Betty White Said ‘The Golden Girls’ Spinoff Flopped, and It’s Not for the Reason Most People Think

Iconic actor Betty White said more than once that working on the classic sitcom with Bea Arthur, Rue McClanahan, and Estelle Getty was one of the best times of her life. With that ensemble cast, it’s no wonder. After The Golden Girls ended in 1992 and the actors moved on to the spinoff, The Golden Palace, White said, the new series eventually flopped. But it wasn’t because Bea Arthur had left the cast.

‘The Golden Girls’ spinoff was rumored to have failed because of Bea Arthur’s exit

The Golden Girls spinoff The Golden Palace Betty White
‘The Golden Palace’ cast on August 1, 1992 | CBS via Getty Images

In 1992, as the seventh season of The Golden Girls approached on NBC, Bea Arthur announced she would leave the show. It was a blow to her castmates and fans, but Arthur was ready to take a break from regular series work.

Her son, Matthew Saks, told Closer Weekly: “The ideas had started to run out.” He explained that his mother “was not unhappy, but she was getting up there in age, and there were other things she wanted to do, like relax.”

After Arthur’s departure and the show’s conclusion, CBS wanted in on the action. Hoping hilarity and killer ratings would ensue, the network installed White, McClanahan, and Getty in a spinoff. The Golden Palace saw the ladies sell their Miami house and buy a hotel.

But the ratings were a disaster.

Betty White revealed the real reason why ‘The Golden Palace’ failed

In a 1997 conversation with the Television Academy Foundation, Betty White gave her take on The Golden Girls spinoff’s failure.

“It sounded like a marvelous idea,” she said. “These cloistered women who’d been living in their nest, in their house, sell the house because Dorothy gets married. They buy a hotel in Florida, one of these art deco modern hotels. And they have to get out of that sequestered situation and face life as it comes in off the street, through the lobby of the hotel. It’s a whole new world for them, which would be interesting.”

Then White explained her perspective on what prevented the show from succeeding.

“Problem was, we had the same writers,” the Hot in Cleveland star said. “And if a script began to not fall together, they’d give one or other of us a monologue, and pretty soon we were doing Golden Girls in the lobby.”

CBS canceled The Golden Palace after one season.

“And I think that’s why we only went a year. It was too much trying to do the same old Golden Girls without the balance of the show. The idea was sound, but the writers weren’t ready for it.”

‘The Golden Girls’ debuted nearly 40 years ago 


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The comedy that would become one of NBC’s biggest hit series premiered in September 1985. It remains beloved by newer and newer generations of fans.

The Golden Girls broached topics that are still relevant today, with a comic sensibility that present-day audiences appreciate.

Rue McClanahan’s son, Mark Bish, told Closer Weekly in August 2020 that the co-stars were the right people together with the right professional backgrounds.

“Their abilities ran deep,” he said. “They pretty much could have done anything. All of them had been trained to do much more than act in a sitcom.”