Valerie Harper, ‘Mary Tyler Moore Show’ Alumni All Over TV This Month

Good news for fans of “The Mary Tyler Moore Show” – January is bursting forth with a plethora of programming that has the potential to, well, turn your world on with a smile.  NBC’s 90th Birthday Celebration for AARP’s own Betty White airs Jan. 16 — followed by a preview of Betty’s older-folks-prank-younger-folks reality show, “Betty White’s Off Their Rockers.”  Betty’s birthday event will mark a mini-reunion of the MTM gang.  Come Jan. 29, Mary will be honored with the Screen Actors Guild’s Life Achievement award.   Look for an encore run of the 1970-1977 series to begin soon on the Hallmark Channel.  And, first up in the Moore-athon, we have “Fixing Pete,” a Hallmark Channel confection with Valerie Harper, debuting Saturday night (1/7).

Ever the feminist, Valerie says she was thinking of the Washington Post’s late Katharine Graham when playing a newspaper chief in the movie. “They also wanted that feeling of The Devil Wears Prada’ — at least the haircut,” notes Valerie with a laugh.  She looks just smashing with an Anna Wintour bob – stylish and full of energy.  It’s hard to believe it’s been nearly four decades since the funny lady rose to fame as MTM sidekick Rhoda Morgenstern and had her own hit spin-off.

“Fixing Pete” is a reverse Pygmalion story with Brooke Burns as a fashion editor assigned by Valerie’s character to do a makeover on the paper’s star sports writer, Dylan Bruno.    “He’s kind of a crusty mess of a guy, and she’s this elegant, lovely woman,” Valerie notes.  The romantic comedy features John Ratzenberger, plus George Clooney’s girlfriend, Stacy Keibler.

There’s also potential for more Valerie ahead on TV.   The four-time Emmy winner has two pilot possibilities.  If those don’t work out, maybe it’s time for “Rhoda: the Bubbe Years.”