Betty White, who's been riding a hot streak in Hollywood, is now ready to take the New York literati by storm. Putnam has signed the 88-year-old actress to a two-book deal with the first title, Listen Up!, to feature life lessons from the show biz veteran. White, whose career unexpectedly picked up in the last few years with TV ads--she recently hosted Saturday Night Live to rave reviews, and her ensemble sitcom, Hot in Cleveland, was just picked up for a second season by TV Land--will discuss in Listen Up! topics like love, sex and aging. Putnam is planning a spring 2011 publication.
Penguin's Putnam imprint took North American rights in what it describes as a "highly competitive" auction, with Marysue Rucci, v-p and editorial director of Putnam, acquiring the titles from agent Loretta Barrett. The second book in the deal, scheduled for 2012, is currently titled The Zoo and I: Betty and Her Friends, and will include stories about and photographs of White with animals at various zoos. The book, Penguin said, will capture the "daily life of [White's] animal friends at the zoo." White, Penguin noted, is a longtime board member of the Los Angeles Zoo and "passionate supporter of animal health and welfare."
And Penguin isn't the only publisher trying to cash in on White's renewed popularity. Workman announced earlier this summer that it would be releasing the Betty White Calendar in September. The tongue-in-cheek item--the cover features White against a backdrop of three chiseled, bare male chests--touts that it's featuring "America's favorite pin-up."