Imagine being the person who gave Carol Burnett rewrite notes. You’re talking about one of the funniest women in the business, and, for whatever reason, you have to give her rewrite notes for her new sitcom your network has picked up.
It was an ABC series tentatively called Household Name, one that was ordered without any hesitation, executive produced by Amy Poehler, and written by Michael Saltzman (Mad Men, The Middle, Murphy Brown), only to ‘fizzle’ and drop off the slate. Burnett says it was due in large part of network meddling, which included rewrites (claiming the existing work wasn’t funny), recasting key roles, and in general pulling a part the script.
She spoke to the New York Post about it:
“The pilot was very funny and the audience and everyone seemed to think “whee!”,” Burnett told the New York Post. “Then the network wanted to recast a couple of main parts … and wanted Michael Saltzman to add extra stuff they thought was funny — more of the family stuff and less of the oddball situation we were in. “Michael, it’s not your fault. The original pilot was better, more fun … I don’t want to do it.” Burnett lamented that back in the heyday of The Carol Burnett Show, interference was nil. “They never even asked to see a script. [CBS founder] Mr. Paley always said, ‘Here’s the show, go do it. You’re the artist, go have fun and if it works and gets ratings we’ll renew you.’ So with [the pilot] I thought, I had it so good that, at this time of my life, do I want to face a bunch of network or advertising people who want to make their opinions known? I just don’t want to be around that,” Burnett wrote to Saltzman.
The good news here is we WILL be getting a new show from the legendary comedianne. She’s working with Netflix, on a show called A Little Help with Carol Burnett that has Burnett interacting with children ages 4-8 who give advice on everyday adult problems. It’s expected to hit the streaming service on May 4th 2018.