EXCLUSIVE: Hot In Cleveland is becoming a franchise for TV Land. On the heels of the sitcom landing a best cable comedy prize at last night’s People’s Choice Awards and just in time for star Betty White’s 90th birthday on Tuesday, I’ve learned that TV Land has renewed its flagship comedy series for a fourth season. Additionally, I’ve also learned that the network has picked up the untitled Hot In Cleveland spinoff starring Cedric The Entertainment to series. The project, written by Cedric and Hot In Cleveland creator Suzanne Martin, originated as an August Cleveland episode introducing Cedric’s character, Reverend Boyce. The network in October greenlighted a standalone pilot, which followed Boyce as he moves to Cedric’s hometown of St. Louis and has to balance his wild past with the expectations of his congregation and his family. The project, co-starring Niecy Nash, is executive produced by Cedric, Martin and Hazy Mills’ Sean Hayes and Todd Milliner, who also executive produce Hot In Cleveland with Martin.
After a scorching debut with 4.8 million viewers tuning to the series premiere in June 2010, Hot In Cleveland has slipped in the ratings, opening its current third season last month with 1.9 million viewers. Still, it continues to be TV Land’s strongest and most acclaimed comedy series and was recently picked up by CBS TV Distribution. (Hot In Cleveland is being distributed internationally by Endemol.) The fourth-season renewal is expected to help broadcast syndication sales as it is expected to bring the total of Hot In Cleveland to more than 70 episodes, a remarkable feat given the fact that the show’s pilot was picked up to series 22 months ago. White, whose birthday will be marked with a primetime NBC special Monday night, is co-starring on the show with Valerie Bertinelli, Wendie Malick and Jane Leeves.