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Maya Rudolph ready to bring variety and fun back to primetime

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Maya Rudolph is bringing variety back to primetime and the "Saturday Night Live" alum just wants to deliver a good time. Rudolph will mix music, dance and sketch comedy together when her NBC variety special, "The Maya Rudolph Show," airs on Monday night. In an interview with Entertainment Weekly published on Thursday, the "Bridesmaids" star said she is looking to bring back some of that variety flavor from the days of "The Carol Burnett Show" and "Donnie & Marie."

Rudolph will be bringing some familiar faces along for the ride as "SNL" alums Fred Armisen, Andy Samberg, and Chris Parnell join in for the fun. The show will even be executive produced by Lorne Michaels, which will definitely give the variety special an "SNL" feel, but there also be inspirations from some of Rudolph's childhood favorite shows.

She told EW, 'When we were talking about this show, we tried to recall all of the ones from our childhood. 'The Carol Burnett Show' was the strongest, but when I was really little, 'Donnie & Marie' was my jam because my brother and I would act out sketches. And also Shields and Yarnell was on it."

Rudolph also brings up memories of Barbara Mandrell and Sonny and Cher. But it was really Carol Burnett who influenced and touched her because Burnett's show, "was sort of this environment that was created that felt like this special place, and anything was possible. And people were just naturally giddy and happy when they came on." In all, hopes her special will just be a good time with fun as the main premise of the show.

There will also be special guest appearances by Sean Hayes, Kristen Bell, Craig Robinson and some other surprises. In the same way Burnett paved the way for variety shows during her time, Rudoph is hoping just maybe she can do the same today, during a time when there is not much on television in the form of variety in primetime.

She says, "The variety show that we grew up with, they come from a time where comedy didn't have a lot of a spark in it, and the audiences wanted to be entertained as opposed to just be as smart as the show, and people didn't seem interested until recently. I really noticed more than anything that people have been responding so positively to Jimmy Fallon and what he's been doing on 'Late Night' and 'The Tonight Show.'

If people respond positively to "The Maya Rudolph Show," perhaps it will turn into a weekly series, something Rudolph would be "very psyched about. Not only will she bring fun back to primetime, she will be following in the footsteps of those child hood idols whose only job was to deliver the magic of giddiness. The special will air on NBC Monday night at 9.

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