When Laura Hobson found out she won a walk-on role on TV Land’s hit sitcom “Hot in Cleveland,” she was shocked beyond words.
“I was laughing because I didn’t know what would come of this and I was overwhelmed by everyone calling and emailing me about the news,” said Hobson, Coordinator, Integrated Marketing for Viacom Entertainment Group.
Hobson, who won the unique opportunity at the network’s annual All Hands meeting, soon learned that she wasn’t the only special guest — the episode also featured guest stars Carol Burnett, Tim Conway and Jean Smart.
“When I arrived at rehearsal, Betty (White), Carol and Jean were going over their lines in casual clothes,” said Hobson. “It was wild. I walk in and look over and right in front of me they are working on a scene and going through it. It was in that moment that it really hit me that I was witnessing people known for their craft and really practicing and working on it.”
In her scene, Hobson was seated behind White and Burnett in a bar, giving her a first-hand experience of watching the two Emmy®Award-winning actresses interact. During rehearsal, she even had the opportunity to watch Conway give Burnett a hard time about her lines. “It was just great to see them interact as people, peers and friends, especially since there is such a background there professionally and personally.”
After rehearsal, Hobson went to prep, change, and pick up her cousin — a huge Golden Girls fan — who would be attending the taping with her. Since she wasn’t scheduled till the last scene, Hobson watched most of the taping from the Green Room, where she was pleasantly surprised to meet Burnett, who was spending some downtime there was well.
Once it was call time, Hobson took her place with the other extras. “I’ve never done this before, so I asked the extras next to me ‘do I really speak out loud or do I mime this conversation?’ to which they laughed at me,” recalled Hobson. “Thankfully, they taught me the ropes and everyone nailed their scenes.”
After a long, exciting day, Hobson’s scene wrapped and the taping was over. But not before she had an opportunity to get up close and personal with the entire “Hot in Cleveland” cast and guest stars for a post-show group photo. The photo is one she will cherish for many years to come. “I couldn’t sleep that night. I called my family after the show and kept trying to replay what had just happened.”
While it was a day Hobson will never forget, she is nervous to see the episode air. “I’ll probably have my hands in front of eyes the entire time the first time I watch the episode.” While she may be covering her eyes, the rest of TV Land will be tuning in to see their friend and coworker make her television debut.
TV Land’s Hot in Cleveland returns on Wednesday, June 19 at 10pm ET with a LIVE episode.