'Girls' without Dorothy (is she in Kansas?) now run hotel


"Golden Palace" is "Golden Girls" without Dorothy (Bea Arthur), who's simply "gone," in the explanation given by her TV mother, Sophia (Estelle Getty). Not dead, but definitely out of the picture and the series.

The three remaining "girls" -- Betty White, Rue McClanahan and Getty -- sell their house and buy a small Miami hotel. The "palace" of the title is something considerably less than that. Call it "in receivership."

The "girls" are joined by three male cast members. The most famous is Cheech Marin of Cheech and Chong. If you missed the '60s,'70s and '80s marijuana comedy team, you should know Marin is now classified as a former movie star. He's the hotel chef. There's also a young desk clerk, who triples as manager and bell boy, and his foster son.

But the biggest news about "Golden Palace" is that it hasn't changed much in style and substance from "Golden Girls." If you vTC liked the old, you'll like the new. That's because the same production team is behind it, and tonight's season opener is written by Susan Harris, who created "Golden Girls" and has written every season opener since the series began and went on to become the longest sleep-over in TV history.

Tonight's pilot, at 8 on WBAL (Channel 11), has lots of visual gags, as well as about 400 digs at Blanche's "experience" in bedrooms and with one-night guests. There's a particularly wonderful opening about Blanche's bed that long-time "girls" fans won't want to miss.

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