Underwood aims for family fun with variety show
NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) -- The variety show was once a television staple, and Carrie Underwood thinks it might be time for a resurgence.
The country music star hosts Monday's "An All-Star Holiday Special" on Fox, and believes it's just the tonic for the regular TV lineup.
"I think it's really great they're making a comeback because I think it's really good family programming, and nowadays it seems like every show is about, like, murder or police and people shooting at each other," Underwood said.
The 26-year-old Oklahoma native was too young to catch the golden age of the variety show. It once was as common as the reality show with stars like Barbara Mandrell and the Mandrell sisters, Sonny and Cher, and even The Muppets mixing music and comedy to draw in a family audience.
But Underwood did her research before shooting her show in Los Angeles earlier this fall.
"I remember a little bit of the Mandrell sisters and I have gone back and seen episodes of their show just to kind of, I don't know, get some ideas and kind of see how it's done from a master's perspective," she said.
She also had variety show veteran and country music star Dolly Parton on the set to lend advice. Underwood said she'd never met Parton until they did the show together, and the two hit it off right away — especially when they realized they lived close to each other.
"I told her and she was like, 'You don't live far from me, let's get together. Do you like Southern cooking? You don't look like you eat,'" Underwood said.
Brad Paisley, fellow "American Idol" winner David Cook, "Idol" host Ryan Seacrest and Neil Patrick Harris also appear in the special, along with Underwood's mother and sister.
The show caps quite the year for Underwood. She won the Academy of Country Music entertainer of the year award in the spring, and her new album, "Play On," debuted at No. 1. She also hosted the Country Music Association Awards for the second straight year.
After a quiet holiday with family, she'll turn her attention to touring in the new year, hitting the road next spring.
"I think my whole life next year will be revolving around touring," she said.
AP entertainment correspondent Rosalie Fox in Los Angeles contributed to this report.
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