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No Emmy divas among 'Hot in Cleveland' stars

May 17, 2011 |  5:10 pm

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TV academy members got a surprise when they opened the Emmy DVD package just received from TV Land. Inside was the news that all four stars of "Hot in Cleveland" were "pulling a 'Modern Family,'" so to speak — they're all competing in the supporting category.

Most Emmy pundits assumed Wendie Malick and maybe even Valerine Bertinelli might opt for lead comedy actress, leaving the supporting slot to Betty White and Jane Leeves. Splitting their ranks into two categories could prove to be a smart campaign strategy. After all, when all four male "Modern Family" stars aimed for the supporting comedy race last year, one, shockingly, got snubbed: Ed O'Neill. Eric Stonestreet won.

When Betty White starred in another sitcom packed with veteran divas, "The Golden Girls," the costars split into lead and supporting categories. White competed in the lead race for four years along with Bea Arthur and Rue McClanahan and three additional years without them. Estelle Getty dipped down to the supporting race. Their divide-and-conquer strategy worked nicely. White won in 1986, Arthur and Getty in 1988, McClanahan in 1987.

Of course, the move by the costars of "Hot in Cleveland" may be motivated by factors other than campaign strategy. None of them probably wishes to upstage the legendary Betty White, whose role on the series is clearly supporting. White is Emmy royalty, with six past wins.

Inside TV Land's Emmy campaign package is a DVD containing six episodes of "Hot in Cleveland": "Pilot," "Who's Your Mama," "Birthdates," "Good Neighbors," "Good Luck Faking the Goiter" and "Hot for Lawyers." To see closer views of the mailer, click on the photos below.

— Tom O'Neil

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Photos: Tom O'Neil / For the L.A. Times