clothes in the company van.
BETTY WHITE & MARK CURRY
August 1, 2007, 10:30 p.m.
Betty White attempts to host her very own cooking show for real -- like she did in her Emmy-Award winning role as "Sue Ann Nivens" on The Mary Tyler Moore Show. The only problem is that she hates spending time in the kitchen. Plus, Hanging With Mr. Cooper star Mark Curry is given the challenge of coaching an actual high school basketball team to a game day victory or defeat.
JIMMIE WALKER & HARRY ANDERSON
August 8, 2007, 10:30 p.m.
Like his character "JJ" on Good Times, Jimmie Walker tries his hand as a painter and takes real art classes -- painting nude models -- eventually displaying his self-portrait at an art gallery showing. He's in for a surprise when a special guest star shows up to buy his "artwork." Then, Night Court 's Harry Anderson punches in at a New Orleans courthouse for a day -- attempting to learn what it takes to really be a judge. Only Harry Anderson would somehow manage to officiate a real life wedding during his tenure as a judge.
BEA ARTHUR & ED BEGLEY, JR.
August 15, 2007, 10:30 p.m.
She played a tutor on the The Golden Girls, but now Bea Arthur takes on one of the greatest roles of her illustrious career -- teaching and tutoring college SAT prep classes to a group of feisty teenagers! Then, St. Elsewhere's Ed Begley, Jr. recreates his TV job by working at St. Joseph's hospital for a day -- with tasks ranging from manning the information booth to serving lunches to patients and even conquers his biggest fear -- taking blood.
Beginning July 5, TVLand.com will feature sneak peeks of the series and classic scenes from Good Times and The Jeffersons. When the show premieres on July 18, fans can log on to watch interviews with TV icons Erik Estrada, Betty White and more, exclusive footage from the series and full episodes.