In the 1970s, The Young and the Restless had a very special neighbor across the hall — Carol Burnett! The legendary actress/singer/funny lady shot her weekly variety series, The Carol Burnett Show, in the same building that Y&R and now, The Bold and the Beautiful film. There are current plans to expand, which will bring more shows to the studio, but Burnett hopes that the production facility’s rich history remains intact.
Carol Burnett: So Glad We Had This Time Together
Burnett and fellow cast members from the Apple TV series Palm Royale, set to premiere on March 20, 2024, were at the Langham Hotel in Pasadena, Calif. to preview the series at the Winter TV Critics press tour. Palm Royale, which stars Kristen Wiig (Saturday Night Live) and Laura Dern (Big Little Lies), is set in 1969. It tells the story of a woman who works towards attaining a place in Palm Beach high society, discovering along the way what she will and won’t do in order to achieve her goals.
Soap Hub asked Burnett how she felt about changes to the studio where she did her variety series (and other specials) from 1967 to 1978. “Our studio, Studio 33, was the only one in the building that was like a little theater,” Burnett said. “The cameras were never in the way. We had two-way in the back so that the audience would be watching a theatrical production. The other studios were the bleacher kind — I always called that the lions v. the Christians!
“I’d hate to see that theater go bye-bye,” Burnett continued. The performer, her castmates — Harvey Korman, Vicki Lawrence, Tim Conway, and Lyle Waggoner — and the show’s guests would tape shows on Friday nights. Other variety shows at CBS Television City included The Smothers Brothers, The Sonny & Cher Comedy Hour, and The Glen Campbell Goodtime Hour.
“I have to toot my own horn,” Burnett modestly shares, “because I was from the theater, I never wanted to keep the audience waiting. We made quick [costume and set] changes. I had a bet with the stagehands that I could do a [costume] change faster than they could move a sofa…”
As viewers recall, Burnett’s shows included an opening Q&A session with the audience, sketches, movie spoofs, musical numbers, and much more. “We’d do [it all] in two hours,” she says. “We’d leave and take our guest stars to dinner at Chasen’s [restaurant]. Other shows would take till 1 or 2 in the mornings. That’s the way we did The Garry Moore Show. We did it like a live show.”
Burnett laments that few shows are done like that anymore. Even sitcoms with 22 minutes of content, she says, can take five hours to tape. “We came [along] at the best time,” she says. Burnett wondered if developers were going to level the building — that remains home to Y&R and B&B — but parts of the original facility are set to remain intact for historical purposes.
“It was very special,” she says of CBS Television City (now known as TV City). “I wish they could preserve it.” Palm Royale is set for release on Apple TV on Sunday, March 24.