Carol Burnett Rips Into Broadcast TV: 'There Are Just Too Many Cooks Now’

Television legend Carol Burnett is back on the small screen, but she chose to go with Netflix for her new project because there are "too many cooks now" in broadcast television.

In a new interview with Vulture, the 85-year-old icon said she enjoyed creating A Little Help With Carol Burnett for Netflix. The streaming giant took a hands-off approach, allowing Burnett to craft her own show, which reminded her of the first Golden Age of Television.

"A lot of the networks now, they've got an army of people coming to comment and tell you how you should change something, and it's very bothersome to me," Burnett said. "Come on. You guys can't do what we do, and we don't do what you do. You're the business people. Let the artists do their thing, and if we don't get ratings, okay, it's our problem. But there are just too many cooks now."

Burnett said she recently did a guest spot on a sitcom, which took five hours to tape even though the episode was only 22 minutes long. After every scene, writers and network executives would jump in to demand changes, so they would have to re-do the scene for the same audience.

"That's no way to run a show, if you're gonna do it in front of an audience," Burnett recalled. "I used to have a bet with the stagehands that I could make a skin-out costume change faster than they could move a sofa across the stage."

The Carol Burnett Show star agreed that there is too much overthinking behind-the-scenes of network TV shows today. Netflix had a couple of suggestions during casting, but they left the production alone afterwards. "That's why we got to be where we are," she added.

Elsewhere in the interview, Burnett shared some bad news for those who loved The Carol Burnett Show and those too young to see it when it aired. Do not expect the full-length episodes to be streaming anywhere any time soon. Currently, you can only see half-hour edits of just the sketches on MeTV and select episodes are available through Time Life. The issue is high licensing fees for musical performances.


"I would love [to make them available]," Burnett said. "Of course I would. But it's a business thing, and I don't get into that. The cost is prohibitive. Time Life has done a good job with what we were able to do."

In A Little Help, Burnett, a celebrity guest and two non-famous people present real-world, adult situations to kids and see their hilarious reactions. All 12 half-hour episodes are now available to stream on Netflix.