Even though the thermometer has yet to dip below freezing this month, Buzzr is making sure the holiday season will be merry and White.
The fledgling digital channel that specializes in vintage game shows has gotten into the Yuletide spirit with “A Betty White Christmas,” a 12-day salute to the 93-year-old “Golden Girl” that began Dec. 14 and culminates with a 24-hour marathon starting at 6 a.m. on Christmas Day. It’s a chance for viewers to see the First Lady of Game Shows demonstrate her smarts and her wit as a panelist in shows spanning from the ’60s (the black-and-white “To Tell the Truth”) to the ’80s (“Super Password” and the charades-capades of “Body Language”). And in between, there’s the ’70s fill-in-the-blank craziness of “Match Game” and the not-so-newly-wed celeb game “Tattletales.”
“Talk about someone who’s been able to bridge the generation gap,” says Ron Garfield, Buzzr’s executive vice president and general manager. “For some of us that are a little bit older, we remember her from all of these shows she did, and it takes us back to another time in our life. As she gets introduced to new audiences, they see how genuine she is and how real she is, and frankly, how damn funny she is.”
Though White is probably best remembered for Emmy-winning work on “The Mary Tyler Moore Show,” “Golden Girls” and “Hot in Cleveland,” she spent even more time starting in the 1950s serving as a celebrity guest on game shows. She even snared a big prize on one of those programs — after appearing as a guest on “Password,” she and host Allen Ludden fell in love and were married from 1963 until his death in 1981.
Another prize was the Daytime Emmy White won as host of the short-lived 1983 game show “Just Men!” It was the first time a woman won in that category.
Viewers will also have a shot at getting prizes from Buzzr gift bags to autographed photos by entering themed codes that will appear on-screen during each episode to either buzzrplay.com or facebook.com/buzzrplay
Garfield hopes that if “A Betty White Christmas” gets enough positive feedback, it could become an annual tradition. He’s especially excited about the all-day Betty-palooza that will serve as the grand finale and will feature a few surprises.
“It will be great counterprogramming on Christmas Day,” Garfield says. “Maybe it could become better than the Yule Log.”