Is There More Respect for Older Women on TV?

Here's hoping Betty White's new Hot in Cleveland sitcom ushers in a new era for women on the small screen

In 2010 alone, she’s had a scene-stealing Snickers Superbowl ad, won a SAG lifetime achievement award, and was the highest-rated Saturday Night Live host in years. Think Betty White's career is experiencing a renaissance?

Continuing the White-hot streak tonight, the Golden Girls alum is joined by television vets Valerie Bertinelli (One Day At A Time), Jane Leeves (Fraser) and Wendie Malick (Just Shoot Me), who all return to the spotlight with the new TVLand sitcom Hot In Cleveland.

The show centers on three L.A. pals who get stranded in Middle America after an airline snafu, only to realize that they’re still quite desirable -- at least in Cleveland. And so they decide to stay, settling into a house where White happens to be the caretaker.

So this begs the question: Are all these lovely ladies now hot in more than just Cleveland -- in fact, across America? Could it be that 88-year-old Betty White’s resurgence marks a new respect for older women on TV? Here’s hoping.

Not since the '80s heyday of series like Designing Women and White’s own Golden Girls has such an ensemble of seasoned TV actresses graced the small screen all together to bond and problem-solve and support one another. As the old Hollywood thinking goes, youth rules. But with White and her fellow Hotties returning to prime time, perhaps that thinking is changing.

Cleveland (produced by Sean Hayes) stands almost alone at the moment -- though comedies like Patricia Heaton’s The Middle also feature realistic portrayals of middle-aged women -- but at the moment, it’s not clear whether this series is more than an anomaly. Call Betty White's new show what you will, we're hoping it marks a successful return to broad humor.

Will you be watching Hot in Cleveland? Chime in below!

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