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Ted Danson's Durable 'Becker'

Mark Burnet hasn't the only Survivor on network television.

Ted Danson's "Becker" has outlasted three time slot changes, a lawsuit by its cast members and a change in the leading female actress.

Danson jokes, "I'm not sure we should even be talking about 'Becker' because if CBS finds out we're still on, we could be in a lot of trouble. They still don't know. We're under the radar here."

For a number of years, the show was consistently in the top 20, and one week in 1999 it finished 9th for the week in total households. But, although it averaged over 16 million viewers two years ago, "Becker" has struggled recently — losing almost half of that total audience in its current spot in CBS' primetime lineup.

Danson says, "We've mourned our loss and now we're back with this What-are- they-going-to-do?-Cancel-us attitude and it's a fun way to work."

The actor notes the good news is, "We have a great staff and a wonderful new actor, Jorge Garcia, who is very funny."

Through it all, Danson says, he is grateful and loves going to work. But he tells The Early Show co-anchor Harry Smith, "I felt definitely obsolete. It was a real check-your-ego-at-the-door time, which is not bad, it's not a bad thing. It's nutritious for your soul. Being in films, I got nominated nine times and lost every time. I've learned how to be philosophical."

This year, love is in the air for Dr. Becker, as the surly physician reveals a new, more romantic side.

Danson says, "This is how I like Becker best is when he's actually trying, when he's really, really stepping up to the plate and is still totally miserable at it."

You can catch "Becker" Wednesdays at 9:30 p.m. ET/ 8:30 Central on CBS.

About Ted Danson

  • Raised in Flagstaff, Ariz., where he grew up with Hopi and Navajo children
  • 1972: Stage debut as understudy for the off-Broadway run of "The Real Inspector Hound;" later assumed role and toured with play
  • Appeared in Joseph Papp's Shakespeare-in-the-Park production of "Comedy of Errors." Had recurring role on the NBC drama "The Doctors"
  • 1974-1976: Played regular role on the NBC daytime drama "Somerset;" acted with Sigourney Weaver and JoBeth Williams
  • 1978-1980: Taught acting at the Actors Institute, Los Angeles; also performed managerial duties
  • 1979: Screen acting debut as sad-eyed, bagpipe-playing cop in "The Onion Field"
  • 1980: First notable television roles in two TV-movies: a supporting part in "The Women's Room" and as the lead in the comedy pilot "Once Upon a Spy"
  • 1981: Chosen as the "Aramis Man" for print and television advertisements for cologne and men's toiletry products
  • 1981: Portrayed the flip, cynical district attorney in Lawrence Kasdan's feature directing debut "Body Heat"
  • 1982-1993: Came to national attention as star of popular NBC sitcom "Cheers;" played role of Sam Malone; was making $450,000 per week at end of run; won two Emmy Awards for the role
  • 1984: Starred opposite Glenn Close in the TV-movie about incest, "Something About Amelia"
  • 1986: Was executive producer of first TV-movie, "When the Bough Breaks" (NBC), in which he also starred
  • 1987: Acted with Tom Selleck and Steve Gutenberg in "Three Men and a Baby," a remake of the 1985 French film "Three Men and a Cradle"
  • 1989: Starred as the free-spirited soul attracted to Isabella Rosselini in "Cousins," a remake of the 1975 French film "Cousin, Cousine"
  • 1990: Appeared in the inevitable sequel, "Three Men and a Little Lady"
  • 1990-1991: Co-produced the NBC sitcom "Down Home," which featured mostly New York stage actors (i.e., Tony-winner Judith Ivey) and had a uniquely (for TV) "stage" look
  • 1993: Attracted media attention and considerable criticism when he performed a risque monologue in blackface at a Friars Club Roast in honor of Whoopi Goldberg; he and Goldberg made several statements to the press about the good-humored intentions of his "tribute," which caused some audience guests - including the scandalized talk show host Montel Williams - to walk out of the hall
  • 1994: Starred opposite Macaulay Culkin in "Getting Even with Dad;" Produced and co-starred (with future wife Mary Steenburgen) in "Pontiac Moon"
  • 1996: Played title character in the award-winning NBC miniseries "Gulliver's Travels;" Steenburgen appeared as Mrs. Gulliver
  • 1996-1997: Returned to series TV with the short-lived CBS sitcom "Ink," a romantic comedy co-starring Steenburgen; also served as executive producer
  • 1998: Delivered dramatic turn in the Showtime miniseries "Thanks of a Greatful Nation;" Made cameo appearance in Steven Spielberg's "Saving Private Ryan"
  • 1998: Starred in the CBS midseason replacement series "Becker;" the network originally made a 13-episode commitment to the project
  • 1999: Reteamed with Lawrence Kasdan in "Mumford"
  • 1999: Received star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame (Nov. 10)