Strange TV Trends: The Return of the Variety Show


Rosie O’Donnell has one airing on NBC. Ellen Degeneres just taped one for TBS. The Osbournes reportedly have one in the works with FOX, and John Mayer will be hosting one for CBS.

Even Carol Burnett — who basically owned the territory from 1967 to 1978 on CBS — is getting involved, telling the New York Times that it’s about time the variety genre saw a comeback: “I’m happy that the V word isn’t so nasty anymore. It’s a genre that I think is sorely missed.”

So what’s with the sudden resurrection of the old school format? Is it somehow related to our JFK-esque President-Elect and a new found craving for all things ’60s kitsch? Is it a preventative measure to ensure new programming if the SAG strike happens? An attempt to tap the insane numbers that shows like Dancing with the Stars and America’s Got Talent pull each week?

And more importantly, would you tune in to watch any of these new programs? While we love the first two ladies in the talk show format and watched The Osbournes’s reality series religiously (we’re choosing to ignore Mayer completely), we think Burnett’s comedic acting chops are a big reason that her show was so successful.

Want proof? Check out a few of our favorite skits after the jump.

1. No Frills Airline

2. Simba

3. Wrong Number

4. Gone With the Wind Part 1

5. The Funeral