Betty White Celebration Pulls in Huge Number of Viewers

by Victoria Santiago
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NBC aired a Betty White celebration show last night. Celebrating Betty White: America’s Golden Girl had more than four million viewers. In total, there were 4.14 million viewers. The legendary actress died on December 31, 2021, at the age of 99. Celebrating Betty White: America’s Golden Girl was a look back on her expansive career and fulfilling life. Of course, along with all of those viewers, the NBC special pulled in a decent rating, too. It had a demo rating of 0.5.

Betty White Was Excited For Fans to See Her Birthday Special

Originally, a Betty White celebration special was supposed to air on her 100th birthday. The iconic Golden Girls actress had reached out to producers months before with the idea. She wanted to put together a fun video to say thank you to all of her fans. Eventually, that small idea for a video turned into an entire documentary that would showcase some of her best moments. It was originally going to be called Betty White: 100 Years Young — A Birthday Celebration.

Dozens of people close to her were interviewed for the special. Everyone involved wanted to make sure that the Betty White celebration was special, so it was only going to be a one-day event. The special was set to premiere in theaters on January 17, 2021.

Unfortunately, Betty White died weeks before her birthday, and she never got to see the finished product of all of her hard work. According to one of her former assistants, the star was excited to be on the big screen once again. During her time as an actress, the majority of her work was on TV shows like Golden Girls and The Mary Tyler Moore Show. “She’s a TV gal, as she would always say,” Kiersten Mikelas said. “She was tickled that people were going to buy a ticket to see her in the movie theater.”

Overall, her special was supposed to be an intimate event for fans to enjoy. “It’s different than a movie star, she always said, where you go to a movie theater, and you see them on a big screen, and they’re untouchable,” recalled Steve Boettcher, one of the creators of her birthday documentary. “In the living room, you’re an intimate family member. Because of that privilege she had, she always wanted to make herself approachable to her fans.”

The Birthday Special Turned Into a Memorial After Her Death

Betty White’s death was a surprise to many. That being said, no one wanted to just scrap the documentary they had been working on for months. It meant a lot to everyone involved, especially Betty. So, instead, they changed the name to Betty White: A Celebration and made plans to air it as a memorial special. The Betty White celebration show aired in 15,000 theaters across the US.

Later in the month, NBC announced their own Betty White special, which aired yesterday. Multiple celebrities were asked to be a part of the NBC special, including Drew Barrymore, Cher, and others.

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