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Ed Asner returns with a sitcom on CMT

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A seven-time Emmy winner, Asner is returning to primetime television in CMT's first scripted sitcom, "Working Class."

The "Mary Tyler Moore Show" and "Lou Grant" star is joining previously announced lead Melissa Peterman in the series about a blue-collar single mom who moves her family to a well-to-do suburb. Asner plays her misanthropic neighbor. The move is not entirely unlike TV Land striking ratings gold with its first comedy, "Hot in Cleveland," casting fellow small-screen legend Betty White in a supporting role.

Asner, who turns 81 next month, is beloved for his signature role as cranky journalist Lou Grant. His return to TV follows recent successes for two fellow cast-mates from the legendary "Mary Tyler Moore Show": Betty White on TV Land's "Hot in Cleveland" and Cloris Leachman on Fox's "Raising Hope."

Peterman previously appeared on the sitcom "Reba" and hosts CMT's "The Singing Bee."

The move is Asner's first regular series commitment since NBC's "Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip" in 2006. He also was recently cast as Warren Buffett in HBO's telefilm "Too Big to Fail." The Green & Associates-repped actor was previously announced as having been cast in another CMT comedy pilot, "Regular Joe."

"We are thrilled to have the iconic Ed Asner join Melissa and our entire cast as we launch our first sitcom," said Brad Johnson, senior vp development at CMT. "Asner is synonymous with legendary television, and we know he will bring a classic comedic edge to our fresh family sitcom."

The 12-episode multicamera series will launch in January.

The "Working Class" cast also includes Steve Kazee, Patrick Fabian, Lachlan Buchahan, Courtney Merritt and Cameron Castaneda.

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